USAID -- the agency for international development -- is shuttering its offices in Russia following a decision from the Kremlin. This comes, according to the Washington Post, after President Vladimir Putin "spent most of the spring attacking the U.S. government for supporting civil society organizations in Russia."
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland announced Tuesday that Putin had sent a letter about withdrawing the agency to Washington last week. Reuters reported that analysts see the Kremlin's decision as reflective of "Moscow's hostility toward U.S.-funded groups that seek to promote democracy and the rule of law in Russia."
Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who is now at the Brookings Institution, told Reuters:
They [the Russian government] see Aid's efforts in Russia as being a prime funder of the NGOs that are concerned about their elections and concerned about the regression of democracy in Russia.
According to the Washington Post, since 1992, USAID has provided $2.6 billion to Russia. The appropriation in 2012 included $34.6 million for democracy, human rights and governance, $15.8 million for health and $2.1 million for education.