On the occasion of the issuance of a so‑called 'patriotic stop list' restricting the work of international organisations in Russia, and in view of the search of the offices of the election monitoring organisation Golos, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office Christoph Strässer issued the following statement on 9 July:
I am seriously concerned by the fact that Russia is continuing to take steps which aim to further curtail internationally active organisations’ scope for action and reduce civil society’s room for manoeuvre.
A pluralistic and critical civil society forms the heart and soul of a democracy. Furthermore, civil society debate is the key to mutual understanding and trusting relations between our countries.
Exchange beyond national borders is particularly important in times of crisis – this civil society exchange is also a significant component of relations between Germany and Russia, one which we want to develop.
I call on the responsible authorities in Russia to promote civil society engagement, to respect the right to freedom of opinion and to open up to international exchange.
On 8 July 2015, Russia’s Federation Council sent the General Prosecutor’s Office a so‑called 'patriotic stop list' and called on it to verify that the international organisations named on the list were complying with Russian law. This means that the 'patriotic stop list' urges implementation for the first time of the 'law on undesirable foreign organisations', which is already in force, and the non‑governmental organisations may thus be banned from operating in Russia.
In addition to this, on the morning of 7 July 2015, Russian security forces searched the offices of the election monitoring organisation Golos as well as the apartments of three of its staff in Moscow. Golos had alleged election fraud after the Duma elections in 2011 and had actively participated in protests.