Interfax: UK, US embassies interfered in Russian affairs by funding NGOs – top prosecutor

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – April 28, 2014) Six foreign embassies, including those of Britain and the USA, interfered in Russia’s internal affairs by funding NGOs in the country, Prosecutor-General Yuriy Chayka said in his report on the state of law and order in Russia, according to privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax on 28 April.

“The study of sources of foreign funding of noncommercial organizations has brought to light the breach of international standards, namely the funding by the embassies of foreign states of noncommercial organizations engaged in political activities, which in effect constitutes interference in the internal affairs of our country,” Chayka’s report says.

The embassies of the USA, Britain, Belgium, Germany, Holland and Switzerland directly funded 17 NGOs, of which six were classified as “foreign agents” on the basis of prose cutors’ checks, Interfax quotes the report saying. “Thus, in 2011-12, the Novaya Yevraziya [New Eurasia] foundation used funds from the British embassy to implement a project in four republics of the North Caucasus, which involved measures to ensure Britain’s security in the fight against terrorism and arms proliferation, and assist its economic interests,” Chayka was quoted saying. He added that, according to a report sent to the Foreign Office in London, all the objectives had been achieved.

“Foreign agents” identified

Another Interfax report quoted Chayka saying that prosecutors had identified 24 NGOs as “foreign agents” in 2013; one of them provided legal help to those convicted in the so-called Bolotnaya case.

“Signs of political activities and foreign funding to the tune of over R6bn [about 170m dollars at the current rate of exchange] in 2010-13, as confirmed by NGOs’ paperwork, have been found in 215 noncommercial organizations,” Chayka’s repo rt said. As of 31 December 2013, 24 of these NGOs were directly covered by the law on “foreign agents”, it added: these engaged in politics through “participation in electoral processes and public events, the drafting of legislation” and by other means.

Chayka gave the example of the Obshchestvennyy Verdikt [Public Verdict] foundation for assisting the protection of civil rights and freedoms, which, he said, had received money from the US National Endowment for Democracy for the project to give protest movement participants and activists access to legal help. “As part of the contracts, the foundation in effect assisted organizers of public events in ensuring that the events took place, paid for the defence of the defendants in the criminal case instituted over the events of 6 May 2012 in Bolotnaya Ploshchad [square] in Moscow, and formed the public perception that the actions of the authorities in restraining violations during the events had been unjustified,” Chayka was quoted saying in his report.