Russian website publishes vote monitor's e-mails
A pro-Kremlin Russian website on Friday printed e-mails it said were between independent election monitors Golos and the US government in the latest attack on the group that exposed abuses in the polls.
The report on Life News tabloid website highlighted US funding for Golos after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Thursday accused the United States of provoking election protest.
"Before it was just talk that the Golos association is sponsored from across the ocean, now we have real proof," the website wrote.
It alleged that the documents proved "financing of activity aimed at discrediting the elections in Russia."
Golos responded by saying it had made no secret of its US funding but that it would take legal action if it found that its e-mail had been illegally accessed.
"It's stupid because we have never hidden this financing. We are already tired of talking about it," deputy executive director Grigory Melkonyants told AFP.
He said he had not yet read the e-mails, but that the association would be investigating and would take legal action if their e-mail had been illegally published.
"This is a criminal offence. I hope they will be brought to justice," he said.
The website did not say in its report how it acquired the e-mails.
The Golos association's website was targeted in a hacker attack on Sunday with staff unable to access e-mail.
In the run-up to the elections, the monitoring group was summoned to court and fined for publishing data in violation of election laws. It was also targeted in a smear television documentary on its US funding.
The group created a Map of Violations website reporting thousands of instances of election rigging and coercion of voters.
Melkonyants linked the latest publication to the authorities' previous attacks.
"This shows their fear of the truth, their fear of Golos," he said.
The tabloid published an e-mail written in Russian apparently from a USAID staff member dated 2007 asking for Golos's financial and administrative details.
It also published an e-mail forwarding a White House statement on December 2 condemning the harassment of Golos.
© 2011 AFP