Russia has recently cracked down on politically active civil society, increasing regulation and undercutting foreign support. However, apolitical, service-oriented parts of civil society have not been subject to these restrictive policies. In contrast, since 2009 Russia has introduced a set of government tools to support socially oriented non-profit organisations. These tools present a framework akin to concepts of ‘third-party government’ and collaborative governance that have come to dominate Western public administration discourse. This article discusses the Russian government’s divergent positions towards civil society, the nature and extent of the supportive tool kit, and its prospects.
Reorganizing the social services market to allow for its access non-state providers is a major innovation in Russia. Welfare mix concepts give a theoretical justification to this innovation. The key element of justification is the demonstration of advantages NPOs have as services providers compared to state-owned or private organizations fulfilling similar functions. However, a more careful assessment of the outlook of Russian NPOs on the emerging social services market requires an analysis of their comparative disadvantages as well. This paper aims at investigating organizational weaknesses of Russian nonprofit providers of social services funded by the state drawing on foreign and Russian experience of practices in cross-sectoral cooperation. The paper first addresses some key comparative disadvantages rooted in the economic and financial foundations of NPOs. The authors then investigate weaknesses related to the level of professionalism in social services delivery by NPOs to suggest some recommendations on measures the government and the nonprofit sector respectively could contemplate to compensate for NPOs’ comparative disadvantages, so that the potential capacity of NPOs to generate innovative solutions is best utilized in the interests of a more efficient social policy. For the verification of theory and for international comparisons of practices of cross-sectoral cooperation Russian sociological data gathered in the course of a long-term NRU HSE project on Monitoring Russian Civil Society are used.
The idea of a “third sector” beyond the arenas of the state and the market is probably one of the most perplexing concepts in modern political and social discourse, encompassing as it does a tremendous diversity of institutions and behaviors that only relatively recently have been perceived in public or scholarly discourse as a distinct sector, and even then with grave misgivings. Initial work on this concept focused on what is still widely regarded as its institutional core, the vast array of private, nonprofit institutions (NPIs), and the volunteer as well as paid workers they mobilize and engage. These institutions share a crucial characteristic that makes it feasible to differentiate from for-profit enterprises: the fact that they are prohibited from distributing any surplus they generate to their investors, directors, or stakeholders and therefore presumptively serve some broader public interest. Many European scholars have considered this conceptualization too narrow; however, arguing that cooperatives, mutual societies, and, in recent years, “social enterprises” as well as social norms should also be included. However, this broader concept has remained under-conceptualized in reliable operational terms. This article corrects this short-coming and presents a consensus operational re-conceptualization of the third sector fashioned by a group of scholars working under the umbrella of the European Union’s Third Sector Impact Project. This re-conceptualization goes well beyond the widely recognized definition of NPIs included in the UN Handbook on Nonprofit Institutions in the System of National Accounts by embracing as well some, but not all, of these additional institutions and forms of direct individual activity, and does so in a way that meets demanding criteria of comparability, operationalizability, and potential for integration into official statistical systems.
This article discusses a set of tools of government enacted in Russia between 2009and 2013 to provide support to so-called socially-oriented nonprofit organizations (SO/NPOs). In Russia this approach is to be considered as a serious policy innovation since so far government policy vis-à-vis the nonprofit sector could be described as either indifferent or predominantly restrictive. The conceptual framework employed is based on the concept of “third-party government” and the tools of government approach. We first consider the legal definition of the subsector of SO/NPOs, and then investigate the newly introduced tools of government support featuring data on the scope of Russian federal government support for SO/NPOs, showing substantial similarity to government tool kits employed to support NPOs elsewhere in the world.
