Russian Polling Center Is Declared a ‘Foreign Agent’ Before Elections

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Lev D. Gudkov, a executive of a Levada Center, Russia’s usually vital eccentric pollster.

James Hill for The New York Times

MOSCOW — Russian officials announced a Levada Center, a country’s usually vital eccentric pollster, a “foreign agent” on Monday, dual weeks before national parliamentary elections and days after a check showed shifting support for a statute party, United Russia.

The decision, announced by a Justice Ministry, means a Levada Center will substantially close down a polling operations, that it has been conducting given a late 1980s.

“This manifests a boost in inner repressions carried out by a country’s leadership,” a center’s chief, Lev D. Gudkov, pronounced in an talk promote by Dozhd, Russia’s usually magnanimous eccentric news station. “If they won’t cancel this decision, it will meant that a Levada Center will have to stop working, since we can't control polls with such a tarnish put on you.”

A law sealed by President Vladimir V. Putin in 2012 requires all nonprofit organizations that accept unfamiliar appropriation and are intent in loosely tangible domestic activity to register and announce themselves as unfamiliar agents, a tenure widely compared with espionage in Russia. Rights activists have criticized a law as an instrument to marginalize eccentric polite multitude groups.

The Russian supervision has done an bid to execute a entrance elections for a State Duma, scheduled for Sep. 18, as some-more pure than those in 2011, that finished with thousands of protesters holding to a streets. A reform-oriented central was inaugurated as conduct of a Central Election Commission.

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The preference to tag a Levada Center a unfamiliar representative was widely seen as a reversal to a efforts to encourage larger transparency.

“It began after we have demonstrated a dump in recognition of a United Russia,” Mr. Gudkov said.

The Levada Center published a check on Thursday that showed a poignant decrease in support for United Russia, from 39 percent in Jul to 31 percent in August.

Other vital Russian polling organizations have not reported such a decline. But in a new talk with Bloomberg, Mr. Putin concurred a dump and attributed it to critique from other domestic parties.

“Sometimes they simply contend things that even laymen comprehend are frequency practicable, or only unfeasible,” Mr. Putin said. “However, they demeanour good on-screen, reprehension and holding adult to contrition members of a statute party.”

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