Russian security service chief urges clear rules on NGOs in ex-Soviet republics

The Associated Press
05/20/05 17:14 EDT

ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AP) - The head of Russia's security service called
Friday for clear rules non-governmental organizations' activities in
former Soviet republics, days after he accused foreign intelligence
services of using NGOs to spy on Russia and foment political upheaval
in the region.

Federal Security Service chief Nikolai Patrushev told a meeting of
top security and intelligence officials from the Commonwealth of
Independent States - a loose grouping of 12 ex-Soviet republics -
that legislation in the CIS member-states "must not allow NGOs to do
whatever they want."

Patrushev, whose agency is the main successor of the Soviet KGB,
said that NGOs are useful and should be supported but repeated his
allegation that some are used to gather "intelligence information."
He said Russian intelligence agencies will continue to counter the
practice.

Last week, Patrushev said Russia had put a stop to espionage operations
he said were carried out through foreign organizations included the
U.S. Peace Corps, the British medical charity Merlin, the Saudi Red
Crescent and a Kuwaiti group.

He also reiterated claims by Russian officials who have accused the
United States and other Western nations of using government-funded
organizations to aid opposition forces that have brought down
governments in other CIS members states in the past two years.

On Friday, Patrushev presided over a meeting of a CIS group that brings
together the leaders of the security and intelligence services of
Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Moldova, Tajikistan and Ukraine. Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have
observer status.

Officials from the group signed a protocol on the creation of
a unified database containing fingerprints of people accused of
terrorism. Patrushev called the initiative "a very important decision
in the fight against terrorism."