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Golos Leader Leaves Russia After Suspension Of Operations

Lilia Shibanova, leader of the Russian election watchdog Golos, at her office in Moscow last year.
The chairwoman of the Moscow-based independent election monitor Golos has left Russia after the Justice Ministry suspended the group's activities for its refusal to register as a "foreign agent."

Russian media reports said on September 5 that Lilia Shibanova is currently in Lithuania, where she plans to continue her organization's activities internationally.

The group's operations were suspended for six months in June.

In April, Golos and its leader were ordered to pay hefty fines under a new law requiring all nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that receive foreign funding and engage in political activity to register as foreign agents.

Shibanova says her group is being targeted for uncovering widespread violations in elections.

Human Rights Watch issued a statement in June criticizing Russian authorities for using the controversial legislation to impose pressure on NGOs.

Based on reporting by "Nezavisimaya Gazeta" and