Russian authorities enforce British Council to suspend operations in two cities

By Alexa Steblinina. The chief executive of the British Council said Thursday he was suspending operations in St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg because Russian authorities had made it impossible to carry on.

British council is suspending its operations in St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg, the organization’s chief executive said, the AP reports.

The decision was made because Russian authorities had made it impossible to carry on.

Council employers were harassed by Russian security officers, Martin Davidson told reporters in London .

The British Council was accused of violating an international convention on consular affairs and so of operating illegally, reported earlier.

Previous Russian complaints about the British Council focused on tax and legalistic issues, but were seen by many as reflecting growing tension between London and Moscow as well as Russian suspicion that Western NGOs aim to stir up discontent.

The British Council is one of the non-ministerial Departments of the United Kingdom Government which specialises in educational opportunities. It is a non-departmental public body, a public corporation incorporated by royal charter, and is registered as a charity in England . Founded in 1934, one of its patrons is Queen Elizabeth II and its Chair is Lord Kinnock, the former leader of the UK Labour Party. Its 'sponsoring department' is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, although it has day-to-day operational independence. Martin Davidson is its Chief Executive, appointed in April 2007.

Photo: AP

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