by Daniel McAdams
December 2, 2011
Reaction in the Western press to reports that Russian authorities have investigated the activities of the Russian NGO “Golos, the Regional Civic Organization in Defense of Democratic Rights and Liberties,” was predictable: Putin was “trying to gag election monitors” and, as expected, we read that the “US condemns Russia’s ‘harassment’ of monitor group”.
The Russian electoral authorities found that Golos had violated Russia’s election laws by publishing polls in the “quiet period” immediately preceding parliamentary elections and fined the organization just under $1,000 for the violation. Russian lawmakers have also accused Golos and several other political opposition friendly NGOs of receiving funding from foreign sources for their political activities, which would be against Russian law (as foreign funding of US elections would be against US law).
The organization, we read, was “the country’s main non-government election watchdog,” so of course it having been “gagged” on the eve of parliamentary elections was ominous and troubling to the Western press. US-regime friendly (and George Soros-funded) Human Rights Watch complained that Golos was the “victim of a smear campaign.”
Major Western media outlets once again trotted out the old “Russia just cannot help its authoritarian tendencies” reporting on the event, with the Reuters report adding that “The complaint echoed Vladimir Putin’s speech on Sunday at his United Russia party congress, where he accused foreigners of funding his political opponents in what reminded some of the anti-Western rhetoric that marked his 2000-08 presidency.”
But what of the claims by politicians and voters’ rights groups that foreign funded NGOs were inciting another “Orange Revolution” in Russia?
A perusal of Golos’s own website (Google’s translation features helps non-Russian speakers) lists its foreign partners being the US “regime change” specialists National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and National Democratic Institute (NDI), two of the major US sponsors of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and the Rose Revolution in Georgia, among other adventures.
USAID is also listed as a “partner” organization to Golos, with whom it “works to decrease the number of violations, especially administrative abuses, in election campaigns.” Apparently violations committed by the organizations it funds are OK, however. To make an omelet, NGOs must break a few eggs.
The National Endowment for Democracy’s own website advertises openly that it provided “independent” NGO Golos with a generous grant in the 2010–2011 cycle to:
“…carry out a detailed analysis of the autumn 2010 and spring 2011 election cycles in Russia, which will include press monitoring, monitoring of political agitation, activity of electoral commissions, and other aspects of the application of electoral legislation in the long-term run-up to the elections. GOLOS will hold local and national press conferences and publish reports on its findings, as well as provide detailed methodological advice to its monitors and other monitoring agencies.”
Not to be outdone, the US government-funded National Democratic Institute proudly admits that “since 2000, NDI has worked with GOLOS…[to] provide…ongoing consultation and training for the organization’s regional partners.”
Are Russians “paranoid” to be wary of US government funding of domestic Russian NGOs through its most notorious “regime change” and “color revolution” specialists? Would Americans be similarly “paranoid” if they found out that a Russian or Chinese government-funded “NGO” with a track record of internal subversion and fomenting revolutions was funding political organizations in the United States? Why is it OK if the US does it to others, but outrageous and threatening if it is done to us?
Destroying the concept of national sovereignty in the rest of the world will come back to haunt the United States. Interventionism is a virus that we cannot hope to spread worldwide yet quarantine just outside our own shores.
UPDATE: Could US criticisms of Russia on the eve of elections somehow be related to Russia’s surprisingly firm stance in favor of its ally Syria as NATO and its corrupt puppets in the Arab League prepare a Libya-style “liberation”?