Russia must cut ALL aid to other countries and focus only on welfare of own people, influential right-wing leader says
In the face of natural disasters and refugee crises abroad, Russians should harden their hearts and tighten their purse strings rather than hand out aid, said the leader of the country’s most influential right-wing party.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who heads the nationalist LDPR bloc, Russia’s third largest parliament, told radio listeners on Monday that offering aid to foreign countries made people poorer at home. “Never, under any circumstances, should we provide assistance to anyone”, he said in an interview with Moscow-based Komsomolskaya Pravda station.
“We give everything to everyone”, he claimed, “And then look how our people, millions and millions of them, live on a dime.”
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Zhirinovsky said that no circumstance should be taken as a pretext for providing humanitarian aid. “If there is an earthquake, a flood or a war – never, not to anyone,” he added.
The MP, whose party holds the third-highest number of seats in the country’s parliament after ruling United Russia and the Communists, also lambasted past decisions to cancel loans to developing countries.
While the Russian state’s loan budget is classified, the World Bank reports that Moscow has pledged nearly $ 900 million to an international development fund since 2007, as well as $ 279 million for projects to support l education and business development in developing countries. The country has also offered more than $ 400 million to tackle emerging health issues such as HIV / AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. War-torn Syria has also been a major recipient of funds.
However, a study by the European Parliament found that Russia lags behind world leaders in foreign aid spending like Kuwait, Luxembourg and Sweden, but ranks at a level comparable to others. “Emerging donors”, like China.
In recent months, Russia has been a key supplier of vaccines to developing countries, offering Sputnik V at a comparatively low unit cost. At the same time, he donated thousands of doses to countries like Vietnam. A recent New York Times analysis found that alongside AstraZeneca’s formula, the Moscow-made jab was being used by a number of poorer countries, including Pakistan and Guinea.
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