How the Kremlin's millions fund NGO's in Baltics
Lithuanian news portal DELFI publishes investigation by the Baltic Center for Investigative Journalism into Moscow's open financing of NGOs in the Baltic region aimed at influencing public opinion and stirring up public debate, Ukraine Today reports.
“There are more than 40 such organizations in the Baltic states that have received at least 1.5 million euros through legal means in the last three years, according to most conservative calculations. That excludes cash transactions and financing through Russia-friendly enterprises and individuals. It is impossible to say precisely how much of their income is from the Russian government funds, because part of the recipients do not declare it in their annual reports," reads the report, according to Ukraine Today.
The money goes to language and cultural bodies, legal support groups, media channels and even one anti-fascist organization which is showcased often on Russian TV. This same idea of widespread Nazism and anti-Semitism was also used by President Putin to justify Moscow's takeover of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine's two easternmost regions.
The report published in DELFI quotes the State Security Department of Lithuania as saying: "These organizations' and 'experts' work according to the Russian interests, publicly accuse Lithuania...and make a contribution toward creating a negative image of the Baltic states in the eyes of the Russian society. In the future, this image may serve to justify any aggression against the Baltic states."
Meanhile, any organization branded a ‘foreign agent' is subject to vigorous inspection in Russia and can even be blacklisted.
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