MOSCOW – Russian non-government organizations have urged President Vladimir Putin to prove his claim that the nation's NGOs had received nearly $1 billion from foreign sponsors.
Putin has made the claim to justify the sweeping raids of hundreds of Russian NGOs that has drawn a strong criticism in the West.
Putin insisted that the raids are necessary to check compliance with a new law that requires the NGOs that receive foreign funding and engage in loosely defined political activities to register as "foreign agents."
Putin claimed that Russian NGOs had received $1 billion from abroad, and that the public has the right to know who funded them. Top NGOs dismissed the claim Thursday, saying the sum looks inflated and urging Putin to document it.