President Vladimir Putin shares the opinion of the Foreign Ministry that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is engaged in more than just humanitarian work in Russia.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich on Wednesday said Russia decided to order the closure of the USAID office after concluding it provided funds for non-government organizations that seek to "influence the political process, including elections at various levels and civil society."
President Putin has an “identical position" on the question of the US agency’s political activities in Russia, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday.
The Moscow office of USAID has until October 1, 2012 to comply with the Russian government’s request.
The decision, coming at the height of the US presidential election season, has attracted heated criticism from both US Democrats and Republicans, who are politicizing every new development in an effort to win the White House in November.
In a telling article in The Washington Post on Thursday, USAID’s humanitarian work – the organization has spent around $2.7 billion in Russia over the last 20 years – was barely mentioned. Instead, the bulk of the missive was devoted to vilifying the Russian President.
Source and full story: Russia Today, 20 Sept 2012