Petition for continued state subsidies for SONGOs
Moscow 8 March 2015
NGOs are collecting signatures on a petition to the president of the Russian Federation (RF) for the maintenance of state subsidies
Socially oriented NGOs (SONGOs) have written an open letter to Vladimir Putin about the reduction in the state support programme for SONGOs. The petition may be signed on Change.org.
The hyperlink to the site is: Подписать петицию (sign the petition)
Draft amendments to the federal budget prepared by the ministry of finance of the RF provide for the financial support programme for SONGOs to be reduced by over 960 million roubles overall. It is proposed that subsidies to the regions in particular and subsidies to the NGOs for implementing programmes for helping SONGOs by providing information, consultancy services and methodological help for their operations should be eliminated.
Over 80 SONGOs have sent an open letter President Putin, asking him not to allow the withdrawal of the financing of the non-commercial sector through the state aid programme which has been successfully implemented by the federal ministry of economic development. The NGOs’ petition states: ‘This (the proposal) contradicts the declared aim of supporting the non-commercial sector in the country and threatens not only the work of thousands of NGOs but also the quality of life of those who are helped by their activities, which, given the crisis, will have a particularly detrimental effect on each of them. Withdrawing finance from the programme will damage Russia’s social sector irreparably.’
While the programme has been running the results have been impressive. According to Russia’s national statistics office, Rosstat, the number of SONGOs has increased by 16.5% to 113,000, the number of volunteers by 36% to 1.3 million, and the total number of people working in SONGOs by 40.7% to 636,000. The number of administrative areas implementing the programme grew from 7 in 2010 to 74 in 2015 whilst the amount of
extra-budgetary financing added over 60% to the subsidy allocated from the federal budget.
The petition makes the point that: ‘Abolition of the subsidies in the circumstances of the crisis will lead to a worsening in the position of socially vulnerable citizens, and loss of access to a range of unique and needed services as well as directly contradicting Presidential Order No 597 of 7 May 2012, which contemplated an increase in support for SONGOs, and the president’s Message to the Federal Assembly of the RF in 2014 envisaging continuation of such support’.
SONGOs which have signed the appeal invite citizens and colleagues to support the petition. Individuals may sign the petition using the form supplied by Change org. NGOs wishing to do so may leave their particulars (full legal title of the organisation, full name of chief executive, town and region) in the comments section accompanying the petition. They will be added to the number of signatories, say the authors of the petition.