Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
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#22 - JRL 2008-26 - JRL Home
Claims Against British Council Unfounded - Student

MOSCOW. Feb 5 (Interfax) - Now that the British Council's offices have been closed, many Russian citizens will lose access to educational programs sponsored by the organization, said Russian entrepreneur Kristina Mogillar, one of those behind an appeal to the Russian leadership requesting that the decision to close the British Council's offices be reviewed.

"The accusations against the British Council are absolutely illogical and lopsided. They are motivated by political considerations and the British Council is a cultural organization. It is wrong to use a cultural organization in settling political scores," Mogillar told Interfax on Tuesday.

It was reported on Monday that a group of Russian businessmen, lawyers and journalists - members of the British Alumni Club - sent a letter to the Russian leadership asking that the decision to close down the British Council's offices in Russia be reviewed.

"We have gained a lot - career-wise and professionally from the educational programs we participate in with the British Council's assistance.

"The British Council has endured a great many unfounded attacks. But we are well acquainted with the British Council and we can see what it has been doing, and we think its work is very important," she said.

The letter was signed by more than 250 Russian citizens who participated in the British Council's educational programs, Mogillar said.

At the end of last year, Russia demanded that London close down the British Council's offices in St.Petersburg and Yekaterinburg effective January 1, 2008, citing the lack of the required legal status.