Bloomberg News

Funding for Russian Civil Groups Is ‘Fruitless,’ Putin Says

November 27, 2011

Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Foreign governments should focus on paying down their public debt rather than financing Russian civil-society groups, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said.

“It’s a fruitless labor,” Putin told the ruling United Russia party in Moscow today. “As we say, it’s money thrown to the wind.” He said the country is already democratic.

Accepting his party’s nomination to seek the presidency next year, Putin vowed to reduce social inequity by boosting taxes on luxury goods and consumption as well as demanding businesses don’t evade taxes by moving assets offshore. He criticized opposition parties, saying liberals allowed “unprecedented robbery” in the 1990s and that foreign-financed civil groups were betraying Russia.

Foreign governments should “direct that money toward paying down their own state debt and end this ineffective and costly foreign policy,” Putin said. Russia has managed to pay down its “humiliating” foreign debt over the past decade, he added.

President Dmitry Medvedev, who is leading United Russia’s list of candidates in a parliamentary vote Dec. 4, called on voters during a speech today to back the party as a way of showing support for Putin’s nomination.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which declared the last vote in 2007 undemocratic, will monitor the elections to the State Duma, Russia’s lower chamber of the legislature.

--Editors: Mike Harrison, Sharon Lindores

To contact the reporters on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at hmeyer4@bloomberg.net; Scott Rose in Moscow at rrose10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net


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