Shedding more light on the Russian government’s order that USAID end all operations in the country, the Russian Foreign Ministry has issued a statement confirming speculation that indeed the move was related to concerns of election tampering.
“It’s about attempts to influence political processes, including elections of various types, and institutions of civil society though the distribution of grants,” the statement insisted, saying they were worried in particular about meddling in the Caucasus region.
US officials say they knew about this upcoming ban well in advance and are already working to circumvent it and continue operations indirectly in Russia, with administration officials saying the US would “continue to support democracy” in Russia.
Several Russian opposition groups which not coincidentally receive large portions of their funding directly from US government grants bashed the ban, saying that they proved Putin wanted to continue to retain control over society in Russia.
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