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Senior MP accuses USA of "gross interference" in Russian affairs
RIA Novosti

Moscow, 9 April: The US Department of State report on the electoral process in Russia published last Thursday [5 April, referring to the report "Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record - 2006"] constitutes a gross interference in Russia's domestic affairs, Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the State Duma international affairs committee and deputy chairman of the presidium of the general council of One Russia, has said.

"The report clearly admits that the United States will finance projects within the framework of the forthcoming State Duma and presidential election campaigns in Russia. This confirms that the measures initiated by One Russia and later reflected in the existing Russian legislation on introducing stricter financial controls over the activities of NGOs in Russia were absolutely justified," Kosachev is quoted as saying in a report released by the One Russia information centre.

The deputy recalled that at the initial stage of discussions on this idea many Russian NGOs "were literally screaming that such amendments to the legislation were inappropriate because allegedly there had been no facts of support for these NGOs for political purposes". "However, this statement by the Department of State, while on a seemingly different topic, admits that such facts did take place, are taking place and are planned to take place in great numbers in the future. This is an obvious interference in domestic politics and sovereign affairs of another state, which we cannot accept in any form or any circumstances," Kosachev stressed.

He said that members of the [Russian] parliament would demand from the executive bodies that exercise control over the financing of Russian NGOs and political parties to ensure that foreign grants "cannot be used for conducting political activities in the Russian federation". "And, consequently, [to ensure that] financial injections that will be organized by the Department of State or other structures cannot take place or influence the nature of election campaigns in Russia in any manner," Kosachev added.

He said that this sort of practice by the Department of State did not correspond to the "norms of civilized interstate relations".

"We will discuss this situation at the next session of the Interparty Foreign Policy Conference on Thursday, 12 April. We will propose to discuss this topic with our colleagues from other parties. I am not ruling out that we may put forward an initiative to adopt an appropriate Duma statement," the deputy said.

"I hope that the Public Council of the Russian Federation will react in a similar manner because issues of civil society and NGOs in Russia are under its 'jurisdiction' too," Kosachev added. [Passage omitted: quotes from The U.S. Record - 2006].