Homeland Security

Russia Pulls Out of US Anti-Drug Agreement

January 30, 2013

by VOA News

Russia has announced it is pulling out of an agreement with the United States to work together on controlling illegal drugs, in the latest of a series of moves that indicate the two governments are pulling away from one another.

The order signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev appeared Wednesday on the Russian government website. It said Moscow is withdrawing from the deal because it "does not address current realities and has exhausted its potential."

This comes just days after the United States said it is pulling out of a joint working group with Russia supporting civil society organizations. A spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department told reporters Friday the decision was made in light of the Russian government's recent restrictions on civil society.

Those restrictions include new penalties for unsanctioned gatherings, running websites with "extremist" content, and threatening journalists with prison terms for slander.

In recent months, Moscow has targeted several organizations that have benefited from American aid. In October, Russia kicked out the U.S. Agency for International Development, accusing it of interfering in Russian political affairs - something Washington strongly denies.

In one of the most prominent disputes between the former Cold War foes, the United States passed a law last year imposing a visa ban and financial sanctions on Russian officials accused of human rights violations.

The law is named for deceased lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Russian prison at age 37 after accusing officials of involvement in a $230 million tax scam. Magnitsky was later charged with the very crimes he says he uncovered.

His case became a symbol of alleged prison abuse in modern Russia.

After passage of the Magnitsky Act, Russian President Vladimir Putin then quickly signed a law banning Americans from adopting Russian children.



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