George Soros’s Romanian Ghosts

How the Open Society Foundations’ NGO network tries to influence politics in Eastern Europe

Crossposted from Capital Research Center

Liberal billionaire George Soros has consistently funded left-wing movements and organizations in the United States, including Occupy Wall StreetBlack Lives Matter, and the communist-connected Color of Change. But the billionaire’s goals have always been bigger than one country. In fact, in 2017, the U.S. only received 15 percent of his Open Society Foundations’ (OSF) dedicated funding—the rest went to foreign countries and global projects.

Soros has given particular focus to exporting political unrest to the former communist countries of Eastern Europe, including his native Hungary. In fewer than 25 years, OSF has poured $1.6 billion into the region for “democratic development.”

But why would the organization spend such a sum on countries that are already democratic?

Soros’s motto, “If I spend enough, I will make it right,” provides an answer, as well as insight into his philanthropic activity, almost all of which entails political—not humanitarian—ends.

During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Soros spent at least $25 million supporting Hilary Clinton and other Democratic candidates. But when all that spending didn’t “make it [the election] right,” Soros declared in an op-ed, “Democracy is now in crisis.”

Apparently, Soros’ definition of democracy means people electing only candidates of whom he approves.

In the op-ed, Soros lamented that the U.S. under President Donald Trump will become so embroiled in internal fighting and trying to protect its own minorities from violent attacks that “it will be unable to… promote democracy in the rest of the world.”

For Soros, however, democracy abroad—as in the U.S.—isn’t free if it doesn’t follow his ideology.

Uncle Sam joins Team Soros

The U.S. State Department often teamed up with Soros and OSF to “promote democracy” in Eastern European countries. This often consisted of targeting nationalist governments by infusing socially liberal propaganda through NGOs and Western-sponsored media—often going so far as to influence those countries’ elections.

One example is the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s reported meddling in Macedonia’s elections in 2016. According to USAID’s website, between February 27, 2012 and August 31, 2016, the agency gave $4,819,125 to Open Society Foundations – Macedonia. In April, the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against the State Department and USAID, for failing to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records and communications dealing with the funding and political activities of OSF’s Macedonian arm. Judicial Watch reported that with the help of then-President Barack Obama’s U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia, Jess L. Baily, the U.S. government spent “millions of taxpayer dollars to destabilize the democratically elected, center-right government in Macedonia by colluding” with Soros.

One NGO funded by the USAID-Soros alliance paid for the translation into Macedonian of far-left activist Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, which CRC Vice President Matthew Vadum calls “the seminal book for community organizers.” A Macedonian government official even referred to the American-funded activists as the “Soros infantry.”

In a 2006 Organization Trends detailing leftist NGOs’ influence in Romania, Neil Maghami observed that “in a sense NGOs are filling a power vacuum left by the collapse of the Soviet Union.” Many of these NGOs are funded by Western philanthropists like Soros, “whose dreams of leftist solidarity … die hard,” work to thwart investment from Western capitalists, while infusing their host countries with liberal social values.

The West has cause to celebrate the 28th anniversary of the end of communism in Eastern Europe. Western investors, business people, and consumers enjoy increased living standards in no small part because Eastern Europe embraced economic freedom. But while many Westerners took advantage of the economic opportunities that the economic opening brought, others, including Soros, saw an opportunity to wield enormous political influence in the region.

In Part II, we’ll look specifically at how Soros has infiltrated Romania since the fall of communism and how OSF’s progeny dominates much of the political discourse in that country.

Vladimir Putin Opposes U.S. Fracking Because It Threatens Russia’s Oil & Gas Exports

Image via Oil and Gas People, goo.gl/V2c1Yz

Image via Oil and Gas People, goo.gl/V2c1Yz

Russian connections to anti-fracking activism in the United States underscore Russian President Vladimir Putin’s dedication to keeping Eastern Europe dependent on the oil and natural gas which flows from its state-owned energy giant, Gazprom. Russia has successfully stopped fracking efforts in Eastern Europe through phony environmentalist and media campaigns, and is now attempting to disrupt the surge in American natural gas production that is quickly bringing the U.S. into energy independence, and creating threatening unwanted competition for the Russian energy in Europe.

 

Exports from the U.S. via the oil and natural gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking” – poses a clear danger not only to Gazprom, but to the Russian government. One quarter of the regime’s revenues come from taxes paid by the energy giant, in which the government is a majority stakeholder. It is not surprising, then, that Gazprom is the only major energy company in the world to oppose the development of shale gas. For years its executives have claimed that fracking poses severe environmental risks; Alexander Medvedev, Gazprom’s executive chairman and head of Gazprom Export, has vowed that the Russian state and Gazprom are ready “to wage [ ] war on shale.”

While many former Soviet bloc countries in Eastern Europe have joined NATO and the European Union in an attempt to distance themselves from their Moscow, their overwhelming dependence on Russian energy imports has prevented them from achieving complete independence. Gazprom supplies 30 percent of the European Union’s natural gas, and during a 2009 dispute with Ukraine showed the world that it can make Europe shiver if it turns the spigots off.

European Union nations have repeatedly attempted to find ways to diversify their energy resources, but the powerful environmentalist factions in many countries have lobbied against increased oil and gas imports from the United States and elsewhere. Innocently or no, these groups have played into the hands of Gazprom. After Germans protested in an emotional meltdown when a 2011 tsunami disabled the power supply of three Japanese nuclear reactors, German Chancellor Angela Merkel did an about-face on nuclear energy. With the support of 80 percent of the Bundestag, or German parliament, she decided to phase out nuclear power in that country by 2022. This prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to jokingly tell the Germans:

I don’t understand how you will heat your houses. You don’t want the gas. You don’t develop nuclear energy. Are you going to heat with firewood? You also have to go to Siberia if you need firewood.

 

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