NGOs consider next step in Russia

Dec. 21, 2012 at 10:49 AM

MOSCOW, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- U.S. pro-democracy groups might continue work on Russian issues but from other countries, an NGO official said following new restrictions.

A bill under review by Russian lawmakers would limit the work of non-governmental organizations funded by the United States. Moscow said it was concerned about foreign meddling in its internal affairs, adding it was mindful of potential geopolitical shifts west from former Soviet republics.

The Kremlin ordered the U.S. Agency for International Development out of the country in October.

Lisa Gates, a spokeswoman for the International Republican Institute, a U.S. group that touts its work in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, told state-run news agency RIA Novosti her group was considering its next steps.

She said IRI plans to continue its "on Russia but isn't sure from where at this point."

Russian President Vladimir Putin met Friday with European leaders in Brussels. Last week, members of Parliament passed a resolution critical of the bilateral state of affairs.

"Relations are still suffering from Russia's failure to embrace democratic values fully and strengthen the rule of law," a parliamentary media statement read.

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