Russia on Wednesday accused the U.S. of trying to force out President Vladimir Putin by financing political opponents and encouraging mass demonstrations. In an emailed statement, the chief of the Russian security council said the U.S. has funded Russian political groups to create scenarios akin to the “color revolutions” across the former Soviet Union. Nikolai Patruschev also accused the U.S. of using sanctions to inflame tensions in Russia and encourage protests against the government. “It’s clear that the White House has been counting on a sharp deterioration in Russians’ standard of living, mass protests,” Patruschev said. This week, 50,000 Russians hit the streets to protest the murder of leading Putin opponent Boris Nemtsov, who was gunned down outside of the Kremlin by unknown men last Friday.