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Institute chaired by US senator McCain branded ‘undesirable’ NGO in Russia

Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office considers the activity of the International Republican Institute and the Media Development Investment Fund, Inc. a threat to Russia

MOSCOW, August 18. /TASS/. Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office said on Thursday the activity of two more foreign NGOs, including the International Republican Institute chaired by US Senator John McCain, is undesirable in Russia.

In total, seven NGOs have been named undesirable in Russia.

"Today after studying the materials the Prosecutor General’s Office made decisions to consider that the activity of foreign NGOs - the International Republican Institute and the Media Development Investment Fund, Inc. - is undesirable on the territory of Russia," it said.

The activity of these organizations poses a threat to the basis of Russia’s constitutional system and security of the state, the press service said. The information on the decision has been sent to Russia’s Justice Ministry.

The International Republican Institute (IRI) says its goal is to assist countries in building democracy. The organization works in close cooperation with the US Department of State and some foundations financing pro-American political forces around the world.

Headquartered in Washington, the IRI has been working in Russia since 1992 and has carried out a series of trainings for the State Duma members and regional and local parliaments. Last summer, the organization was included in the so-called "patriotic stop list" drawn up by the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council. Mass media reports said the institute helped to finance coups in Latin America during the Cold War.

The Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) is a New York-registered not-for-profit corporation that "provides affordable financing and technical assistance to independent news and information businesses in challenging environments, helping them to become financially sustainable," according to its website. The organization is financed by various funds and individual investors from Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the US. It also cooperated with the Open Society Foundation founded by business magnate George Soros. The fund says it has no links with the US government and has not received financing for years.

List of undesirable NGOs in Russia

The Prosecutor General’s Office has earlier said five foreign organizations were undesirable in Russia. The NGOs, which have been included in the list of the Justice Ministry, are the National Endowment for Democracy, the OSI Assistance Foundation, the Open Society Foundation, the U.S. Russia Foundation for Economic Advancement and the Rule of Law and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.