Kremlin Reiterates It Has Nothing Against NGOs
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Russian police remove a demonstrator protesting against the passage through the State Duma of a bill on NGOs, December 2005. (RFE/RL)
3 February 2006 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said today that Moscow has nothing against nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), despite allegations that British spies have been financing such groups.
NGOs say they fear the Russian authorities are aiming to clamp down on their freedoms using a tough new law signed by President Vladimir Putin in January. Those fears were heightened on 22 January when a documentary on state-run television alleged that members of the British embassy were acting as spies, adding that one of them had been in charge of funding some high-profile NGOs.
Lavrov told a gathering of 80 representatives of Russian NGOs that "no branch of government has expressed any complaints about NGOs."