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USAID is under fire in Russia


The Russian government has given the US agency for international development (USAid) until 1 October to stop all operations in the country. The agency helps fund a number of pro-democracy and human rights groups that have provoked the Kremlin‘s wrath amid an unprecedented opposition movement against the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

The government presented as one of the main behind the decision that the agency’s work “does not always correspond to [its] stated goals”. USAid was accused of orchestrating the mass protests that have swept Moscow since Putin announced his intention to run for the presidency again late last year.

USAid has been operating in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The US State department has funded groups that have received little or no government support, including medical NGOs devoted to fighting HIV/Aids and tuberculosis, as well as various environmental groups.

However, its activity was mainly about funding civil society groups focused on building up democracy and human rights in the country, human rights NGO Memorial and corruption watchdog Transparency International.

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