Our Commitment to an Open Society in Russia

In recent days, several voices in Russia have called for the Open Society Foundations to be banned from work in Russia as a so-called undesirable organization, but as of this writing, the Russian authorities have not done so, and we are continuing to support many Russian organizations that seek our assistance to participate actively as part of their society. We are determined to continue to support those who seek our assistance in accordance with our mission and within the limits of the law.

It is more than a quarter-century since the Open Society Foundations began work in Russia to support the aspirations of the Russian people. We have helped to finance a network of internet centers in 33 universities around the country; helped Russian scholars to travel and study abroad; developed curricula for early childhood education; and created a network of contemporary art centers which are still in operation. This short video explains these efforts and more, and why we persist today.

For all of us at the Open Society Foundations, it has been a privilege since the 1990s to have worked alongside pioneering citizens, educators, and civil society organizations that embody Russian creativity, commitment, and hope, and we are honored to continue this work.

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I think that your organization is doing a great and oustanding job. You are empowering and promoting the awareness of russian citizens rights. God Bless you and your Institution.

Russia today is stil in its infancy when it comes to Human Rights for persons marginalized by sexual orientation or gender identity. I served in the U.S. military in Europe right after the Iron Curtain went up. Europe today is such a different place than back then. My heart goes out to all the Russian people struggling to help their nation rise from the ashes of communism.

The Russian people are not only struggling to rise from the ashes of communism but something far more difficult - the capitalist system that replaced communism with absolutely no checks and balances - this left the state and people penniless while all the nation's resources were stolen away. Research centers, medical schools, industries closed over night and millions lost their jobs, because the tax base was gone - the oligarchs (former communists turned capitalist) stole the public works, privatized and left the people with little or nothing. 100s of thousands of children were abandoned to orphanages (part of the remaining social system) because they simply could not feed their children. The vast majority of people in the former Soviet nations were far better off under communism (despite the evils of it) than they are today. Today they may be freer to speak, but they are also free to starve and seek work that will never come. It is a pitiful situation. Such a rapid transition is simply not plausible. It will take many decades and much struggle to build the institutions needed to move from communism to an open society.

How can you say the vast majority of people were better off under communism... do you call eating virtually nothing but cabbage and queuing for a day for a loaf of bread better off. You are deluded. Who do you think is going to pay for your 'open society' anyway.

I agree. Why do you think they don't come to the US. Many of those who have go back home because they can not exist in our democracy. Our democracy does not work for everyone and we shouldn't expect it to.

True. I have the feeling that he wrote himself a party to this robbery of the people

Changes in Russia will depend on American behavior. As U.S. behavior degrades, so will Russia's. Soviet Union allowed itself to change with the hope that USA will not become a unilateral world dictator and manipulator. Sadly, USA showed its true color, unilateral barbarism. Don't blame Russia any more, it is the USA that is the biggest threat to world PEACE today. America must now end its malignant militarism and savage violations of Human Rights at home and abroad FIRST. America is now the real Evil Empire.

Evil Empire... Who had occupied Chechnya, Georgia, Crimea in Ukraine? There's only one possible answer!

wow!!! Chechnya? how can you invade your own territory? it's. called defending from Islamic and other scum terrorists, sent by your beloved Cia.
2. why don't you look at YOUR government first, and analyze it's actions in the past 15 years, and then make comments about being Evil. let's see what US has done in part few, OK?
1. Bombed Yugoslavia
2. invaded Afghanistan
3. invaded irag,
4. bombed Libiya
5. bombed Syria
6. supported illegitimate coup in Ukrain
7. created isis.
8. Brought nato to Russian door steps.

What good have you done on the world lately? nothing.. look at Afghanistan, irag, Libiya..Syria...I don't see any democracy there... whole region is in ruins..

fyi, russia took Crimea because it didnt have any choice, they could not afford to give Crimea to nato after the coup.

so, If someone says someone is Evil on CNN my advice to you, try to analyze and see what else is going on in the world.

Chechnya was an independent until the Russians invaded in 2000. The invasion of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, which can be argued to be an ethnic cleansing, is what forced Chechnya to join the Russian federation. It's so charming how you ignore the other cases about Russia, who have been conquering nations to spread it's cancerous influence, Iaroslav mentioned.

