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04 december, 2014

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Civic Chamber presented annual track record of Russia’s civil society

Civic Chamber presented annual track record of Russia’s civil society

On November 28, the final day of its plenary session, the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation presented its annual report on the State of Civil Society – the prime document outlining the state of civil institutions and trends of their development.

According to President of the Civic Chamber Alexander Brechalov, the report will serve as a “road map” for future work of members of the Civic Chamber and civic activists.

The report is primarily focused on the issues of non-profit sector development. Civic Chamber President Alexander Brechalov pointed out a big social demand for NGOs and civic activism in the year of 2014. Though, he believes, development of non-profit sector has been impeded by the lack of a national unified tracking system, thus making it harder to regulate NGOs and track their KPI.

To this end, President of the Civic Chamber put forward a proposal to create a register of NGOs, divide them into social and political ones given aggravating anti-Russian political activity of NGOs in some regions of Russia, and grant tax exemption to socially oriented NGOs.

“It’s clear that legislation on NGOs requires further improvement, while a third sector as a whole needs new institutionalization”, Mr. Brechalov concluded.

Alexander Svinin, Director General of the SmartStart company said that trust in NGOs has been dropping – only 34% of Russian citizens are involved in social activity nowadays.

In this, Mr. Svinin was opposed by Yelena Topoleva, member of the Civic Chamber Commission on Social Support for Individuals and Quality of Life, who claimed that, as proved by different researches, over 40% of Russians donating their money to charity do this through NGOs, which, in her opinion, demonstrates a high level of trust.

Special attention was attributed to economic matters. Vice President of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation Kirill Androsov stated that in the midst of sanctions the only source of investment is domestic business: “We have been left without foreign funding, so we have to look for inner resources, the main of which is commercial revenue”. He proposed, in this regard, to put a temporary ban on any decision threatening to encumber life of entrepreneurs and strengthen civilian control over decisions taken by state officials that impact planning of government expenditures.

Vyacheslav Bocharov, Chairman of the Civic Chamber Commission on Charity and Volunteerism, deems it necessary to reinforce patriotic education in the face of external challenges. He is convinced that this goal requires development of a system of social acclaim and promotion of “new heroes” through cooperation with national TV channels: “The nation should know about its athletes, scientists, artists”.

In addition, the Civic Chamber endorsed an idea to create a new concept of demographic policy and insisted on extension of the program of maternity capital up to 2025. Moreover, members of the Civic Chamber consider it necessary to refine and update legislation in favor of kids and mothers in private matters. Accordingly, Chairman of the Civic Chamber Commission on Development of Science and Education Lubov Dukhanina suggested that after expansion of charged medical services in public hospitals social guarantees of free and affordable education should be entrenched in laws.

“Today, we presented the main outcome of our work during this year. The report on the State of Civil Society is yet to be shown to President of Russia. Ideas and messages of the Report will enjoy popular support, I’m sure about that”, concluded Alexander Brechalov.

RF Civic Chamber Media–Office

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