MOSCOW, October 3 (RIA Novosti)
Russia will not treat European foundations like it did the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
“These foundations act on the basis of intergovernmental agreements, well-considered and mutually acceptable ones, which are based on the principles of reciprocity and equality,” Lavrov said in an interview with the Kommersant business daily published on Wednesday.
When asked whether European organizations working in Russia could face USAID’s fate, Lavrov said: “I do not see reasons to try to extrapolate this situation to other cultural centers and countries. Americans do not have [organizations] similar to the Goethe Institute, the Cervantes Institute, the British Council and the Alliance Francaise.”
USAID, which has funded Russian non-governmental organizations, formally stopped its operations in Russia from Monday. President Vladimir Putin said the mission had been meddling in the country’s internal affairs.
Senior Russian officials have portrayed some of USAID programs - such as those funding election monitoring and human rights groups critical of the Kremlin - as attempts by a foreign nation to undermine Russia’s sovereignty. Human rights activists have cried foul over the closure of USAID’s Russian offices saying small regional NGOs would suffer most.
USAID, which operates in more than 100 countries, has been active in Russia over the past two decades. Its array of social programs have targeted issues such as at-risk youth and pressing public health issues like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. But the agency has also funded civic organizations that have rankled Russian officials. The United States has repeatedly denied that its programs are aimed at interfering in Russia’s domestic affairs.
Since Putin’s reelection as president, Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, has given the green light to several laws that Russian civil society activists claim are intended to dampen dissent and provoke fear among citizens who have become increasingly active in recent months.
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- bielecRussia needs to be very careful...08:36, 03/10/2012One example:
The Educational Foundation of Gdansk (Gdańska Fundacja Oświatowa), Poland, was and probably still is accredited with a few foreign foundations. It received their money for a specific purpose - "to carry out programs recommended by the Education for Democracy Foundation (Fundacja Edukacji dla Demokracji) and the Polish-American Freedom Foundation (Polsko-Amerykańska Fundacja Wolności)".
Both of these foundations were financed by American organizations associated with the U.S. government.
Among the recommended goals of these two organizations were:
- Training of teachers who wanted to implement school programs related to integration of Poland into the European Union;
- Implementation of programs and projects, international cooperation, and youth exchange with the view of popularization of the European Union and in order to share Polish experiences in the area of integration. This was to be "shared" with students, teachers, journalists, and NGO activists in countries of South Caucasus, especially in Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan;
- Support for democratic and free-market developments in former Soviet Block countries, help in molding of intellectual, economic, and political leadership that would accept and support Western values, would be willing and able to perform actions aimed at supporting democracy, market economy and civil society ... support for systemic transformation in the targeted countries of the Caucasus region on the basis of Polish experiences in this matter;
- Activization of local groups, coordination and support for local initiatives serving similar goals to the goals of the foundation.
It surely looks like a political agenda to me. Clearly, such activities helped to export color revolutions to the targeted countries. The fact that they were carried out even by the educational institutions at elementary and high school level, is disgusting.
(The above facts were researched and compiled in 2009.)
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The British experience can be instructive for Russia. London retains its British Commonwealth if it wants to use this as a foundation for integration in the future. That’s a valuable lesson for Russian experts who are calling for an end to “ineffective” associations like the CIS, the Russian World and others.