A third of Russians think NGOs are not needed

Moscow, 15 August 2014

Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (RPORS); one third of Russians think that NGOs are not needed


The RPORS has been studying how important Russians consider NGOs to be for their country and how their relations with the state might best be shaped. Nearly 60% could not name one NGO.

Over the past seven years the proportion of Russians taking a view on the activities of NGOs has grown significantly, according to RPORS. Over half of those questioned thought that they protect citizens’ rights (56% as against 35% in 2007) help to resolve acute social problems (55% as against 31% in 2007) and facilitate the emergence of social initiatives. Those taking part in the survey also commented that NGOs are independent watchdogs in relation to the activities of state bodies.

However, the number of respondents convinced that NGOs are created solely for the personal benefit of their executives has increased from 25% in 2007 to 40%, whilst  39% of participants state that the organisations help only their staff.

Nearly half of the respondents thought that government agencies should help NGOs to publicise information about themselves over the internet. A third supported state financing for them, whilst a fifth proposed refusing them state help. 40% were inclined to think that NGOS had no influence over the lives of the majority of citizens, with almost as many disagreeing. A third of those questioned were convinced that NGOs were completely unnecessary and that the state should do their work; 41% took the contrary view.

Almost 60% could not recall one NGO that was well known to them. The one most frequently mentioned was Greenpeace. Respondents could also think of Give Life, the Association of the Committees of Mothers of Soldiers of Russia, the Red Cross, the National Society of People with Disabilities, the Federal Public Chamber, and the Fund for Aid to Veterans and Disabled of the war in Afghanistan.  Sometimes respondents named political parties as NGOs; foremost amongst these being United Russia.

The survey was conducted from 5-6 July 2014.1600 people were questioned in 130 population centres across 42 regions.

Author: Darya Shapovalova


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