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Financier funds Russian Net development

Financier and philanthropist George Soros has announced he will finance a new project to advance the development of the Internet in Russia. The $1.5 million investment is intended to extend Net access beyond that country's major cities.

Financier and philanthropist George Soros has announced he will finance a new project to advance the development of the Internet in Russia.

The project is part of Soros's continuing effort to support the concept of an open society in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere throughout the world via his various organizations, including the Open Society Institute and the International Science Foundation.

The ISF has already invested $800 million in telecommunications systems to provide Russian research and academic communities in Moscow, Novosibirsk, and Yaroslavl (Russia) and in Kiev (Ukraine) with Net access. The $1.5 million investment is intended to extend Net access beyond Russia's major cities.

At a press conference in Moscow today, Soros said his 1996 philanthropic budget for Russia is $22 million.