Sunday, May 1, 2016

Moscow Should Restrict US-Funded Russian Groups More than Those Backed by Other Countries, Markov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 1 – Not only should Moscow broaden the definition of prohibited political activity by NGOs but it should treat them differently depending on the country from which they receive funding, with those getting money from the US more severely punished than those getting it from other countries, according to Sergey Markov.

            Markov, a former KGB officer and now member of Russia’s Social Chamber, is often a bellwether of the Kremlin’s intentions and so his words merit attention both as an indication that the Russian government assumes East-West tensions will remain high and that it wants to be able to play one group of countries off against another (

                The Moscow political analyst says that Russia should not “consider the entire world as hostile to Russia.” Instead, it should classify the states of the world in terms of “the threat which they pose for the sovereignty and security of our country,” with “the most dangerous” being “the US, Great Britain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.”

            Other members of the NATO bloc and most other countries around the world, Markov suggests, represent much less danger. Indeed, he continues, funders from Belarus and Kazakhstan “should be treated completely differently” and presumably less repressively “than those financed from the United States.”

            Markov has called for a tougher approach to NGOs for some time. Ten days ago, for example, he suggested that the Russian law on such groups should be amended so that the authorities would have the tools they need to combat illegal political activity, which he proposed defining far more broadly than current legislation does (

            He pointed to the case of Ukraine where NGOs financed from abroad and initially pursuing purely non-political goals “sharply changed the character” of their actions and “played an important role in the organization of mass disorders.”  The same thing could happen in Russia, he says, because most foreign-funded NGOs there are interested in its destabilization.

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