Russia orders British Council offices to stop operations

Russian officials accused the British Council of operating illegally in St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg.

By
December 12, 2007 13:42
1 minute read.
Russia orders British Council offices to stop operations

british council 88. (photo credit: )

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Russia on Wednesday ordered a British cultural organization to suspend all of its operations outside Moscow at the beginning of 2008, the latest move in a long-running dispute. Russian officials accused the British Council, a non-governmental organization that acts as the cultural department of the British Embassy, of operating illegally in St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said in a statement that British Council operations in those two cities violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Russian officials have long claimed the council is a for-profit organization subject to taxation. Natalia Minchenko, marketing director for the British Council's main Moscow office, denied that contention and told The Associated Press that "we have no plans to shut down" the regional offices. "Any action against the British Council would constitute a serious breach of international law and would deprive Russians of cultural and educational resources," a spokesman for the British Embassy said on condition of not being named, in line with usual practice. He said the regional offices also conformed with a Britain-Russia cultural agreement signed in 1994. The order comes amid tense relations between Moscow and London. Britain this year called for Russia to extradite Andrei Lugovoi, whom it identifies as the main suspect in the 2006 killing in London of dissident former security agent Alexander Litvinenko. Russia says its constitution prohibits it from doing so. Russia, in turn, is furious at Britain for refusing to extradite tycoon Boris Berezovsky, a fierce Kremlin critic, and Chechen separatist envoy Akhmed Zakayev. Both men have been granted political asylum in Britain. In July, Britain expelled four Russian diplomats in protest of the refusal to extradite Lugovoi. Russia countered by ordering four British diplomats to leave. The order also demonstrates Russia's general suspicion of foreign non-governmental organizations. Many officials accuse them of meddling in the country's politics and even of attempting to organize opposition movements to try to undermine the government. "I know for sure that the British Council's projects have been closely associated with education programs rather than politics," prominent Russian human rights activist Lev Ponomarev was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Stutthof concentration camp, Poland
December 15, 2018
Trial postponed for former Stutthof Nazi SS guard due to health concerns

By MARCY OSTER/JTA