News / Europe

Moscow Asks Washington to End USAID Programs in Russia

USAID logoUSAID logo
x
USAID logo
USAID logo
James Brooke
MOSCOW — Russia’s Foreign Ministry has asked the Obama administration to end all USAID programs in Russia and to recall the 13 American diplomats working here for USAID by Oct. 1.

In Washington, the State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland issued a statement Tuesday saying that USAID’s presence in Russia will end, but that U.S. diplomats “look forward to continuing cooperation with Russian non-governmental organizations.”
 
In Moscow, a senior U.S. administration official said the Obama administration will not change its human rights policy with respect to Russia.  He said Washington will look “for new ways to achieve those ends.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has enacted a series of restrictive laws since returning to office in May.  He and the country's state-run media also have been sharply critical of the United States.

In addition to the American diplomats, USAID employs about 60 Russians, some for as long as 20 years - since the start of USAID program in Russia.
 
During the 1990s, the program was heavily oriented toward helping Russia move from a state-controlled economy to a free market system.  In 1995, USAID funding totaled some $257 million compared to about $50 million this year.
 
During the last decade, the money increasingly has gone to human rights groups and to bolstering civil society in Russia.  USAID provides the majority of the money for Golos, Russia’s only independent vote counting group.  Memorial, one of Russia’s leading human rights group, receives much of its funding from USAID.
 
President Putin increasingly has said that the United States is funding groups that have an impact on Russian politics.  In July, the Kremlin responded to a wave of street protests by passing a law that forces groups that receive foreign aid to declare themselves “foreign agents.”
 
Experts say Washington might choose to continue the funding, but without an oversight presence in the country.  And a senior U.S. administration official in Moscow said Tuesday, “There is no prohibition for Russian organizations to take money from foreign sources.”
 
About $18 million each year goes to help Russian organization fight such health problems as tuberculosis and AIDS.
 
The last time Russia ended a major American aid program here was in 2002, when the Kremlin terminated the Peace Corps program in Russia.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Yearsi
X
December 18, 2014 5:13 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Years

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid