‘More pro-democracy aid to Russia’: Bildt

'More pro-democracy aid to Russia': Bildt
Sweden is mulling a resumption of its aid programme in support of democratic forces in Russia.

Foreign Minister Carl Bildt spoke on Tuesday of a probable return to Sweden’s former aid policy when informing the parliament of the outcome of the EU’s summit meeting on the Georgian crisis.

Social Democrat politician Kent Härstedt has criticized the government for speeding up the removal of aid resources to “independent journalists”, non-governmental organizations and other groups striving to improve the development of democratic rights in Russia. Härstedt said the withdrawal of funding had come at a time when it was most needed.

But Bildt later told reporters that the government was planning in its next budget to earmark funds for the democracy movement in Russia.

Härstedt said he was glad the government had “listened to the criticism”.

“It’s a victory for the voices of reason,” he said in a statement.