Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson
#15 - JRL 2009-56 - JRL Home
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 2009
Subject: Re: Moscow Times-#55-Johnson's Russia List.NGOs
From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com>
Re: JRL 2009 #55: Moscow Times Kremlin Doles Out Funds to NGOs

I would like to counter a statement made a Moscow NGO representative in this recent article concerning the Federal Grant Competition for NGOs. She is quoted as saying, "There is no basis for saying the money will be allocated unfairly and inefficiently, because nobody has really looked into the matter".

There are various organizations throughout Russia looking into this. Specifically, concerns were raised at the recent Moscow Hearing from NGOs representing Perm, the Far East and Siberia. Some of these issues were based on statistics that demonstrate an unjustifiably large sum of money staying in the Central Okrug that includes Moscow where all the organizations conducting the competition are located. An analysis of results in relation to the 7 Federal Okrugs from 2007-2008 show that the number of projects receiving support increased in only 2 Okrugs. In the Central Okrug this figure was an increase of 34 projects, in the Far East by 6 projects. The amount of funding received by organizations increased in 5 of the 7 Okrugs, however, 89% of the increased funding in 2008 went to the Central Okrug (199,199,980 rubles of the overall 222,907,232 ruble increase).

This along with other concerns laid the foundation for recommendations that include de-centralization (that will increase the impact of the competitions regardless of the amount distributed since people in the regions have better knowledge of what their needs are), increased transparency of the process and including an evaluation component. Distribution of government funding for NGOs and social projects through competitions was first introduced in Siberia and has spread to many other regions including Perm and those in the Far East. Thus, NGO activists that have locally been promoting this mechanism successfully for years applaud its replication on a Federal level and the dialogue related to process that has just begun as evidenced by the Hearing this year.

Their message is simple, we share a common goal to improve quality of life throughout Russia. De-centralization, increased transparency and evaluation of results will lead to maximization of results and, in fact increased results generated by projects supported by the Federal Competition despite budget cuts. These regional leaders will continue to present their case to representatives of the Administration, Public Chamber and NGO leaders in Moscow, as well as to NGO representatives in other regions.