The U.S. administration is in talks with Congress on the establishment of a new organization supporting NGOs in Russia, Philip Gordon, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, said on Wednesday, December 14.
“As part of our democracy strategy, the administration has been consulting with Congress on an initiative to create a new fund to support Russian non-governmental organizations that are committed to a more pluralistic and open society,” Gordon said.
“The fund would not require an additional appropriation, as necessary funding would be drawn from the liquidated proceeds of the U.S.-Russia Investment Fund - an example of successful U.S. foreign assistance to Russia,” he said at a meeting of a subcommittee in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Gordon said the United States provides financial support to Russian civil society.
“Since 2009, the U.S. government has given approximately $160 million in assistance to support programs on human rights, rule of law, anti-corruption, civil society, independent media, good governance, and democratic political processes,” he said.
“Most recently, U.S. funding was used to support independent Russian monitoring of the [State] Duma elections and education for independent media on professional and unbiased reporting, encourage informed citizen participation in elections, and enhance the capacity to conduct public opinion polling,” Gordon said, RIA Novosti reported.
On December 8, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin proposed toughening responsibility for those who interfere in Russian political life on foreign orders.
“When money from abroad is invested in political activities inside another country, this concerns us,” he said, adding that “hundreds of millions of dollars” of foreign money have been spent to influence the election process in Russia.
“We are not against foreign observers monitoring out election process,” Putin said. “But when they begin motivating some organizations inside the country which claim to be domestic but in fact are funded from abroad… this is unacceptable.”
The ruling United Russia party won the Russia’s December 4 parliamentary elections, gaining about 50 percent of the vote. Tens of thousands of people went to the streets to protest the vote results, which they say were rigged.