Russia has branded foundations run by the financier George Soros a threat to the country’s constitutional order, and banned them from disbursing grants to Russian partners.
The Open Society Foundation and the Open Society Institute’s Assistance Foundation, both financed by Soros, are the latest additions to a list of “undesirable organisations”, a list the government says is necessary to stop foreign governments from interfering in Russia’s internal affairs. The two are accused of posing a threat to Russia’s constitutional order and national security.
Supporters say such organisations provide crucial funding for human rights and civil society organisations that Russian donors would not risk supporting, and blast the laws on which the ban is based as a sign of an increasing government crackdown and paranoia.
Russia’s parliament passed the law on “undesirable organisations” in May, and two months later the upper house sent the prosecutor’s office a list of 12 international organisations it wanted to see added to the list, including the two Soros foundations. At the time, parliamentarian Konstantin Kosachev said the organisations on the list “criticise Russia at any chance and are trying to gain external control over the situation in our country and over our people”.
Soros has long been a controversial figure in Russia because of his financing of civil society groups active in protest movements. He is often referred to as a kind of puppet master, directing “coloured revolutions” in post-Soviet states. However, organisations which had received grants from Soros said this characterisation was inaccurate.
Full article: Russia bans two Soros foundations from disbursing grants (The Guardian)