U.S. scrimps on democracy propaganda in Russia

MOSCOW, June 3 (RIA Novosti) - The money the United States allocates to support and develop democratic institutions in Russia is not enough to organize another "Orange Revolution," the daily Vedomosti published in an article Thursday.

The U.S. government spends less on democracy propaganda in Russia than Coca-Cola or Procter & Gamble spend on promotion of their brands on the Russian market. In fiscal year 2005 (since October 2004), the U.S. has spent $2 million less on democracy in Russia than it did in 2004 ($45.43 million). This means it spent 30 cents per capita in Russia against 70 cents in Ukraine in 2004. In comparison, Procter & Gamble's advertising budget in Russia amounts to $70-80 million annually and L'Oreal's to $35 million.

U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the government would spend over $11 million in 2005 on rule of law programs. This would include aid to human rights NGOs and aid for training prosecutors and investigators to support the fight against transnational crime.

The rest of the money is used to support independent mass media and civil society institutions (environmental, religious, women's, and others) and to train young politicians and organize student exchanges. However, street youth organizations, working against what they see as the anti-democratic policy of the authorities, deny receiving American aid. "We have never received it and are not going to. We rely only on Russian sponsors," said Ivan Bolshakov, leader of the Moscow division of the Yabloko youth movement.

"This money cannot be used efficiently for revolutionary purposes because the society does not have the same degree of dislike toward the incumbent authorities," said Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of the Rossiya V Globalnoi Politike magazine. "We would be happy to receive honest aid to develop democracy in Russia, but, unfortunately, this is not the case. The democratic babble paid for by outsiders hinders the real democratic movement in Russia," said Mikhail Rogozhnikov, deputy director of the Social Engineering Institute.

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