21 Sep 2012 13:43

U.S claims United Russia got funding from USAID empty - party functionary

MOSCOW. Sept 21 (Interfax) - The United Russia Party has discarded as unfounded U.S. Department of State spokesperson Victoria Nuland's claims that the party received funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

"This statement sounds like an unproven and emotional reaction, motivated by the feeling of injury," Alexei Chesnakov, the deputy secretary of the United Russia party's General Council, said, according to a posting on the party's website.

Nuland said earlier that United Russia took part in some programs in Russia that received funding from USAID.

United Russia has always been scrupulously observing the Russian legislation that deals with the funding of political parties, Chesnakov said.

"We expect Ms. Nuland, as the U.S. Department of State spokesperson, to provide specific and confirmed information about in what capacity the United Russia party participated in which USAID programs, or else this would be yet another attempt to lay one's own fault at somebody else's door," he said.

United Russia "has never been involved in any programs run by USAID or its partner organizations," said Andrei Klimov, a member of the Presidium of the party's General Council, responsible for cooperation with international organizations.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Burmatov, the first vice chairman of the State Duma Committee for Education, told the Duma on Friday that the closure of USAID "was a day of grief for the Russian fringe opposition."

"About $135 million, or some 4 billion rubles, was provided through USAID in 2011 alone to support the unregistered opposition parties. This much was provided to democratize us the Libya-, Egypt- and Syria-style," the Russian lawmaker said, according to the party's website.

Burmatov also said that, "professional fighters against the regime, happy professional grant-eaters, who lament the USAID's departure from Russia, addressed the audience from a stage during the "Occupation March."

"They claimed they were advancing social demands. Social demands are a good thing, but let us look attentively at who are advancing them: Sergei Udaltsov, who has not a single entry on his work record book, Ilya Yashin, who does not work anywhere, a well-to-do Russian unemployed Boris Nemtsov. An organizer of the March claimed from the stage: "We go to rallies as to work." There was also a lawyer without defense practice among them. "May I remark in this connection that one goes to work for a pay," Burmatov said.