“In general, we can forecast that as the presidential election gets nearer, the attempts to influence the situation in our country, to undermine stability from the inside, will not wane, but rather get stronger,” Sergey Ryabkov said at the Monday session of the Upper House commission for protection of Russian sovereignty.
“We cannot exclude that a part of the funds allocated under the new laws will be spent for stimulating protest activities in our country,” he added.
“The foreign ministry is closely following this process, together with other executive power agencies,” the senior Russian diplomat was quoted as saying by Interfax. Ryabkov noted that it was already clear that US diplomats and specialists in Russian issues were attempting to influence the younger generation, students, and various academic circles.
Russian senators set up the Commission for Protection of National Sovereignty in mid-June this year. The main tasks of the body to monitor attempts by other nations to influence internal Russian politics and work on proposals to counter and prevent them.
Russian media reports that the idea to hold a dedicated session on preventing foreign interference in Russian politics was proposed after President Vladimir Putin’s meetings with the leaders of Germany and France. At the talks, Putin said that Russia has not meddled in the internal politics of other nations, but that its own internal situation remains the target of active outside interference.
In a speech, in which she called for the creation of the new commission, Upper House Speaker Valentina Matviyenko estimated the amount of money sent to Russia from abroad each year “not for charity and not for social or medical aid, but for political activities” at between 70 and 100 billion US dollars.
“As the presidential election approaches, it is possible that illegal protest activities will intensify, prepared by domestic opposition and foreign-based centers of influence. We have to increase control over the foreign sponsorship of the unlawful activities of destructive forces,” Matviyenko said.
Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika told senators that in the five years since Russia introduced a law requiring all organizations that receive sponsorship from abroad and participate in political activities to register as foreign agents, it has been revealed that about 500 NGOs received at least some funding from outside the country.