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US Senator McCain’s institute put on Russian list of undesirable NGOs

The International Republican Institute and Media Development Investment Fund are recognized undesirable in Russia
 US Senator John McCain  EPA/WALLACE WOON
US Senator John McCain

MOSCOW, August 22. /TASS/. The Russian Justice Ministry has put the International Republican Institute (IRI) chaired by US Senator John McCain and Media Development Investment Fund on the list of foreign and international nongovernmental organizations whose activity is recognized undesirable in Russia.

They were put on the list of undesirable organizations "on August 22, on the basis of the decision by Russia's deputy prosecutor general," the Justice Ministry said.

"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," Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office said on Thursday.

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 was 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. 

List of undesirable NGOs in Russia

The Prosecutor General’s Office 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.