500 applications for presidential grants

year 2.32 billlion roubles are to be distributed amongst third sector
organisations. Six lead organisations have received the applications: the Civil
Society Issues Institute, the Institute for Socio-Economic and Political
Research, the Russian Youth Union, the National Charitable Foundation, the
National League of Health and Znanie (Knowledge). In the interests of
transparency, the Public Chamber has created a site containing all the
applications. Many more applications have been received than has been the case
in previous years. Amongst them are ones from NGOs which the public prosecutor
has accused of breaking the law on foreign agents.


exact number of the applications is not as yet known. The above organisations
are working through the massive number received. Amongst others, the Levada
Centre, the civil rights centre, Memorial, the national movement, Human Rights,
the inter-regional association of organisations of civil rights defenders,
Agora, the Moscow Helsinki Group, the Centre for Civil Analysis and Independent
Research, GRANI, and the Movement for the Defence of Electors’ Rights, Golos
(Vote).The head of Human Rights, Lev Ponomarev, said that continuation of the
civil ombudsman project featured in its grant application. He rated the
chances  of the civil rights defenders
receiving financial aid from the state positively, stressing, according to
Kommersant (a newspaper) that ‘if the state gives society.’


head of the Civil Society Issues Institute, Maria Slobodskaya, told ASI that
over 500 applications had been received on the closing date. She went on to

 ‘The applications are more numerous than last
year since the grants have significantly increased in value. People have been
motivated to apply. The number has also increased because some organisations
had been receiving finance from abroad and had not previously applied for
grant. On the closing date we received over 500 applications. Each one has to
be examined to see whether the correct documentation has been included to
comply with the conditions of entry. At the same time where this is not the
case we telephone the organisations to give them a chance to repair any errors.
A committee will approve a list of those admitted to the competition and then
the substance of the entries will be considered by specialists.’


Slobodskaya said that many organisations had submitted applications to more
than one of the lead organisation at the same time. ‘This year I have seen
something interesting. People have been submitting the same applications with
minimal variations to all the lead organisations. They are very numerous. Some
NGOs have also applied for the Ministry of Economic Development’s competition.
Now we need to find a way of avoiding double financing including both the
ministry and the lead operators of this competition’. She pointed out that
applications had come from certain civil rights defence organisations that had
formerly been financed solely from abroad and emphasised that:

have included migration and human rights in the scope of the competition. We
are interested in projected activities not current ones. That consideration is
relevant to all the applications including those that are concerned with the
defence of civil rights. This is a key issue and a major criterion’, she
stressed, adding that ‘a good project is a great rarity’.


of the applying organisations is Golos. It is seeking 14 million roubles for a
project aimed at increasing voter confidence in elections. The co-chair of
Golos’ council, Grigory Melkonyants told Kommersant that if Golos does receive
aid, it will demonstrate that the recent woes of the third sector were related
to foreign financing. ‘But,’ he said,’ it may show the opposite – namely, that
independent organisations which gain influence with the public are a source of
irritation. I hope that the first interpretation is true so that we can get rid
of the tensions that tend to arise at times’. Ms Slobodskaya considered that it
was very important to improve the electoral process, stressing that: ‘There
needs to be wide public participation. Such is my personal opinion.’



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