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Editor Steps Down Over Russian Election Violations Website

With Russian parliamentary elections on December 4, an election monitor, Golos, and online newspaper,, have launched a map to track election violations.

The map, which allows citizens to report various violations (including bribing officials and misuse of administrative resources), has nearly 5,000 submissions.
The project is already causing a bit of controversy. According to, a deputy editor at resigned after a banner promoting the site was taken down.
The Gazeta editor in chief, Mikhail Kotov, said that the map was taken down because of commercial reasons.
Golos, which receives funding from U.S. and European organizations, is feeling the pinch as Russia's only independent election monitor. The Associated Press reported today that prosecutors have launched an official probe with Golos "accused of publishing opinion polls after the legal deadline."

According to "The Washington Post" Putin had already set the tone over the weekend in a speech to his ruling United Russia party:
He made a lacerating, if veiled, allusion to the monitor, Golos, which operates on grants from the United States and Europe.
“Representatives of some states are organizing meetings with those who receive money from them, the so-called grant recipients, briefing them on how to ‘work’ in order to influence the course of the election campaign in our country,” Putin said.

“As the saying goes, it’s money down the drain,” he added. “First, because Judas is not the most respected of biblical characters among our people. And, second, they would do better to use that money to redeem their national debt and stop pursuing their costly and ineffective foreign policy.”
It wouldn't be much of a surprise if Golos were banned from monitoring the vote on Sunday. Nor would it be a shock if the crowdmapping site is taken down by a cyberattack.

CORRECTION: In the original item, I said that the violations website was powered by the Ushahidi platform. On Twitter, Alexey Sidorenko pointed out: "Golos's violation map doesn't use Ushahidi. The idea is close but the engine was written by Golos techies." Apologies for the error and thanks, Alexey.