Thursday, July 21, 2005

Russian NGOs Face Bleak Future

From today's RFE/RL Newsline:
PUTIN CALLS FOR BANNING FOREIGN FUNDING OF POLITICAL ACTIVITIES ON RUSSIAN SOIL... At a meeting with members of the Council for Promoting the Development of Civil Society on 20 July, Russian President Vladimir Putin called for restricting foreign financing of "political activities" of Russian NGOs, Russian news agencies reported. "Not a single, self-respecting country will allow that, and neither will we," Putin said. "We believe who pays the piper calls the tune," he added. Putin added that the government is ready to establish grants for public organizations, but these should not be interpreted as an attempt by the state to bribe the groups. Politika Fund head Vyacheslav Nikonov told Interfax that Putin's remarks are likely connected to "events" in the former Soviet Union, noting that the revolutions in Ukraine, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan "were financed from abroad." He added that "the U.S. has already allocated $58 million for Russian democracy. No doubt, this money will be distributed through public organizations." JAC

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