Stefan Toepler compares the size and scope, the structure, and role and function of philanthropic foundations in Germany and the United States. The author stresses the problem of the lack of data on Germany. In fact, tax information is private, and assets are difficult to quantify. He shows that surprisingly in Germany, foundations’ funding appears to be dominant in areas covered also by the state. In comparing the structure, Toepler demonstrates that operating foundations maintain a visible role in Europe, whereas they are less prominent in the USA. Lastly, by comparing foundations’ function in society, Toepler suggests that the prominence in Germany of complementarity and innovation and in the USA of innovation and social and policy change stems from the different roles of the government in society.
In this paper, we analyze the evolution of Russian cultural policy from the end of the Soviet era through the current against the framework of welfare state regimes. The end of the Soviet Union 25 years ago ushered in a decade of liberalization marked by a withdrawal of the state from cultural responsibility and hopes that market demand and private support would emerge to fill in the void. With the latter hampered by the economic hardships of the transition and the loss of philanthropic traditions after more than 70 years of communism, a liberal policy regime did not take firmly hold and has gradually been replaced by a new cultural policy consensus more akin to a conservative welfare regime, marked by a return of the state to a more dominant role with the support of core cultural policy constituencies.
Relationships between foundations and the government in the United States have long been difficult with government attitudes ranging from hostile to at best indifferent in the past. American foundations have long claimed innovation as a distinctive function to perform in society in order to preserve their legitimacy. One hundred years after the rise of the large-scale American philanthropic foundation, however, the relationships between foundations and government have come into flux. Between demands from fiscally-strapped local governments and a new openness of state and federal governments to develop collaborative relationships, a variety of public-philanthropic partnerships have emerged that question the traditional roles and distribution of labor between philanthropy and the state. This paper traces the historical development of the government/foundation relationship and discusses its changing nature using recession-induced ad hoc partnerships, the emergence of foundation liaison offices, and the Obama Administration’s Social Innovation Fund and Investing in Innovation program as examples.
This paper discusses the relationship between corporate volunteering and civic engagement outside the workplace in Russia, proceeding from a mixed- method approach. The quantitative findings are based on a comparison between employees in 37 Russian companies who participated in corporate volunteering (N = 399) and those who did not (N = 402). Using binary logistic regression analysis, we demonstrate that employee participation in corporate volunteering is positively related to four forms of civic engagement outside the workplace: informal volunteering, formal volunteering, formal monetary donation, and informal mone- tary donation. In addition, we draw on information obtained from interviews with 10 corporate volunteers, as well as with all 37 company corporate volunteering man- agers, to develop a general explanation for why corporate volunteering might lead to civic engagement. We identify three primary explanations. First, trust in companies can be converted into increased trust in social institutions. Second, corporate vol- unteering can expose employees to other realities, thereby leading them to rethink their priorities. Third, corporate volunteering socializes employees to volunteering, thus making them more likely to incorporate volunteering into their personal repertoires of activities. Corporate volunteering appears to be an effective mechanism for stimulating civic engagement and volunteering infrastructure in post-communist countries.
The context conditions for third sector organizations (TSOs) in Europe have significantly changed as a result of the global economic crisis, including decreasing levels of public funding and changing modes of relations with the state. The effect of economic recession, however, varies across Europe. The purpose of this paper is to understand why this is the case. It analyses the impact of economic recession and related policy changes on third sector development in Europe. The economic effects on TSOs are thereby placed into a broader context of changing third sector policies and welfare state restructuring. The paper focusses on two research questions: how has the changing policy environment affected the development of the third sector? And what kind of strategies have TSOs adopted to respond to these changes? The paper first investigates general trends in Europe, based on a conceptual model that focusses on economic recession and austerity policies with regard to the third sector. In a second step of analysis, the paper provides five country case studies that exemplify policy changes and responses from the third sector in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain. The paper argues that three different development paths can be identified across Europe. In some countries (France and Spain), TSOs face a strong effect of economic recession. In other countries (Germany and Poland) the development of the third sector remains largely stable, albeit at different levels, whereas in the Netherlands, TSOs rather experience changes in the policy environment than a direct impact of economic decline. The paperalso shows that response strategies of the third sector in Europe depend on the context conditions. The paper is based on the European project “Third Sector Impact.” It combines an analysis of statistical information with qualitative data from interviews with third sector representatives.
