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Kremlin gives money to “foreign agents”

August 22, 2013, 10:07 UTC+3

About 2,000 non-governmental organizations will get financial support from the state

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Within the next few days, operators of presidential grants will announce results of NGOs bid for budget money, the Izvestia daily writes. Many renowned human rights organizations are among the recipients, including those that were earlier funded from abroad - the movement “For Human Rights”, the Moscow Helsinki Group, Voice (Golos) Association. Sources close to the presidential administration told the newspaper that about 2,000 applications of 6,000 submitted would be approved.

“The process of issuing grants is transparent and open. We have no preferences; everything depends on how the application was formulated. “An incorrectly submitted application and an unfaithful financial report submitted earlier are the only obstacles for getting money from government coffers,” a source from the presidential administration told the newspaper.

All non-governmental organizations whose accounts are not transparent will be blacklisted, and it will be difficult for them to get money from the state after that. However, government opponents will not be put on this list simply because of their position, the source stressed. On the contrary, many of them will be entitled to the grant.

“These are Golos, For Human Rights, Agora, Committee against Tortures, and other organizations which were considered by the law enforcement organizations as potential ‘foreign agents,” another source representing a grant operator (organization responsible for distributing grants) told the newspaper.

The Moscow Helsinki Group has requested 3.5 million rubles for its project to increase citizens’ participation in the police reform, and another five million rubles for the project of “monitoring the situation with human rights and application of new legislation in Russia”.

“This year we have not applied for foreign financing, deciding to give it up for the moment. If we see no biased attitude to organizations in assessing their bids, if the financing is sufficient for project implementation and there is no pressure from the government, we are ready to fully give up the financing from abroad,” the executive director of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Nina Tagankina, stressed.

If the authorities allocate enough money to NGOs and stop interfering in their activity, most organizations will very soon stop relying on any foreign funding, the deputy president of the Centre for Political Technologies, Alexei Makarkin, said.

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