Human rights activists fear Soros Foundation to leave Russia

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – August 3, 2015)

The Soros Foundation could follow the MacArthur Foundation and National Endowment for Democracy and leave Russia, veteran of the human rights movement and head of the Civil Assistance committee Svetlana Gannushkina said.

“I am afraid that the Soros Foundation is leaving Russia,” she said.

According to Gannushkina, the probability exists that the Soros Foundation will be on the list of unwanted foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The Soros Foundation has already stopped accepting applications from NGOs for grants, Gannushkina said.

“They are very worried whether we will be able to complete existing projects and whether we will lose the opportunity to work with funds already allocated,” she said.

It appears that the Soros Foundation will leave Russia, head of the Committee Fighting Torture (until recently the Committee Against Torture) Igor Kalyapin said.

“Our organization has received the notification from the Soros Foundation that they could stop financing projects by September 1, 2015,” Kalyapin told Interfax on Aug.3.

The Soros Foundation was on “the patriotic stop-list” composed by the Federation Council, Kalyapin said.

“This list included three organizations we worked with – the Soros Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and the National Endowment for Democracy. The National Endowment for Democracy was recognized as an unwanted foreign organization. The MacArthur Foundation did not wait and announced [its] leaving Russia itself. I suppose that the Soros Foundation will do the same,” Kalyapin said.

Amid the National Endowment for Democracy leaving Russia, several projects of the Civil Committee and Memorial human rights center came under threat, Gannushkina said. These are educational projects and projects aimed at assisting children, refugees and fighting corruption, she said.

Russian grants were not received for these projects and human rights activists will try to compensate for lack of funds with volunteer help, Gannushkina said. “But these projects cannot be implemented fully only with the help of volunteers alone,” she said.