USRF supporting only business, legal, educational projects in Russia - USRF chief

The U.S. Russia Foundation for Economic Advancement and the Rule of Law (USRF), which is a U.S.-registered entity, neither can replace the defunct Russian branch of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) nor has any plans to do so, USRF's chief executive said on Tuesday.

USRF and USAID have completely different missions, Mark Pomar told Interfax. USRF's mission is to promote private enterprise and run legal and educational programs. The foundation rejects requests for support for any other projects, Pomar said.

USRF does not fall under the U.S. State Department's jurisdiction, he said.

Pomar said he could see no reason for USRF to swerve from its mission, which it has been pursuing since its inception in 2008.

He said he did not know of any Russian nongovernmental organization that has been funded by USRF and that qualifies for "foreign agent" status under a controversial Russian law on foreign-financed NGOs that came out a few months ago.

Pomar said he had carefully examined each of the about 50 grants extended by USRF during its four years of existences and had been unable to trace any indication of recipients qualifying for "foreign agent" status. None of the recipients had been involved in any political activities, he said.

Pomar said all the grants are stated on USRF's website.

Nor does the "foreign agents" law apply to USRF itself because the law only applies to Russian organizations whereas USRF is an American entity, he said.

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