Russia urges U.S. govermentt to distance itself from media reports on Culture Center's activities
Moscow is calling on Washington to publicly distance itself from U.S. media reports regarding activities of the Russian Science and Culture Center in Washington.
"We believe that the aforementioned media reports and U.S. authorities' actions are unfriendly in nature and are aimed at deteriorating the situation in the area of development of international humanitarian cooperation," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
"We expect that the United States will reaffirm its commitment to consistent joint work in this area in its further comments. The U.S. authorities should unambiguously and publicly distance themselves from malicious attempts to cast a shadow on the activities of the Russian Science and Culture Center in Washington," it said.
"Moscow was perplexed to see U.S. media reports on the activities of the Russian Science and Culture Center in Washington. The fabrications contained in them have nothing in common with reality," it said.
The Russian Science and Culture Center, which is a subdivision of the Russian federal agency for the CIS, compatriots living abroad and international humanitarian cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo), is engaged in familiarizing the U.S. public with modern developments in Russia and its rich traditions and culture and in promoting mutual understanding and expanding contacts between members of the Russian and U.S. civil society, it said.
Since 2011, Rossotrudnichestvo has pursued a program of short-term familiarization trips to Russia for young members of foreign political, social, scientific and business communities, the Foreign Ministry said.
Over 1,000 people from more than 50 countries, including the U.S., have visited Russia under this program in the past three years, it said.
"Russia presumes that all this fully meets the goals that have been repeatedly formulated, including at the top political level, in the area of cultural-humanitarian exchanges and improvement of contacts between people," it said.
A number of U.S. media, including the electronic versions of the Washington Post and Mother Jones magazine, reported on Wednesday (the former referring to unnamed U.S. law enforcement officials) that U.S. special services suspect Yury Zaitsev, a representative of the Rossotrudnichestvo in Washington, of facilitating the recruitment of U.S. citizens by Russian special services.