MOSCOW, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Russian non-governmental organizations have reacted in anger to charges that they have received funding from alleged British spies.
The Federal Security Service, or FSB, said Monday it had uncovered four British spies working under diplomatic cover in Moscow, one of whom had authorized grants for Russian NGOs, The Moscow Times reported Tuesday.
FSB spokesman Sergei Ignatchenko said at a news conference that 12 Russian NGOs had received payments from the British Foreign Office that were authorized by Marc Doe, one of the alleged spies.
Sunday night the state-run Rossiya television channel broadcast a program claiming that the four transferred classified information by means of a hollow rock on a Moscow street.
The FSB has repeatedly accused foreign intelligence services of using NGOs as cover for espionage, and the latest allegations served as another warning to Russian recipients of foreign funds.
"It's clearly a provocation, another PR activity to support current attempts to tighten the grip on NGOs or eliminate them altogether," said Dmitry Surnin of New Eurasia Foundation, which received British funding to develop small-town newspapers.
"It's a special campaign against NGOs that has been going on for a long time," said Lyudmila Alexeyeva of the human-rights watchdog Moscow Helsinki Group.