Learning English - Words in the News
26 December, 2007 - Published 14:04 GMT
Russia orders British Council closures
Russian government has ordered the British Council to close down virtually its entire operation in Russia by January the first. It's accused the British Council of operating illegally - a charge the Council denies. This report from Richard Galpin:
A spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry said all fifteen regional offices of the British Council would have to suspend their activities from next month. These include the new office in St Petersburg opened by Tony Blair last year. Only the headquarters in Moscow will be allowed to continue operating.
The Russian government has given a whole raft of reasons, including that the British Council has no legal basis for its work in the country and that it has violated tax laws. But the Council says it's fully compliant with all tax requirements and says it operates in Russia on the basis of an agreement signed in the 1990s.
It seems the real reason for this action is Russia's continuing anger at the expulsion of its diplomats from London last July over the Litvinenko affair. Now relations between Moscow and London are about to take yet another turn for the worse.
Richard Galpin, BBC, Moscow
whole raft of
take yet another turn
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