1. We were trying to prevent Kolosov from creating the Greater Serbia, which would have been a genocide. Every side was engaged in perpetual ethnic cleansing but the attack was done to defend the lesser of three evils.
2. To get rid of the Taliban, which ruled a country theoretically with an iron fist, and bring Al-Qaeda, the terrorists behind 9/11, to justice.
3. Which was a successful attempt to rid the world of a genocidal, theocratic, nationalist dictator that was a threat to both Iraqi and international security by providing shelter and diplomatic, political, financial and lethal support to Jihadists. In doing so we ended the slow and painful genocide of Kurds and Marsh Arabs and decreased terrorism overtime. We also improved living standards and manifested a more democratic regime. Our biggest mistake was leaving in 2011. We should have stayed much longer.
4. To get rid a sponsor of global Jihadism who terrorized his own population for over forty years.
5. Most of what we have done in Syria since 2011 is provide lethal and diplomatic support to the people fighting Assad's oppressive government (which also sponsors Jihadism too). On the contrary, Russia has been bombing Syrians in order to preserve the Assad regime. In doing so he displaced millions of Syrians, which brought about the refugee crisis we see today. Only now are we actually sending our own military over there to combat ISIS and Assad. We are supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Free Syrian Army.
6. Prove it was illegitimate. The contemporary regime is preferable to Putin's Russia.
7. Nope. ISIS has been around since the early 2000's. It only became a huge threat when we left Iraq and Afghanistan too early. But we didn't create it.
8. To combat Russian influence in Europe.

Who occupied Moldova in 1992?

The occupation of Chechnya, Georgia and Crimea was the result of nailing Russia to be precise. It was an obvious outcome of knocking at Russia's doorstep.

I am not saying Communism was all around good, they had their downsides hence World rejected them, their execution strategy was wrong ,but Capitalist world is more hazardous than that of the downside of Communism.

U.S.S.R leadership had hell lots of wrong decisions at that time, as a result the whole country was divided in multiple parts. But it does not justify American Imperialism Worldwide.

Capitalism has become the breeding ground of Corruption which has become a Worldwide epidemic.

It seems to me that you ignore who started it all and you blame Russia. It will be easier for you to do some research on your own and see how things manifest in each and every situation before you point the finger. The US involvement in clandestine operations worldwide will make your head spin and for this reason, DON'T ASSUME. Ukraine as well as Georgia in this case fell victim precisely because of that. Don't blame Russia for that, because they are going to protect their interests and their people despite of what America and its agents think and hope for.

And who have killed about 10 million people in the middle east for the last 15 years? Who is responsible for the destruction of Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain and created the Islamic state? The answer is only one as well. In Chechnya there is finally peace and order, which you can't say about the victims of the Arab spring and Afghanistan. About Georgia, who organized the rose revolution and made Saakashvili to attack South Ossetia? Crimea was never Ukrainian, it was Nikita Khrushchev who decided to give it away to Ukraine in 1954, without seeking the opinion of the people living there. In 1994 the people of Crimea tried to gain their independence once again but they were savagely crushed by the Ukrainian authorities! Last but not least who trained and sponsored the neonazis in order to carry out the armed takeover in Kiev?
So it is absolutely true that the USA has finally showed its true colors! And I used to sympathize USA some 17 years ago but not any more...

When was the last time US annexed its neighbor's lands after signing the treaty to respect its territorial integrity?
Russia has been a destabilizing force in Moldova since 1992. Same story could be said about Georgia.
Moldovans never had a chance to become truly independent after USSR finale - Russia robbed them of their freedom.
Russia is far from a saint, it is a despot who is the cruelest to its neighbors and its own people...

Thank you for your commitment to the Civitas and the commonwealth that is shared by all the people of this planet. You are doing great work!

What is right and moral and just is so often undesirable to those for whom power is the only value.

It is very hard to change the slave thinking. So, you /OSF/ must go on in Russia.

More than 25 years of work and more than 25 billion were invested into Russia by the West to create democracy in Russia. But they forget that that is Russia where inhabitants are Russians.
For centuries Russians were taught that the West is devilled and perverted but Russia is clearest and honest.
Even if West does something needed and useful for Russian people their attitude more suspicions than thankful. The West simply forget the Russian saying: “no matter how long you feed the wolf, it looking for the forest”. The same with Russians.
Russians are very specific nation. Even if you, West countries, taking Russians for study and even for permanent living, Russians hate you, your language, culture, your traditions.
The West MUST take into account that Russian specific character.

You are not only misinformed.
You are also a bigot.

