Russia may ban Soros charity in NGO crackdown

Putin's charity ban
Putin's charity ban

Hedge fund billionaire George Soros's charitable foundation may be kicked out of Russia, as Moscow considers banning foreign non-governmental organizations (NGO) that promote democracy.

TASS, Russia's state-owned media service, reported on Wednesday that the Federation Council would consider a "stop list" of NGOs accused of carrying out "soft aggression" in the country.

Twelve organizations are on the "patriotic 'stop list,'" including Soros' grant-making foundation. It aims to promote "vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens," according to the Open Society Foundations website, which was founded by Soros.

CNBC believes this is the "Soros Foundation" to which TASS refers. However, Open Society Foundations was not immediately available to comment.

Russian Army T-14 Armata tanks in the annual Victory Parade at Red square, Moscow last May.
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Other U.S.-led organizations on the list include the National Endowment for Democracy, the MacArthur Foundation and the Freedom House, plus the East European Democratic Center. In total, the list features seven U.S. organizations, three Ukrainian ones and two from Poland.

TASS cited a draft decree that said Russia was up against an "attack on its national interests," with power exerted with the help of NGOS, including those funded by foreign states.

This attack was aimed at "undermining the patriotic unity" of Russia.

Russia under Putin has appeared to take an increasingly authoritarian line on media and charitable organizations viewed as critical of Moscow. In May, for instance, Russia's media authority told Google, Twitter and Facebook that they risked being blocked if they did not reveal the identity of all bloggers with more than 3,000 daily readers.