Russian Aid (II)

U.S. aid to Russia should promote U.S. foreign policy interests and help the Russians help themselves.

Issue: Spring 1995

Amid the post-election scramble to see who can cut the most from the federal budget, foreign aid has become a prime target. "We ought not to be funding anything abroad that we would feel uncomfortable funding [in the United States]," said Senator Mitch McConnell last December, echoing the sentiment of many on Capitol Hill. In particular, aid to Russia is being reconsidered in light of the brutal and costly handling of the Chechen crisis, growing strains in relations between the United States and Russia, and uncertainty about the future of Russian political and economic reform.

Such a reconsideration would merely accelerate trends already at work. First, the amount of aid is shrinking, as Charles Flickner noted in the last issue of this magazine. Assistance for the Newly Independent States (NIS) collectively has fallen from $2.5 billion in the 1994 budget to $850 million in 1995.1 For next year, the figure is expected to be around $800 million.

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