Golos hopes to receive state grant, to reset relations with authorities

The Russian voter rights movement Golos (Voice) said it counted on receiving 14 million rubles ($428,000) from the state budget for its program whose aim is to increase public confidence in elections.

The Russian voter rights movement Golos (Voice) said it counted on receiving 14 million rubles ($428,000) from the state budget for its program whose aim is to increase public confidence in elections.

"We have drafted a project, which is aimed at increasing society's trust in the voting infrastructure and have written an application, which we are sending today to one of the bodies financing non-governmental organizations (NGO), the institute of civil society's problems," Golos co-chairman Grigory Melkonyants told Interfax on Monday.

According to Melkonyants, Golos intends to increase the public confidence in elections, which has fallen among Russian citizens, with the help of "functioning platforms for dialogue, increasing the number of civic observers and creating new Internet services."

"We need 14 million rubles ($428,000) to implement this project, which we have stated in the application," Melkonyants said.

The results of the contest for state grants will be known in late August, Melkonyants said.

"We hope that we will receive these funds and that a reset of relations between Golos and the authorities will occur," Melkonyants said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with human rights activists on July 4 that he proposed a discussion of the issues faced when organizing the distribution of state-allocated funds to NGOs.

Over 220,000 NGOs are registered in Russia, Putin said. The financing of NGO activities was almost tripled this year and 3 billion rubles were allocated, he said.

Following the meeting, head of the Human Rights Council Mikhail Fedotov said that existing operators distributing finances would remain but that an additional official who would work with NGOs exclusively might be added.

When speaking about additional financing, Fedotov said that it was planned to allocate 500 million rubles this year and up to a billion next year.

At the same time, according to some media reports, the all-Russian civic movement Civic Dignity headed by Ella Pamfilova would determine who would receive funds as well as the amount of the grants.

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