U.S. embassy in Moscow concerned about NED’s designation as ‘undesirable organization’ in Russia

File Photo of U.S. Embassy Moscow, with Russian Foreign Ministry Building in Distance

(Interfax – July 28, 2015)

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow is concerned about the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office’s decision to designate the U.S. nonprofit organization National Endowment for Democracy (NED) an undesirable foreign organization in Russian territory.

“We are deeply concerned about the effect of the so-called law on undesirable organizations,” U.S. embassy spokesperson Will Stevens told Interfax when asked to comment on the Prosecutor General’s Office’s decision on July 28.

In this context, the U.S. “calls on the Russian authorities to comply with their international obligations and understandings regarding freedom of expression, of peaceful assembly and of association, and also the rule of law principle,” Stevens said.

The U.S. is also concerned that this law would put more obstacles in the way of civil society’s functioning in Russia and is yet another example of the Russian government’s consistent steps toward harassing independent voices and isolating Russians from the rest of the world, he said.

“We are still concerned about growing restrictions being imposed on the work of independent media, on the functioning of civil society, and on members of minorities and opposition forces,” he said.

The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office designated the National Endowment for Democracy an undesirable foreign organization in Russian territory earlier on Tuesday. The office recognized the NED’s operations as threatening “the Russian Federation’s constitutional system, defense capability, and security.”