The Activity of American Non-Governmental Organisations in the Post-Soviet States during the 1990s

Valery Yungblud, Artem Zboev

Abstract


Non-governmental human rights organisations play an increasingly important role in the modern world. One of the most famous of them is the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) established in the United States in 1983. This article considers the activity of the NED in the post-Soviet countries during the first decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The author aims to identify the main directions, methods, and patterns of the work of the Endowment. The research is based on annual financial reports of the NED, which provide information on the money received by the fund from US government agencies, and other contributors, and the directions in which the funds are spent. These reports also comment on the development of the democratic process in the states where the NED carries out its projects. The comparison of the amounts allocated to certain countries demonstrates how the priorities of the NED changed, and what problems were given more attention. In the 1990s, the NED paid special attention to the countries of the former Soviet Union, regarding them as promising, but also posing risks to the development of the democratic process in the world. The financing of various democratic and human rights groups in these countries gradually increased: in 2000, the amount allocated to them was almost twice as high as in 1991, with Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus being the most important post-Soviet countries for the NED. It financed several dozens of organisations in them, and the range of its activities in these countries was the most extensive. It is noteworthy that in Russia, the NED actively supported various historical projects aimed at revising Soviet history. After the euphoria of the early 1990s, the NED analytics admitted that the development of the democratic process in many countries of the former USSR faced economic and political difficulties. They stated that in some countries (Belarus, and from 2000, Russia), authoritarian tendencies began to increase, with cases of human rights violations becoming more frequent. As a result, the activity of the NED in the post-Soviet space did not bear fruit everywhere, but increased the hostility of the official authorities towards foreign non-governmental organisations.


Keywords


non-governmental organisations; National Endowment for Democracy (NED); post-Soviet space; liberal world order; US foreign policy

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15826/qr.2018.1.294

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