Support The Moscow Times!

Golos Under Scrutiny by Prosecutors

The Prosecutor General's Office has requested documents from elections watchdog Golos and the organization's newspaper, Grazhdansky Golos, as part of its check into nongovernmental organizations.

Golos' deputy director, Gregory Melkonyants, was presented with a written request for all legal documents, including information on staff, a schedule of activities with a list of participants, and sources of income in front of cameramen from the state-run NTV television channel, Kommersant reported Thursday.

The request concerns the newspaper as well, although it is not a nongovernmental organization. Golos is among hundreds of NGOs in at least 10 regions to face unannounced inspections in recent weeks.

Melkonyants said he received a telephone call Wednesday evening from the neighborhood police officer informing him that a letter from the prosecutor's office awaited him. When Melkonyants arrived at the police station the next day to pick up the letter, he was greeted by not only the policeman but also an NTV cameraman, who recorded the exchange.

"I patiently informed the journalists that I would not answer their questions," Melkonyants told Kommersant, saying that the incident was "an unimaginative set-up" by the police precinct.

He also said he was escorted to the metro station by two of the channel's journalists, Pyotr Drogovoz and Mikhail Ivanov. The two journalists figured in an earlier, now infamous, video clip in which Melkonyants sabotages an NTV documentary about Golos by repeating "You're Surkovskaya propaganda" for six minutes straight, referring to Vladislav Surkov, the Kremlin's former spin doctor.

NTV confirmed that the channel's cameramen were present when Melkonyants received the prosecutor's request on Thursday.

"We have sources everywhere," the press service of the channel told Kommersant.

Related articles:

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.