Moscow Shuts Down USAID Activities In Russia
September 18, 2012
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will end its activities in Russia following a decision by Moscow, according to U.S. officials.
In a statement, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland confirmed Washington had received the Russian government's decision to end the mandate of the agency, which supports development and governance programs around the world.
"While USAID’s physical presence in Russia will come to an end, we remain committed to supporting democracy, human rights, and the development of a more robust civil society in Russia," Nuland said.
Moscow's decision comes after President Vladimir Putin in July signed into law controversial legislation compelling NGOs that receive funding from abroad to register as "foreign agents."
Some opponents of that law, including Russian advocacy groups that receive foreign grants such as For Human Rights, responded by refusing to comply and calling for a "civil disobedience" campaign.
USAID says it has provided "more than $2.6 billion toward Russia’s social and economic development" since 1992.
The agency lists its activities as promoting broadly shared economic prosperity, strengthening democracy and good governance, protecting human rights, boosting health and food security, furthering education, and providing humanitarian assistance, among other things.
Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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