Alekseeva added that Russian companies have become reluctant to help finance civil-society programs in the wake of the Yukos affair. "Business is not independent here and business owners know that the authorities will be displeased with an entrepreneur who finances a human rights organization criticizing the authorities for human rights violations," she said.
At the same time, she said, organizations do not want to become dependent on the Russian government for funding. "Unlike social, charitable, or educational organizations, human rights and ecological organizations can count only on foreign financing," Alekseeva said.
In an open letter published in Britain's "Financial Times" on 9 May, a group of 71 international activists including Yelena Bonner, former Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis, and former Czech President Vaclav Havel called on world leaders to press Moscow on the issues of human rights and democracy in Russia. The letter states that principles of human rights are extremely weak in Russia, saying that it is ironic that the world is marking the anniversary of the liberation of Europe in "one of the least democratic countries in Europe."