The AP reports from Washington about a new Russian act hostile for the United States:
"The United States said Tuesday it is ending the US Agency for International Development's operations in Russia after a Kremlin demand that the aid organization leave the country, dealing a blow to President Barack Obama's policy of "resetting" relations between Washington and Moscow.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters that Russia sent a letter last week saying it didn't need Washington's help anymore. She didn't cite a political reason for the closure, but Putin has long complained about US democracy and human rights promotion efforts.
The aid agency has worked in Russia since the Soviet Union's collapse 20 years ago, promoting what it says is "a more open and innovative society and a strengthened partnership between Russia and the United States" and spending some $ 2.7 billion. It planned $ 50 million in programs this year.
"We are extremely proud of what USAID has accomplished in Russia over the past two decades", Nuland said. "While USAID's physical presence in Russia will come to an end, we remain committed to supporting democracy, human rights, and the development of a more robust civil society in Russia".
Nuland didn't criticize Russia for its action. But she said the money went to a wide variety of initiatives, such as fighting AIDS and tuberculosis, helping orphans and victims of trafficking, and improving the protection of wildlife and the environment. About a third of annual funds go to governance, human rights and democracy programs, she said.
"It is our hope that Russia will now itself assume full responsibility and take forward all of this work", she said.
Closing the USAID office "is an unfriendly move toward the US", said Grigory Melkonyants, the deputy director of Golos, the country's only independent election-monitoring body, which has benefited from American financial support.
He criticized the Kremlin's "paranoia and nervousness" and "inability to understand the reasons behind serious public discontent. They are looking elsewhere for culprits and think it's rooted in the American funding".
Meanwhile, it is reported that the closure of the USAID by Putin caused a traditional concern of KGB human rights defenders. Many of them fear that other foreign non-profit organizations. will be also closed following the the USAID. Rumors about a forthcoming ban of the USAID by the KGB started to circulate in August, but the official confirmation from the U.S. came only on Tuesday.
The ringleader of a dummy movement For Human Rights, Lev Ponomarev, who in September 2011, after learning that his colleagues from the KGB declared the Kavkaz Center "extremist" and decided to jam it, reacted with words "long overdue", expressed his concern on Tuesday over the fate of other foreign agencies which, according to him, could be also closed Russia.
"This means that human rights defenders will not carry out their functions in relation to thousands of people whose rights are violated", he said in an interview to the main KGB news agency RIA Novosti, not thinking that interviews no such agencies discredit him.
The head of the human rights association Golos/Voice Lilia Shibanova from her part recalled that the USAID has done very much "to Russian public to support the human rights sector and independent journalism in Russia".
Meanwhile, the RIA Novosti and other KGB media outlets in Russia expressed delight praising the Russia's ruling party of the KGB and published anti-American cartoons for the news story about Putin's ban of the USAID (this particular cartoon was published on a dummy KGB human rights website Slon).
Department of Monitoring