USAID to shut down in Russia leaving local NGOs without funding
19.09.12 14:22 By Politics Dept.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has claimed that the United States Agency for International Development
Golos, a leading Russian NGO that conducts independent monitoring of elections, has announced the possible collapse of its projects due to the U.S. decision to close its USAID office in Russia.
On Wednesday, the head of Golos, Lilia Shibanova, told Interfax that her organisation had received grants from USAID, because of this the monitoring of upcoming elections in Russia may be disrupted.
"I think this is due to independent election monitoring. This is a very serious blow to Golos. We were not expecting this, " she said.
Shibanova said that Golos had launched a "Map of election violations" in anticipation the upcoming vote on October 14.
"All of this is now under threat of closure. We won't find new money in time, " she said.
According Shibanova, due to the stoppage of USAID grants, many human rights and environmental organisations will suffer.
"There are many USAID projects across the country, they are magnificent resource centers that support non-profit organisations. There are large expensive programs that fund the non-profit sector. But a great deal if support goes towards government programs," she said.
"I am surprised that in order to stop Golos from observing elections, it was necessary to cut support from USAID, including its support of Russian government programs," said Shibanova.
"This isn't the end of Golos, will continue to seek funds. But our task for October 14 is becoming impossible," she said.
Shibanova said that she had learned of the U.S. intentions to close its office USAID from the media. She has not personally met with representatives of this organisation yet. But a source in the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed to RIA Novosti that the US has decided to close USAID and said more details will be forthcoming.
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