The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has listed George Soros’ non-governmental organizations (NGOs) Open Society Foundation and the Open Society Institute’s Assistance Foundation as “undesirable organizations.”
“[It is] determined that activities of the Open Society Foundation and the OSI Assistance Foundation are endangering Russia’s constitutional system and national security,” declared Maria Gridneva, the office’s spokeswoman.
The upper chamber of the Russian parliament – known as the Federation Council – requested the addition to the office, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov.
In May, parliament passed a law to ban any “undesirable” international organizations “that presents a threat to the defensive capabilities or security of the state, to the public order, or to the health of the population.” From The Guardian:
Blacklisted groups will be forbidden from operating branches or distributing information in Russia and banks will have to notify the prosecutor general and justice ministry of any financial transfers involving them. Although the language of the threat posed was vague, the bill’s authors suggested that international NGOs often work in the interests of foreign intelligence agencies.
The legislation was passed in its third and final reading on Tuesday by a vote of 440 to three, with one deputy abstaining. Before it becomes law, it must be approved by the upper house of parliament and signed by the president, Vladimir Putin, steps that are all but guaranteed.
“I think this is a deeply unfair decision, although of course it was predictable in the current climate,” lamented Arseny Roginsky, of Memorial, who received grants from Soros foundations. “Soros has done much good for Russia ever since the 1990s, supporting education and science as well as civil society. The organisation should be thanked, not banned. But those are the times we live in.”
Hungarian-born Soros is a controversial figure in Eastern Europe. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán criticized the pro-migration NGOS, especially those run by Soros, claiming they want to tear down Europe’s borders. The left-leaning media has pilloried Orbán for his views, but Soros all but confirmed the prime minister is correct.
“His [Orbán] plan treats the protection of national borders as the objective and the refugees as an obstacle,” stated Soros. “Our plan treats the protection of refugees as the objective and national borders as the obstacle.”
The bad press did not stop Orbán, though. In October, he again blamed Soros for the migrant crisis in Europe.
“This invasion is driven, on the one hand, by people smugglers, and on the other by those [human rights] activists who support everything that weakens the nation-state,” he declared. “This Western mindset and this activist network is perhaps best represented by George Soros.”