Levada Center pollster named foreign agent

Levada Center was designed as a ‘foreign agent’ as it “was financed by foreign sources" mostly American
Levada Center pollster named foreign agent
06 September 17:29 2016 Print This Article

Russian non-governmental pollster Levada Center has been designated as a ‘foreign agent’, the Russian Justice Ministry said on Monday.

According to the press service of the Ministry, the recognition of Levada Center as a non-commercial body performing the functions of a foreign agent was established in an unscheduled document check.

The check “had established that the Levada Center was financed by foreign sources and was involved in political activities in the territory of Russia in the interests of its foreign sponsors”, cites TASS its Justice Ministry source.

According to Russian Justice Ministry, the center’s foreign finance sources included: Ipsos Mori UK Ltd (Britain); the Moscow subsidiary of the “Jones Day Limited Partnership (USA); Fafo Ais As (Norway); Fernland Holdings Ltd (Switzerland); Deutsche Gesellschaft Fuer Technische Zusammenarbeit GNBH (Germany), Gallup Inc. (USA); Viesoji Istaiga (Lithuania); University of Wisconsin Madison (USA); Regents of University of Colorado (USA): Columbia University (USA) and The George Washington University (USA), writes TASS on Tuesday.

According to the Financial Times, the decision “to put pressure on the independent group risks undermining the Kremlin’s attempts to make the upcoming elections look more democratic”.

The government’s decision comes 4 days after the Russian pollster said support for Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party dropped 31% in August from 39% a month earlier, the daily wrote on Monday.

Levada Center is a Russian non-governmental polling and sociological research organization.  It is one of the largest Russian centers in the field. The research team of Levada Center has been conducting regular public opinion polls across the country since 1988, the organization website states.

The term ‘foreign agent’ is part of a 2012 law governing groups which receive foreign funding and engage in political activity. All NGOs receiving any overseas funding were required to register as foreign agents and so face restrictions.

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