By Julian Pecquet - 09/18/12 05:30 PM EDT
The Kremlin is ending the U.S. Agency for International Development's activities in Russia, the State Department announced Tuesday.
The decision follows longtime criticism by President Vladimir Putin of U.S. efforts to foster democracy and human rights in Russia.
Putin blamed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for inciting protests against flawed parliamentary elections last December.
This summer he signed into law legislation requiring foreign-funded nonprofit organizations engaged in election monitoring and other political activities to register as “foreign agents.”
“While USAID’s physical presence in Russia will come to an end, we remain committed to supporting democracy, human rights, and the development of a more robust civil society in Russia and look forward to continuing our cooperation with Russian non-governmental organizations.”