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Regular version of the site

The Monitoring of the State of Civil Society (Wave 12)

Priority areas of development: sociology
Department: Centre for Studies of Civil Society and Non-Profit Sector
The project has been carried out as part of the HSE Program of Fundamental Studies.

Subject of research:

  • population of Russia and different social groups;
  • noncommercial non-state organizations (NCO);
  • members, militants, volunteers, employees, heads of NCO;
  • other actors of civil society in our country.

Goal of research: to evaluate current position of social society for development and applying of state policy to support and evolve its institutions, NCOs particularly, provide full, authoritative and regularly updated information needed for analysis and prediction of development of civil society in Russia to those actors who are interested in it.

  • system identification of monitored object;
  • creating of data base of indicators of current position of civil society in Russia;
  • preparation of analytical materials that could as well explain processes of russian civil society as describe empirical data about the current position of civil society in Russia;
  • modeling and prediction of ways to develop civil society in Russia.

Used methods:

  • analysis of findings of theoretical and empirical, Russian and foreign investigations;
  • analysis and generalization of empirical data based on principles of historicism, comparative historical, comparative legal and formal-legal methods;
  • mathematical methods of data analysis (in particular ANOVA, factor analysis, cluster analysis (hierarchic, K-means), regression analysis, CHAID-analysis, correspondence analysis, etc.).

Empirical base of research:

  • results of the previous rounds of studies on NPOs and on Russian civil society, conducted by the HSE Centre for Studies of Civil Society and the Nonprofit Sector during the 2006-2016;
  • data of the Government statistics office (Federal State Statistics Service, Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation);
  • data from the Russian representative survey of nongovernmental nonprofit organizations, conducted by the Centre for Research on Civil Society and the Nonprofit Sector in 2017. The sample size was 852 NGOs in 30 regions of the Russian Federation. The survey was conducted by quota sampling, using representative quotas according to legal forms and year of registration of NGOs. In accordance with the set quotas leaders of organizations located in urban districts, urban settlements and other municipalities were interviewed. The regions were selected on the basis of three sets of characteristics: urbanization index, indicator of the nonprofit sector development (according to the quantities), indicator of economic development of the regions of the Russian Federation determined as the ratio of a region’s the gross regional product to the all Russian average. The interviewees were selected with the use of the official registries of nonprofit organizations and voluntary associations in the selected regions. No more than two thirds of the total number of interviewees in each region was interviewed in the regional administrative center (except Moscow and Saint Petersburg).
  • data from two all Russian representative population surveys of the urban and rural population of Russia over 18 years of age (N = 2000 and N = 4,000). A multistage stratified territorial random sample was used. The interview mode was a personal (face-to-face) interview at the respondent's place of residence.

Results of research:

New empirical data about the current position of civil society in Russia is obtained as a result of the research, methodology of monitoring investigations of civil society in its different aspects is specified, theoretical conceptions explained processes of civil society are developed.

a) In theoretical area:

  • the theoretical and methodological foundations of new consumer practices are considered as a sphere of the civil society. Based on a comparison of traditional and new practices of cooperation as an actionable level of solidarity, the theoretical concept of ethical consumption as a space of civil society is refined. The conclusion is made about the more selfish nature of the new solidary consumer practices in comparison with the socio-political solidarity and ambiguous positions of new practices in comparison with traditional socio-economic solidarity in the role of prosocial factors in their development.

b) In methodological area:

  • methodology of monitoring research of civil society in its different aspects is specified.

c) In the area of obtaining new empirical information:

  • based on the empirical data of the survey of non-governmental non-profit organizations, various aspects of NGO performance were characterized (composition and structure of government bodies, workforce and volunteer resources, main sources of funding, income and expenditure, fundraising, etc.; challenges of the functioning of NGOs; openness of information and transparency of NGOs, political orientations and values of NGOs, a portrait of an NGO leader). Forms and nature of interaction of NGOs with social environment and with authorities of different levels are analyzed; features of the State policy in the field of support of NGOs and the role of NGOs in solving social problems are disclosed.
  • cluding:
  • attitudes, that affect the participation of Russians in civil society practices (trust, solidarity, willingness to unite, social responsibility and the ability to influence what is happening at different social distances);
  • level of Russians’ involvement in charity, including monetary donations and volunteering;
  • level of awareness of the population about NCOs and sources of information, level of trust and distrust of NGOs; real and potential level of participation in the activities of NGOs and public civic initiatives, including desirable forms of participation, willingness to work on a voluntary basis and willingness to make donations to organizations and civic initiatives;
  • level of public activity of Russians, including participation in elections as a voter, participation in community work, measures for the improvement of the building entrance, or the yard, or the city (village) and in the meetings of the tenants, participation in actions to help people in a difficult situation, writing appeals to state bodies or institutions on a personal issue or with a collective petition on a matter that does not affect them personally; expressing one's opinion at meetings, in state institutions and other instances and on the Internet (via blogs, forums, websites of state bodies, shops and mass media), participation in public hearings; organization of the team to solve their own or others' problems, protest activity;
  • importance and possession of human rights and freedoms, as well as the notion of the need to restrict certain rights and freedoms;
  • the state policy towards NGOs (current and desired interaction of NGOs and authorities, actual and desirable state's attitude towards NGOs, evaluation of state policy towards NGOs, mechanisms of state regulation of the NGO sphere, NGOs that the government should support);
  • the level and dynamics (2014-2017) of Russians’ involvement in new solidarity practices towards consumer goods and resources and the comparison of factors of the involvement in these practices and traditional types of solidarity; the conditions for further development of new practices as a sphere of civil society in Russia are justified.
  • >information on a range of indicators (130) allowing for dynamic observation of the changes in civil society.

Level of implementation, recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results

Monitoring of civil society gives opportunity to make valid conclusions about the main parameters of civil society and nonprofit sector, support empirical base including interregional and intertemporal comparisons and also predict the development of institutions of civil society.

Materials of current research were used:

  • preparation of informative analytical bulletin about the development of civil society and the nonprofit sector in Russia published by the Center for Studies of Civil Society and the Nonprofit Sector NRU HSE. The bulletin is published regularly on paper and in the Internet;
  • teaching at the academic program on Public Administration at the Public Administration Department, Faculty of Social Sciences, NRU HSE;
  • organizing seminars during the summer school on «Evaluation of volunteer activity: economic efficiency, social effects and contribution to the development of the country, regions and municipalities» (Center of researches of civil society and noncommercial sector of NRU HSE, September, 2017).

The significance of study results are that they can be used in:

  • government and municipal management in the development of concepts of federal, regional and municipal level programs and in legal acts in the field of development and support for the civic engagement and feasibility of non-profit organizations;
  • in the training future and current public administrators and employees of nongovernmental nonprofit organizations;
  • in the curricula of educational institutions of different fields, including NPO management, government and municipal management, in the frame of staff qualification courses for government municipal management.


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