German foundation expelled from Russia says will continue democracy work

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz holds a news conference after meeting with the heads of the country's 16 federal states to discuss Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Berlin Germany April 7, 2022. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo

BERLIN, April 11 (Reuters) - Germany's Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the political foundation linked to Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Social Democrat party, said that it will seek to promote democracy in Russia even though it has been barred from working in the country.

Russia's justice ministry said on Friday it had revoked the registration of 15 foreign organisations, nine of which were German. read more

"The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung believes in dialogue within and between societies if we want to live in peace in Europe," the foundation, which focuses on promoting democracy and social programmes, said in a statement.

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"With the withdrawal of registration by the (Russian) Ministry of Justice, we cannot continue our work in Russia, but the work on Russia will continue," it added.

The Russian justice ministry's cancelled registrations also affect the Heinrich Boell Stiftung, affiliated with the Greens party of German Economy Minister Robert Habeck and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, and the Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung, close to German Finance Minister Christian Lindner's Free Democrats.

The Heinrich Boell Stiftung said in a statement published on Friday that it deeply regretted what it said was a "further escalation" by the Russian leadership and said it had taken measures to protect its staff and partners from prosecution.

The leadership of the Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung said over the weekend: "The new wave of expulsions of civil society organisations is another step from authoritarianism to totalitarianism."

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Reporting by Maria Sheahan; editing by Barbara Lewis

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