Putin signs order on grants competition for NGOs
The Russian President has signed an Order that supports NGOs involved in work that promotes civil society institutions.
The Order has been published on the Government’s official legal information website and “Provides the Fund Operator of the Presidential Grants’ Scheme on promoting civil society with subsidies totalling 4,320,000,000 roubles allocated from the Federal budget to be distributed to NGOs that promote civil society and implement socially important projects and those that promote human rights and freedoms”.
The Order states that two Grants’ competitions will take place during 2017. They are to be run by the Fund Operator and a Coordinating Committee which will be responsible, in particular, for coming up with a process for “assessing the social impact of approved socially important projects and those that advance the cause of human rights and freedoms”.
According to the Russian news agency TASS, the head of the Coordinating Committee is Sergey Kirienko, First Deputy Head of the Russian President’s Office, with Ilya Chukalin the Fund Operator’s Director-General. The latter as the sole Presidential Grants’ administrator can raise extra funds for distribution among NGOs in addition to resources allocated from the Federal budget, Chukalin told the agency. He also stressed that this mechanism was unlikely to be used in the first contest. For now, it’s about coming up with a grants’ policy for which Kirienko is responsible, said Chukalin.
“Consequently, all the main conceptual issues involved in running Presidential Grants’ competitions will be decided through a new structure that will involve wide public representation. It seems to me that instead of raising extra funds, the Fund Operator could co-finance projects with, for example, the use of private funds. If a project is guaranteed support from another source in which, say, a business or a local community has an interest, then this would enhance the chances of a successful conclusion to the project and reduce the element of risk”, said Chukalin as reported by TASS.
According to Chukalin, expert councils will be formed to distribute grants for 12 NGO support areas agreed by the Russian President and a joint council of experts. The latter will evaluate the expert opinion on projects received in each category and then submit a list of proposed winners to the Coordinating Committee which will make the final decisions on how the grants are awarded.
According to Chukalin, the competition organisers will simplify the application procedure for NGOs. In particular, the list of essential documents will be reduced and the requirement to submit duplicate paper copies and separate electronic format will be waived.
Changes in the Presidential Grants’ competition are a result of a conceptual reform which was announced at the start of the year, in particular with the creation of a single Grant operator, and was brought about through the Russian President’s official oversight of public projects.
Four Grants’ competitions were held during 2016 with 4,589,914,800 roubles set aside from the Federal budget for socially important NGO projects and those promoting human rights and freedoms. Nine operators were responsible for allocating grants. All operators were required to introduce a process for assessing the social impact of projects that received financial support.