Russia on Monday banned two foundations funded by the progressive Jewish-American philanthropist George Soros, claiming they posed a “threat to national security” and were undermining the Russian constitution.
The prosecutor general of Russia said in a statement that the Open Society Foundations and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation were to be put on a list of “undesirable” organizations, Reuters reported.
“It was found that the activity of the Open Society Foundations and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation represent a threat to the foundations of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation and the security of the state,” the statement said.
The prosecutor did not offer further details as to why the foundations were labeled a threat.
Under the conditions of the ban, the foundations are prohibited from funding any Russian organizations, The Guardian reported.
The Hungarian-born Soros said he hoped the ban would be lifted.
“We are confident that this move is a temporary aberration; the aspirations of the Russian people for a better future cannot be suppressed and will ultimately succeed,” he said.
The Open Society Foundations said in response that it had only ever worked for the benefit of Russian law and citizen rights.
“Contrary to the Russian prosecutor’s allegations, the Open Society Foundations have, for more than a quarter-century, helped to strengthen the rule of law in Russia and protect the rights of all,” Open Society said in a statement.
“In the past, our efforts have been welcomed by Russian officials and citizens, and we regret the changes that have led the government to reject our support to Russian civil society and ignore the aspirations of the Russian people,” it continued.
Earlier this year, Soros called for more Western funding to help Ukraine counter Russian aggression in the region, Reuters reported.
Soros, who survived the Nazi occupation of Budapest and went on to become a self-made billionaire while living in the US, established the Open Society Foundations in 1979. According to its website, its mission is “to strengthen the rule of law; respect for human rights, minorities, and a diversity of opinions; democratically elected governments; and a civil society that helps keep government power in check.”