Russia calls independent election watchdog a ‘foreign agent’

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MOSCOW (AP) — Russian authorities have added a prominent independent election monitoring group to its registry of “foreign agents,” the latest in a relentless government crackdown on activists ahead of the September parliamentary election. The group was first labeled as “foreign agent” in 2013 and liquidated as a non-governmental organization three years later. It has continued to operate without registering. On Wednesday Golos was added to a new registry of “foreign agents,” created by Russia’s Justice Ministry for groups that are not registered in Russia. Independent media, opposition supporters and rights activists in Russia have faced increased pressure ahead of the Sept. 19 vote, which is widely seen as part of President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to cement his rule for years.

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