Russia: Council on Guardianship in the Social Sphere surveys 2020

Support measures for CSOs, abuses in psycho-neurological residential institutions (PNRIs) and care for orphans: The Russian Federation’s Council on Guardianship in the Social Sphere looks back at 2020


On 30 December, the ninth meeting of the Federation’s Council on Guardianship in the Social Sphere took place online.


Much of the Council’s work has been on agreeing measures to support not-for-profit organisations, said Tatyana Golikova, Chair of the Russian State Council for Social Welfare and Deputy Chair of the Russian government.

The recent decision of 11 December which sets out a range of measures to ensure gradual CSO access to State funds for providing social services will involve 146,000 SONGOs up until 2024.

The meeting also highlighted a separate range of measures that have been introduced to support CSOs during the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is an unprecedented support package which will enable many CSOs not only to survive but also to continue working and so provide help to many of our citizens. We have submitted a proposal to government to extend some of these measures as many organisations are still struggling at a time when expectations from the public for their help continue to grow”, said Elena Topoleva, the Council’s Deputy Chair and Director of ASI.

Topoleva added that, according to the Research Centre for the Study of Civil Society and the Non-Profit Sector at the Higher School of Economics, during the first wave of the pandemic one third of Russians expected help to be provided by CSOs and half of them by volunteers.

Similar proposals have also been sent by the All-Russian People’s Front, the Association of Volunteer Centres and the “Everyone Together” Association. Topoleva asked that early consideration be given to these suggestions.


At the request of the Council of the Russian Agency for Health and Consumer Affairs, federal agencies, including the Russian Health Monitoring Service, continued their programme of random PNRI inspections during the year. In all, 192 residences including 46 children’s institutions were checked: breaches of hygiene legislation were detected in 91% of these. A total of 738 offences were reported for which 149 Orders were issued and will be implemented by the Council, said Golikova.

Anna Bitova, a Council member and Chair of Childhood is Special at the Centre for Curative Pedagogics, told the meeting that those living in childrens’ and adult orphanages are currently only able to see volunteers based in Moscow and St Petersburg.

“The fact that volunteers have no access to PNRIs in the rest of the country is of great concern to us because of the detrimental effect this has on the mental wellbeing of those in residential institutions. We have just one request, namely clarification as to whether those who have already been vaccinated, or volunteers who are willing to be vaccinated quickly, can be allowed into PNRIs – or those who, like me, have been ill and have antibodies. I’m not able to see my charges and that’s not right!”, said Anna. Golikova said that the Council would ask the Chief Hygiene Officer how best to organise this.


Eighty-four per cent of orphanages now have a supervisor responsible for looking after their charges which, said Golikova, will make it possible to react faster to problems by providing organisations with Personal Protective Equipment for foster children and staff in good time and in the transfer of children into temporary homes. According to the regions, a total of 6,540 orphans were placed with families between April and October this year.

People with disabilities

The issue of joint hospitalisation of disabled children, children receiving palliative care and adults with mental disabilities with their parents has not been resolved everywhere, said Elena Klochko, a Council member and Chair of the VIROD Council, adding that this was still a work in progress.

Children with disabilities have been severely affected by distance learning in terms of their general education. In order to address this issue, proposals for federal legislation have been submitted to the Ministry of Education to provide a special education environment for these children during 2021.

The meeting also discussed issues related to care for the elderly, remote learning and the wellbeing of teenagers and teachers, together with plans currently being considered by the Ministries of Health, Labour and Education.

The minutes of the meeting will be posted on the Council’s website (

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