So Much For That ‘Reset Button’… Russia Closes US Aid Mission in Moscow
In March 2009 Hillary Clinton announced that the Obama Adminstration was going to push the reset button with the Russians. Unfortunately, the administration bungled their delivery and spelled out “overcharge” rather than “restart” on their button.
An assistant shows the mock ‘reset’ button that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton handed to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva Friday. (AP Photo)
Today the Russian government gave the US aid mission in Moscow a month to close shop.
The USAID mission has been in operation for two decades in Russia.
Russia has forced the United States to close its aid mission in Moscow, the U.S. government said on Tuesday, in a blow to U.S. efforts to improve ties and a step that may aid the Kremlin’s crackdown on pro-democracy groups.
Russia gave the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) until October 1 to cease operations after two decades and more than $2.6 billion spent to combat disease, protect the environment, strengthen civil society and modernize the economy.
In announcing the decision to close down the USAID operation in Russia, the State Department suggested the Russian government – which is earning high levels of oil revenues – felt that it should no longer be the recipient of such foreign aid.
Analysts also suggested a political motive: reducing foreign support for Russian groups that promote democracy and the rule of law but that are viewed with deep suspicion by the Kremlin.
This comes after Russia pushed the reset button last December and test fired two new nuke missiles.