Are you paid to say these things or are you just uninformed? Which side has 24/7 propaganda? With every chance they get, they'll try to undermine Russia ( Crimea, MH17, Panama Papers ) and portray Putin as some bad guy. I'm sure the Russian people would like to work with the West, same like their Western counterparts. What do you mean with " more than...in Russia". And if you're so disillusioned with the mere thought that our Western society ( U.K, France, Germany and especially the U.S ) is somehow democratic, I strongly suggest you take some time to educate yourself. I suggest starting with Noam Chomsky and working your way up to James Corbett.

Да, мы понимаем что в Россию очень трудно розвивать Гражданские институти, свобода слов, права человеко.Но каждая усилия обезательно оставить свое наследство. Если мы ничего не будым сделать, тогда все будит иначе....

They authority of Russia should understand that no nation can survive in isolation, the voices of civil societies organizations are important to build a great nation.
The participation of all Russian in their democratic process are importance.

The work Open Society Foundations has been doing in Russia is very appreciated and would encourage you to continue doing so for the interest of all the needed people.

Увы! Россияне не ценят работу Открытого Общества
Так как, фактически Открытое Общество спонсирует (предоставляет гранты в своём большинстве) лицам работающим на ФСБ РФ.
Пора пересмотреть, проанализировать и понять: - кто , кто . То есть, кто в России способен работать на услуги демократии, на развитие прав и свобод человека.

Open Society should be allowed to continue its excellent contribution to an open society in Russia


I am in Africa f can I found part of your network?If yes I will be very happy

I've had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Soros in New York and hearing his speak at a university in Ekaterinburg in 1997. I also know he was forced to suspend OS activities in Russia when his foundation was looted by the staff years ago. The situation in Russia is desperate today - much worse than when I worked there in 1997. I applaud OS's continued work there and Mr. Soros's continued support.

The task to move Russia towards a democratic open society is very difficult, since the executive, legal and medial power is in the hands of representatives of a closed society. Very high respect to people who try against all odds.

As CEO and artistic director of the main Belgian cultural centre we will fully support to your initiatives!
We will organise several debates in Bozar in collaboration with the russian civil society, the EEAS in Brussels , .....

I watched your video with great sadness. I saw the hope that was vanished. Yes Russia began its transition with greatness and hope which was soon desecrated by those who were greedy and who sought power and wealth. I am seeing this same thing happen in my country of Egypt. The same story. The youth movement/revolution for Change and an Open Society has been crushed by much more powerful forces that did not want to see Egypt become an Open Democratic Society. Those powerful forces include Saudi Arabia, Israel, Kuwait, USA and the Egyptian Military leaders. The people of Egypt did not stand a chance against such Goliaths. All over the world, the people are asking for, dying for, fighting for their own Open Societies. Until we all come together as one we will be destroyed by those who hold all the power (military power, media power, propoganda power, financial power, political power and the power to crush civil society.) Every oppressed human being longs for freedom and an Open Society. This is our human nature.

Leaving Russia is hard, but it is necessary. It is no longer safe for OS affiliated parties. Soon enough Russian populace will be stirred into a frenzy of pseudo-patriotic violence. A civil war is as likely as at any point within last 50 years.

I don't like your global strategy at all. It is about to fail in western Europe. Now you just want to swallow it all and exploit also Russian soil. Russians are different, they don't want your "democracy" and "open society". They were humiliated during the 90's as a back yard of western capitalism. They will not accept something like that again. Charles 12, Napoleon Bonaparte, European Denikinists during the civil war, Hitler, among others expantionists all had to face it: you'd better leave Russia before it is too late...

Everybody Relax
The Middle East has been a mess for centuries! Despots running 13th century Islamic regimes with 21st century weapons had to go. Did you really want them to have nukes, biologicals, etc. yep, the U.S. does the heavy lifting and sometimes it's not pretty or orderly. Russia is a great country and NATO should not antagonize it, but old habits and feelings by former soviet satellites die hard, plus Putin scares people. Russia will begin to prosper and take a real leadership role in Europe and the world as it reforms its economy and plays nice with its neighbors. I'd nationalize oil and mining and a few other things and use the profits for infrastructure ...schools, pensions, roads, hospitals. And start an anti drinking campaign ..way too many man-years lost to alcohol.....

