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  • Challenges and Prospects for the Development of Civic Self-organization and for Charitable Activities in Russia in the Medium – term Future

Challenges and Prospects for the Development of Civic Self-organization and for Charitable Activities in Russia in the Medium – term Future

Priority areas of development: state and public administration
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.

The project was implemented within the framework of the HSE Basic research program.

1.     Research object: Processes of civic self-organization and charitable activities in modern Russia
2.    Research purpose: to determine the prospects for developing civic self-organization and charitable activities in Russia in the medium term future, and design recommendations on this basis for measures strengthening the subjective role of civil society within the framework of a new model for economic growth and social policy.
3.    Empirical base of the research: Data of an all-Russian representative sociological survey of the population on motivation to participate in civic self-organization. (n-2000 respondents, survey conducted in September – October 2010); data collected in Russia for the Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project of the Johns Hopkins University and for the CIVICUS Civil Society Index; data from annual monitoring of the Russian civil society; data from government statistical agency.
4.     Research results:
  • civic self-organization and charitable activities are essential tools to achieve macroeconomic and social stability in transition to an innovation-based growth model and social policy to which Russia moves in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2008 -09;
  • data of representative sociological surveys reflect a sufficiently high level of involvement of Russians in basic civic practices, such as donations, volunteering, community-level social action etc. Two thirds of Russians are prepared to unite efforts with other people to achieve civic goals. However the development of self-organization and of civil society is hampered by low trust and low cohesion within civil society groups;
  • survey data show that corporate volunteering (as part of CSR policies), community-level organizations, youth groups play an increasing social role, whereas professional associations of teachers and medical staff are comparably weak;
  • retrospective historical analysis confirms that the genesis of Russian civil society, when compared with other European countries, was somewhat retarded and marked by the greater influence of the state, nevertheless it followed very much the general continental pattern until that was interrupted for several decades by the revolution in October 1917;
  • the future role the third sector will play in the delivery of social services and more generally as an actor in the social sphere depends on the capacity building of NGOs and on the continuation of government policies to cooperate with and support civil society institutions. Recent changes in Russian government policy vis-a-vis the third sector in delivery of social services are in line with global trends increasing the role of NGOs as the supplier of such services.
  • a system of descriptors of trust in society has been developed and tested in a representative survey. The system differentiates between types of trust to interpret sociological data and thus enhances the prognostic value of sociological information.
5.     Implementation of the research results: Data and recommendations based on the results of this study have been incorporated in policy papers presented to relevant policy making bodies in the Russian government. Further implementation occurred during the development of training courses for NGO staff, for government and municipal employees and for faculty on cooperation between government and the third sector in the social sphere. These training courses are part of a major government Program, delivered by the Russian Ministry of Economic Development. Materials of the research were also used in preparation under the auspices of the Civil Chamber of Russia of the report: “Impacts of the Global Crisis: A Vision of Civil Society”. The report was presented at a General Assembly of The International Association of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions (AICESIS) in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012, and at a working meeting in Moscow in October 2012.

6.      International partners:
  • Global Corporate Volunteering Research Project ;
  • CIVICUS Civil Society Index;
  • Johns Hopkins University Comparative Nonprofit Project;
  • Royal Dutch Tropical Institute’s «Dance4life» youth research project.


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Tumanova A. S. The Crises of Late Imperial Russia and the Mobilization of Civil Society / Пер. с рус. // Russian Studies in History. 2012. Vol. 51. No. 3. P. 3-6.
Kwaak van der A., Hooft K. ‘., Krasnopolskaya I., Skokova Y., Alexeeva Z. Concept Note for the Impact Assessment of dance4life. Amsterdam : Development Policy & Practice, 2012.
Селивановский А. С. “Техническая” эмиссия облигаций // В кн.: Частное право и финансовый рынок: Сборник статей Вып. 2. М. : Статут, 2014. С. 326-344.