The right of socially-oriented NGOs to state support

The Russian Duma in its final reading has approved the bill introduced by the president on changes to individual legislation in Russia on support for socially-oriented NGOs.  According to the parliamentary authority, socially-oriented organisations will be legally instituted that will receive state financial aid as well as information and consultative aid.  Experts believe that about 200 000 voluntary organisations will be affected by the bill.  State corporations, state companies and political parties will be categorically excluded from the register of organisations receiving state aid.  Religious organisations were blacklisted in the initial draft of the bill, but in the course of debate an amendment was introduced allowing them to claim the title of socially-oriented.  At the same time the types of activity of socially-oriented NGOs detailed in this law can be extended by federal laws and other legislation.

Oleg Smolin, vice-president of the All-Russian Society for the Blind has an ambivalent attitude to the approved legislation. In his opinion, on the one hand aid will go to those organisations who are loyal to the acting authority, while on the other hand the budgetary resources will help many NGOs, particularly those assisting the disabled or involved in education.

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