Russian President says funds for NGOs should be distributed by independent operator

posted 11 Jul 2013, 23:54 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 11 Jul 2013, 23:56 ]
4 July 2013 

Source: (info)
President Vladimir Putin has held a meeting with the head of the Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights Mikhail Fedotov, the federal human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin, and the Chair of the presidium of civil society organization Civic Dignity Ella Pamfilova, ITAR-TASS reports.

Putin said that state funding of non-profit organizations had increased threefold this year. He noted that of a total of 3 billion roubles, 2.3 billion had been allocated on a competitive basis. “Naturally, funds should be distributed on an impartial basis”, he said.

Putin also understands that resources should not be going directly to NGOs from the state, and that human rights activists are of the view that that the funds should be distributed “by an independent operator trusted by these same organizations”.

Putin believes that human rights can be protected effectively “only by working together.” He said, “We can only solve the challenges faced by human rights defenders through joint efforts”, said the President. (The report by ITAR-TASS does not clarify who should be joining efforts with whom –

Putin recalled that there were more than 220,000 NGOs registered in Russia. “This is a large army of people who have devoted their lives to serving our people, and I say this in all sincerity – they do not have government powers, but they are following their hearts and working to address problems faced by our citizens”, said the President (ITAR-TASS).

The Russian President agreed with the proposal of human rights defenders that state funding should be distributed on a competitive basis by Civic Dignity, a nationwide NGO.

The Chair of the Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights Mikhail Fedotov stressed the need to create favourable tax conditions in order to develop corporate philanthropy.

However, Vladimir Putin does not think that it would be appropriate to introduce incentives for commercial organizations allocating grants to NGOs: “If we offered tax incentives, it would not cost the companies, but the budget, which would receive fewer taxes”, Putin said, setting out the authorities’ position.

Putin stressed that funds to support NGOs “should not be distributed to organizations simply for being either loyal or disloyal to the authorities. Resources must go to those who have won them on a competitive basis”.