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MacArthur Foundation Says It Is Leaving Russia

A U.S.-based nongovernmental organization that has operated in Russia for more than 20 years says it is stopping work in the country because of new laws targeting foreign organizations.

The MacArthur Foundation says it has decided to close its branch office in Moscow because the new regulations make it "impossible to operate effectively" in Russia.

These changes "make it clear that the Russian government regards MacArthur's continued presence as unwelcome," the statement adds.

The foundation has provided more than $170 million in grant money since 1992 to Russian groups in fields such as higher education and human rights.

Earlier this month, Russia's upper house of parliament asked authorities to scrutinize the operations of 12 foreign organizations, including the MacArthur Foundation, with a view to possibly declaring them "undesirable" and shutting them down.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP