During its operations in Russia, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has spent some $2.7 billion on various programs in Russia, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Tuesday.
“Over the last 20 years that we've had an AID program in Russia, since the end of the Soviet Union, we've spent about $2.7 billion overall,” Nuland told a press briefing.
The U.S. State Department said earlier on Tuesday that the United States is ending its efforts to promote democracy and civil society in Russia under the auspices of USAID in line with a relevant decision by the Russian government. It said the U.S. received a relevant official notification on September 12.
“The AID budget for fiscal year 2012 is about $50 million, in addition to the civil society programs, we… will look for ways to continue with those members of Russian civil society who want to continue to work with us,” Nuland said.
There has been no official reaction from the Russian authorities yet.
USAID, which operates in more than 100 countries, has been active in Russia over the past two decades. Its array of social programs have targeted issues such as at-risk youth and pressing public health issues like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
But the agency has also funded civic organizations that have rankled Russian officials, including the election watchdog Golos, whose monitors have catalogued violations in local and federal elections in recent years.
The United States has repeatedly denied that these programs are aimed at interfering in Russia’s domestic affairs.