State Support for NGOs
The chairperson (M. Slobodskaya) of the Civil Society Committee of the Public Chamber expects that Russian NGOs will be able to obtain grants as early as November.
Applications would be received during September and October and they would be subsequently assessed. V. Putin recently signed an order to make available about 1 billion 245 million roubles from the federal budget for the state support of NGOs contributing to the development of civil society.
The committees to be established for competitive granting of subsidies will be made up by representatives of the Public Chamber and the government as well as independent experts. M. Slobodskaya pointed out that in 2006 a large number of human rights organisations were financed by this process, including several who were in direct opposition to the authorities. This indicated that the organisers of the competitive process had made independent assessments. In her opinion the government had developed a regular policy of supporting NGOs and their initiatives and that it had listened to the recommendations of the public concerning such financing as a result of public discussions held in 30 regions of the country. She noted that large sums had been set aside to support social care of needy citizens, youth support, human rights issues and legal information for the population.
A representative (M. Ostrovskii) from the office of the Russian president stated that the competitive awarding of grants should be open and public. In selecting people to serve on the committees there was a ban on those who were susceptible to outside pressure. He said that not more than 5% of the funds could be used by the organisations on expenses and also named several institutes and foundations responsible for the funding process. He stated that those organisations registered on Russian territory could apply for grants.