Presidential Administration plans changes to grants to NGOs
The presidential administration is conceptually reforming the system by which presidential grants are awarded to not-for-profit organisations, reports Kommersant. Sergei Kirienko, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration of Russia, is leading the project. The administration has not yet commented on the substance of the reforms, highlighting that the development process has not been fully completed.
A group of human rights defenders consider that the reform of the system might lead to the creation of a single operator for presidential grants. Mikhail Fedotov, Chairman of the Russian Presidential Council on the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights (CHR), believes that it is essential not to reduce the number of operators, but rather to increase it. “Separate initiatives could be created to support independent media, or to share the presidential grants for environmental project, or the immortalisation of the memory of victims of political repression,” the publication reports.
Four rounds of presidential grant competitions took place in 2016: the president ordered the distribution of 4,589,914,800 roubles from the Federal Budget for not-for-profit organisations carrying out social projects and projects for human rights and civic freedoms. Nine operators were responsible for the distribution of the grants. All the operators were obliged to develop a framework to evaluate the social effect achieved by the projects supported.
In December 2016, Kirienko held his first meeting with CHR members. One of its most important themes was the status of not-for-profit organisations on the foreign agents registry.