45 Percent of Budget for Presidential NGO Grants to be Allocated to Assist Victims of the Financial
ASI was told of the above by Maria Slobodskaya, chair of the committee of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation that deals with the development of civil society, at a press conference held on the premises of the ‘Izvestia’ newspaper.
Those in mind as being in need of help are the less well off and socially vulnerable who are suffering as a result of the global financial crisis. The organisers of the competition decided to give priority financing to programmes designed to help those who had lost their employment as well as graduates and school leavers who had not obtained work. Ms Slobodskaya said, in reply to journalists who questioned the expediency of such an allocation of resources, that it was not for civil society to act as a mere bystander when people were in trouble.
The chief executive of the civil defender’s movement Soprotivlenie (Resistance), Olga Kostina, referring to the experience of developed countries, said: ‘Massive responsibility for practically all spheres of state activity has been shifted onto NGOs.’ ‘This is their place in the state structure’, she emphasised. Altogether, according to Ms Slobodskaya, there were around 5,000 applications to enter the president’s competition for grants to be made to NGOs taking part in the development of civil society. Financial support was awarded to over 700 projects, the size of the grants varying from 77,000 to 23, 000,000 roubles. The total budget at Mr Medvedev’s disposal this year came to 1.2 billion roubles.
The president appointed the following organisations to deal with making the financial allocations from the federal budget: Avtonomia (Autonomy) a non-commercial institute for social planning, regarding projects relating to social research and monitoring the state of civil society; the National Charitable Foundation regarding projects relating to support for the least affluent and socially vulnerable, promotion of a healthy way of life, prevention of disease and environmental protection; the ‘State Club’ a foundation for creating a pool of skilled workers, regarding projects relating to the support of youth initiatives, and youth movements and organisations; the regional voluntary organisation, the Civil Society Affairs Institute, regarding projects relating to education, crafts, culture and voluntary sector management skills; and Soprotivlenie, regarding projects relating to the protection of civil rights and legal education for the public.
The results of the competition were known on 3 September according to Ms Slobodskaya. She promised that the lists of grant recipients would be posted on the websites of the organisers and on that belonging to the Public Chamber by 7 September. It was proposed subsequently to let the public know how effective the projects had proved to be.