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US National Democratic Institute moving staff from Russia to Vilnius

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AFP/„Scanpix“ nuotr. / US flag
Šaltinis: BNS
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The National Democratic Institute, a US government organization that has been under pressure to leave Russia, has started to move its operations to Lithuania. Lithuanian diplomats say they are happy to host the institution which is loosely associated with the US Democratic Party and, according to them, has contributed to the reinforcement of democracy in Europe.

The National Democratic Institute (NDI) said that part of its staff were shifted to Lithuania after Russia expelled US government's aid agency USAID from Moscow.

"Some of our (Russia) staff is in Lithuania temporarily as we sort out our options," said Kathy Gest, a spokeswoman for NDI.

Lithuania's Foreign Ministry has noted both of the United States' key political parties – the Republicans and the Democrats – now had their funds in Lithuania.

"We are glad to see increasing presence of US party funds in Lithuania – the National Democratic Institute representing the Democratic political wing of the United States is settling here, in addition to the International Republican Institute that has been operating rather successfully here," the ministry's Information and Public Relations Department told BNS.

"The funds contributed greatly to promoting democratic values of a free legal country and reinforcement of democracy across Europe – from Spain and Portugal to Central Europe and the Baltic states where their support to transformation of the countries and consolidation of party systems was extremely significant," the ministry said.

The diplomats also said NDI would be a nice addition to the European political funds with old traditions of operating in Lithuania, including Germany's Christian and Conservative Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Social Democratic Fredrich Ebert Foundation.

Earlier this year, Russia ousted the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) from Russia, accusing it of financing pro-democratic projects and thus interfering with Russia's domestic affairs.

BNS
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