Russian police on Tuesday raided the offices of election watchdog Golos as well as the homes of its employees, a lawyer for the group said, amid an ever-increasing crackdown on independent voices in the country. The searches, which came ahead of regional elections this autumn, coincided with an unveiling by Russian authorities of the first 12 American and other groups to be likely put on the list of “undesirable” organisations. On Tuesday, police raided the homes of several Golos employees, including the apartment of senior executive Grigory Melkonyants and confiscated equipment including computers. “They are searching the offices as we speak,” a Golos lawyer, Olga Gnezdilova, told AFP.
Police have linked the raids to a tax investigation against the head of the group’s branch in the Volga city of Samara, but Golos described the searches as the latest salvo in a campaign to intimidate it and other Kremlin critics.
Over the past few years the independent monitor group Golos (Voice), which has documented widespread claims of election fraud, has been targeted by a campaign of intimidation including accusations of serving US interests.