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#2 - JRL 7215
Soros Says His Foundation Cutting Back In Russia
June 9, 2003

MOSCOW (AP)--U.S. billionaire financier and philanthropist George Soros said Monday he was reducing his activities in Russia because it was up to the state to work in the areas his foundation has previously supported.

Soros opened his Open Society foundation branch in Moscow in 1987 with the aim of helping the Soviet Union make the transition to democracy. He said he had spent two-thirds of the approximately $1 billion he has invested in Russia supporting activities that are "normally supported either by central or local authorities," such as underwriting scientific research and initiating reforms in education.

"It is no longer appropriate for me to continue subsidizing the Russian state," Soros told a news conference in Moscow. "The economy is now recovering and the state is restored. And that is why I think it is right for us to conclude our activities in their present form."

Soros said he would reduce his investments in Russian projects from $25 million each year to $10 million beginning in 2004.

Russia was Soros' last stop on a tour of his foundation's offices in 10 countries spread across the Balkans, Caucasus, and Central Asia.

The Hungarian-born Soros emigrated to the U.K. in 1947 before settling in the U.S. in 1956. He made his billions on the stock exchange and later turned to philanthropic work.

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