U.S. State Department announced Tuesday that Russia has demanded USAID
leave the country, a culmination of years of resentment over what Moscow
sees as American interference aimed at undermining President Vladimir
Putin’s hold on power.
“We are talking about attempts through the
issuing of grants to affect the course of political processes, including
elections on various levels, and institutions of civil society,”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.
percent of the aid agency’s $50 million annual budget this year has been
allocated for the promotion of democracy and civil society in Russia.
Some of this money has gone to support Russia’s only independent
election monitoring group, Golos, which fielded thousands of observers
in last winter’s parliamentary and presidential elections, and compiled
reports of widespread vote fraud in support of Putin’s party.