Peace Corps cancels program in Russia

The US Peace Corps program has canceled plans to send a new tranche ofvolunteers to Russia this year because the government is refusing withoutexplanation to issue entry visas, the program's acting director for thecountry reported. Russia also has refused to extend the visas of about halfthe Peace Corps workers already in the country, said Jeff Hay.The Peace Corps, which has had volunteers in Russia since 1992, had plannedto send 62 new volunteers for two-year stints this fall, but has abandonedthe plans, Hay said. "I think it's bureaucratic, but I'm not sure it'sinefficiency," Hay said. He noted that over the past year a number ofnewspaper articles had criticized Peace Corps workers as unqualified fortheir duties - primarily teaching English - and called the criticism"outrageous."The Peace Corps was founded by the US government in 1961 to help poor anddeveloping countries improve education, health and agriculture and topromote better relations between the United States and countries that wereoften suspicious of its intentions, the Russia Journal reported..

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