The purpose of this article is to identify how Russian citizens’ participation in NGOs (both ‘isolated’ and ‘open’) affects their involvement in the movement of election observers and the intensity (frequency) of observations. A theoretical overview revealed the various ways nonprofit organizations effect the development of democracy — positive (‘school of democracy’), negative and differentiated. Taking into account the diversity of Russia’s non-profit sector, the authors preferred the latter differentiated approach. Six hypotheses were formulated and tested about the way participation in NGOs effects citizens’ involvement in election observation and its intensity. The empirical basis for the paper is data from an All-Russian survey of the general population, as well as data from an online survey of election observers conducted in 2013. It was established that the probability of becoming an election observer is significantly higher among those whose experience in volunteering and NGOs is complemented by interpersonal trust. The authors also revealed that citizens’ who participate in ‘open’ NGOs are more likely to become election observers and have more intense experience in observation. Participation in ‘isolated’ types of NGOs does not affect involvement in election observation, but increases the intensity of it. In general, it is shown that Russian NGOs, within the context of research, do indeed have the potential to be ‘schools of democracy’.
This article discusses the potential role of national censuses in the context of nation building. The discussion is based on the ideas of social constructivism, although the authors explicitly acknowledge several possible limitations of this approach in sociological studies. Specifically, they argue that the processes of nation buildng should take into account the specific historical context, which may or may not enable nation building through certain types of state effort (e.g. national censuses).
The article begins with a discussion of the general mechanisms by which the state attempts to represent people comprehensibly and unambiguously in categories by means of establishing symbolic boundaries to separate them. This is necessary both for primary self- identification and for maintaining and reproducing national identity in general. A census may therefore be regarded as a way of conveying such categories to the population. The authors further discuss how the use and publication of official census data affects everyday interactions among people and their perceptions of the nation’s social structure.
The article draws on examples of how different ethnic groups were represented during the first Soviet census. It also develops the argument by drawing on examples of categorization by means of official documents, i.e. passports. The authors show that citizens were in fact attributed with an additional external ethnicity, which appeared to be independent from their own self-identify. The paper concludes that through such document-based identification, ethnicity became symbolically separated from its bearers, and therefore it has ceased to be an inherent individual characteristic.
The involvement of nonprofit organizations (NPOs) in the delivery of a diversity of social welfare services is an important element of various models of a “welfare mix” approach to the transformation of the modern welfare state. According to the concepts of “third party government” and of “nonprofitization” of the welfare state such involvement allows to ease budgetary constraints while enhancing the effectiveness and quality of services delivered. This article is aimed at assessing the outlook for SONPOs in the emerging Russian market for social services funded by the state. The authors primarily analyze the vector of transformation of the regulatory and legal framework providing for the participation of SONPOs in the delivery of state funded social services with the aim to assess how strong the interest of the state to diversify the range of service providers in the social sectors is. The analysis of legal norms is combined with a look at empirical data featuring the attitudes of Russian NPO leaders to cooperation with the state in solving social problems which is an indicator of the likely “responsiveness” of the NPO community to government policy aimed at increasing cross-sectoral cooperation in the delivery of social services. Then the authors proceed with investigating the comparative advantages of NPOs as providers of social services in the light of the concepts of cross-sectoral partnership and welfare mix arrangements in the social sphere. In the article an attempt is then made to test or at least to illustrate in the Russian context the likely validity of the comparative advantages of NOPs as prompted by the mentioned concepts rooted in the “third party government” theory. For this purposes sociological data are used, gathered in the course of a long-term NRU HSE project on Monitoring Russian Civil Society. In conclusion the authors formulate several measures necessary to implement in order that Russian SONPOs can take due advantage of the recent innovative regulation and increase their share as providers of social services funded by the state.