Think Tank Comes Under Fire

The Foreign Ministry has accused The Jamestown Foundation, a U.S. think tank, of spreading anti-Russian propaganda by hosting a debate on violence in Ingushetia.

The ministry said Friday that it was surprised that the United States, with whom relations have deteriorated this year, let the debate go ahead last month in Washington.

The Jamestown Foundation publishes reports on international conflicts and monitors unrest in the North Caucasus. Its weekly newsletter is largely critical of Russian policy.

The ministry said the sole aim of the Nov. 28 debate had been to misinform the U.S. public about Russian policy in the North Caucasus.

"Organizers again and again resorted to deliberately spreading slander about the situation in Chechnya and other republics of the Russian North Caucasus using the services of supporters of terrorists and pseudo experts," the ministry said. "Speakers were given carte blanche to spread extremist propaganda, incite ethnic and interreligious discord."

Jamestown Foundation president Glen Howard said Russia was trying to intimidate it. "It shows that they feel threatened by us," he said. "They're intimidated by the power of the free word, and this goes against the state manipulation of the media in Russia."

The foundation's board includes Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security adviser to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.