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Russia: Soros To Finance Health Care Improvements

Prague, 7 November 1997 (RFE/RL) - International financier George Soros has defended his recent decision to donate $500 million to Russia over the next three years to improve health care and education.

Soros says he is commiting so much money because the Russian state has collapsed and is unable to fulfill its obligations to the people.

Soros made the comments in a pre-recorded interview broadcast last night on U.S. television.

The Hungarian-born U.S. financier says he would be very happy if, "the U.S. had the generosity to be a little bit more helpful in a dire emergency." U.S. government aid to Russia last year was $95 million.

Soros says he is giving $100 million for health problems in Russia because the country faces a health crisis. The remaining funds pledged will go toward health education. Soros says tuberculosis and drug-resistant bacteria are spreading in Russia, and thus threaten the health of people the world over.