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Kremlin Grants Given Out to Several Nongovernmental Organizations

Kremlin grants have been awarded to a number of nongovernmental organizations, including the Moscow-Helsinki Group, Memorial, Agora and Golos-Ural, a news report said Wednesday.

Golos-Ural, a regional elections watchdog, is getting one of the biggest grants in this year's second selection round, which is being overseen by Grazhdanskoye Dostoinstvo, or Civic Dignity, Kommersant reported.

Golos-Ural's application was assisted by the similarly named Golos, or Voice, which is also an independent elections monitor, the report said. The exact amount of money being handed to the group was not specified, but Golos-Ural is thought to have asked for about 9 million rubles ($273,000) to go toward its work.

Grazhdanskoye Dostoinstvo, headed by prominent human rights campaigner Ella Pamfilova, is distributing grants worth a total of 200 million rubles to the successful applicants.

Golos itself had applied for a grant of 2.3 billion rubles in August but was turned down. The NGO has fallen victim to last year's "foreign agents" law, which requires groups that receive foreign funding and fall under a loose definition of being "politically active" to register with the government as "foreign agents."

Many organizations targeted by prosecutors refused to accept the disparaging tag, which could be seen as carrying connotations of spying, and are now mired in courtroom battles or have opted to suspend operations, like Golos, because of a lack of local funding and increasing political pressure.

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