MOSCOW -- Russia has explained its decision to put an end to the U.S. Agency for International Development's work in Russia by saying the U.S. government agency was using its money to influence elections.
The State Department announced Russia's decision on Tuesday.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Wednesday that through its grants, USAID was attempting "to influence... political processes, including elections on various levels, and institutions of civil society."
Nearly 60 percent of the agency's $50 million annual budget went toward the promotion of democracy and civil society in Russia.
Some of this money went to support Russia's only independent election monitoring group, which fielded thousands of observers in last winter's parliamentary and presidential elections and compiled reports of vote fraud nationwide.
The Associated Press