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Soros Pledges $100 Million to Charities in Ex-Soviet Republics

George Soros is pledging $100 million to charities in the former Soviet republics, eastern Europe and the Balkans to help counteract the effects of the global recession. The money will be distributed in 20 countries based on recommendations by local Soros foundations. The charities could include anything from cultural institutions at risk of closing to helping families buy lunches in schools, according to a Soros spokesperson.

The FT, which broke the story, carries this statement from Soros:

“The political risk is very severe and the rise of the chauvinistic, xenophobic far right is a disturbing development,” said Mr Soros, in a reference to the advances made by extremist parties in the recent European parliament elections, including Jobbik in Hungary, the Slovak National Party and the Greater Romania Party.

“The EU must do more in terms of providing support, including financial support. The International Monetary Fund programmes [launched in Hungary, Ukraine, Latvia and about five other countries] are very severe in terms of cutting budgets. The EU must solidify support for EU values,” said Mr Soros.