Russian senator blames underfunding for loss on influence in post-Soviet space

Map of European Portion of Former Soviet Union

(Interfax – St. Petersburg, July 10, 2013) The Federation Council is concerned that Russia is losing influence in the post-Soviet space because of the lack of funds to finance Russian NCOs (noncommercial organizations) which work there.

Igor Morozov, a member of the Committee on International Affairs, told a Federation Council meeting on Wednesday (10 July) that the European Union and Western countries were very active these days in their use of “soft power” in the post-Soviet space. “In this situation, Russia is losing influence in the post-Soviet space, and the problem is the lack of funds to finance our NCOs which work in that space,” Morozov said.

Even the foundations created by the government of the Russian Federation are seriously underfunded by the Finance Ministry, and the plan of top priority CIS events approved by the Council of the Heads of Governments of the CIS is disrupted as a result, he said.

The senator complained that even the humanitarian projects initiated by Russia in the CIS were being suspended or continued without Russia. “This is a new trend: we are losing and players from the European Union and Western countries are playing an increasingly active part. Russian NCOs suffer serious damage to their image from this,” Morozov said.

He gave the example of the situation with the interstate foundation for cooperation within the CIS, which had not funded a single event in the multilateral format since the beginning of this year. Both our partners and our ambassadors who work in post-Soviet countries talk about this. Meanwhile, the senator said, not one penny of the planned funds for the development of the foundation has been received from the federal budget this year. “Things are no better with Russian World, Public Diplomacy and some other foundations,” the senator said.

A decision was taken in view of this to instruct the international affairs and budget committees to find out why this situation had arisen. “The situation has to be put right as soon as possible so as not to lose our influence in the post-Soviet space once and for all,” Morozov said in conclusion.