В регионах России необходимо поддерживать граждан, которые не боятся отстаивать свои права с произволом чиновников в судах различной юрисдикции.
Эти граждане теряют работу, подвергаются психологическому, моральному давлению со стороны административного ресурса. Добиться справедливого решения по многим вопросам сейчас невозможно, так как коррупция достигла запредельных масштабов. Риск большой быть убитым, покалеченным физически, отстранённым от профессиональной деятельности. Всех кто не поддерживает нынешнюю власть в России обзывают "пятой колонной" и называют врагами. Милитаризация органов власти и общества в России достигла своего отрицательного апогея, полное пренебрежение правами человека, отрицание международных норм права. Только настоящие граждане своей страны не боятся говорить об этом, используют по возможности интернет ресурсы, подают иски в суды для защиты своих гражданских прав. Избираемость нынешней власти на честных, конкурентных выборах это единственная возможность стране развиваться в демократическом направлении. Но без финансовой помощи преодолевать сопротивление нынешнего режима в России невозможно. У них в руках все ресурсы; законодательные, административные, судебные, силовые, информационные.

Thanks a lot for help!

Здравствуйте!Я живу на Севере 35 лет, я из Дагестана,мне 56 лет.Здесь мы еле выживаем,у меня 5 детей спортсмены-чемпионы.Очень сложно и тяжко жить НЕ РУССКИМ.Дискриминация страшная.Оскобляю,т обзывают-черножопые-лица Кавказской национальности.На работу не возможно устроиться,относятся,как к людям последнего сорта.Правосудие не поддерживает нас-черножопых.В школах опасно и в городе полиция без причины может остановить и избить.Убежать из России нет финансовых возможностей,даже единственное жилье вынудили продать обложив НЕсанкционными налогами.Большой семьей вынуждены снимать жилье,дальше что будет страшно представить.Мы здесь просто гибнем.Лучше жить в колониальной стране,чем в НЕСПРАВЕДЛИВОЙ,коррумпированной России.Нам ни кто не может помочь убежать из проклятой России.В Дагестане война.Будем рады ЛЮБОМУ предложению,кто сможет помочь нам.Спасибо.

I was working as an engineer -translator and my pension is about 180 dollars but I always help people ov all nationalities and in our loal newspaper there is an article about my work, I have helped more than 200men to marry and for many years I was working as a trainer- chess, russian draughts in our Army and we often were playing in Moscow region competitions and now I want to teach childern, students, invalids to solve short interesting final combinations in my local newspaper and Iask my clerks to help me and nobody wants to help and now sometimes girls and young men use drugs and I simply want to show these girls and young men that our life is wondreful without using drugs but my good ideas are castles in the air in my country , now only football games are modern, 7-496-54-9-72-03 , a trainer Katerina

Hi, I think America need your help more than Russia.
As you are not a Russia citizen, you have no right to make Interference in their politics. Also personal political influence should be highly evaluated depends on social contributions.

Я живу на Урале, в горах, куда не сунется ни один защитник свободы, тк просто не доедет до мест обитания... Мне очень понравилось видео, которое я здесь увидел, здесь много уважаемых людей из России, но самое печальное то, что в глуши, где я живу - нет свободы самовыражения. Множество монопольных городов с одним градообразующим предприятием подверглись скупки со стороны московских властей и людей массово стали сокращать на производстве, поехать им работать где-то ещё не предоставляется возможным, тк все упирается в жилье, которое человек ни за что не купит, тк не сможет продать то, где он сейчас живет, тк все учреждения закрываются, магазины закрываются, город некогда процветающий, благодаря коррумпированной системе - превращается в поселок, в котором живут пенсионеры, молодежь здесь не задерживается, тк работы никакой нет и им приходится брать кредиты, ипотеку, тем самым становясь "крепостным крестьянином" вечно который будет обязан работать, чтобы выплатить кредит и ипотеку государству. Когда люди, начинают митинговать, как же так, мол сократить целую семью с производства - плохо, их ни кто не слушает и угрожают последствиями, что в итоге вообще ни где работать не будешь, все это довольно таки печально... Я и сам попал под сокращение, и теперь в поиске работы, я хотел пойти в мэры своего города, но к сожалению, у нас в стране в маленьких муниципалитетах ВОЛЯ народа уже не котируется, что народного мэра избрать нельзя, есть небольшая кучка депутатов, которая сама решит - кого сделать мэром, но я считаю, что мэр должен избираться народом, а не парочкой предвзятых - приезжих человек, которые город-то толком не знают, поэтому я желаю успехов всем людям, которые помогают создать в России - открытое общество! Извините, что не на английском пишу, в нем не силен, с уважением Юрий:)

Проблема в том, что Вы работаете на основе своего американского менталитета и учите ему наших либералов, но в России он не пройдет. Есть такая поговорка, "Не лезь со своим уставом в чужой монастырь". Нужен наглядный пример, тогда получится.

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