Кто владеет информацией,
владеет миром

Intricate "Love Affair" of the State and a Civil Society

Intricate "Love Affair" of the State and a Civil Society
Ilya Konstantinov 20.02.2007

Recently the Russian authorities more often speak about civil society. The President V.Putin, the first vice-premier D.Medvedev, heads of presidential administration constantly constantly discuss this theme. Leaders of upper level of the country mentioned this problematic during the last years but any unbiassed observer would agree that only in 2006 it appeared on a proscenium of a world policy.

The reasons of such changes are clear: Big elections which will define the destiny of Russia for years and, maybe, even for the decades are approaching.

Assuming that inside of the country relative political stability was established, the foreign policy situation noticeably became aggravated. More and more frequently our western friends - opponents accuse the Russian management in deviations from democracy and infringements of human rights.

Unpleasant prospect of non-recognition by the western community of legitimacy of forthcoming elections looked through more distinctly. A role of a "hitter" in this situation can be played by representatives of a civil society, i.e. of some nongovernmental organizations. And though Russia – is not Georgia and not the Ukraine and "orange" script in our country will not pass, similar succession of events is capable to undermine the international positions of the Russian Federation seriously. So, intension of the Kremlin to make oneself secure and take under its control prominent structures of a civil society is quite clear and justified.  

However, except for short-term political effect during forthcoming elections, "love affair" of the state and society can have long-term consequences to which it would be desirable to pay attention of the reader.

Making speech on the session of the Public chamber the first vice-premier Dmitry Medvedev again started talking about development of the human capital: "Certainly, this theme has direct relation to that problematic which you are engaged in, in fact the civil initiative always was and is a source of economic growth, source of rise of humanitarian and social sphere, a factor of promotion of the quality of the state management, optimization of the state expenses”.  

That is what it is, all the more so in the developed countries cumulative cost of services given by civil institutes makes from 2% up to 5% of gross national product. But it’s only the top of an iceberg: modern civil society makes a nutritional medium optimum for development of economy of knowledge Dmitry Medvedev speaks recently so much.

The matter is that the postindustrial civilization demands constant innovations, changes, development … And the carrier of innovative potential is creative and free personality. Freedom of personality – is one of the fundamental requirements of the modern science-technical progress.  

In this respect liberal opponents of V.Putin are absolutely right defending priority of the rights and personal freedoms. It’s another matter that they treat human freedom one-sided as independence of the state, ignoring other forms of dependence. Economic, for example, social, psychological, in other words - dependence of a person on a person.

The state, actually, exists to provide the rights and personal freedoms. In my opinion, D.Medvedev speaks precisely about it: " … the civil society is effective only in the event if it consists of mature and prepared for democracy personalities. Therefore direct problem of any democratic state is creation of favorable conditions for development and self-realization of people, for the development of things that is a little bit pseudoscientifically called as the human capital".

Thus only harmonious combination of the state and a civil society is capable to provide all complex of conditions necessary for all-around development of a person, so and for development of innovative economy of a society of knowledge.

The things are going on more or less smoothly with the state recently, at least, in comparison with situation of 90th years.

Institutes of a civil society are also being developing. In recently promulgated Report of Public Chamber of the Russian Federation about condition of a civil society in the Russian Federation impressing data are cited: for the 1st of October, 2006 were registered more than 359 thousand of various organizations relating to the structures of a civil society. Their number is increasing quickly enough. So, from the beginning of 2001 it has increased on 34%. In our country with a view to 1000 inhabitants accrue 2,5 registered noncommercial organizations. In comparison with other postSoviet countries it’s not a bad factor. For example, in Poland with a view to 1000 inhabitants accrue 1.4 noncommercial organizations while in Bulgaria – 1.1.

Problems, certainly, also exist. In the same report it is said: "Formalized and not formalized structures of a civil society for the present do not form the dense public environment". That is, they are separated and insufficiently informed about each other. Population has rather superficial idea about activity of the noncommercial organizations.

Fast development of institutes of a civil society in our country is interfered by mistrust of population, insufficient attention of mass-media and, most of all, problems with financing.

According to Public chamber three quarters НКО tests constant shortage of means. By the way, not in the last instance it is connected with reduction of scales of the foreign help to noncommercial sector - on third, in comparison with 2003. Means of the international welfare funds start to leave Russia.

По данным Общественной палаты три четверти НКО испытывает постоянную нехватку средств. Кстати, не в последнюю очередь это связано с сокращением масштабов зарубежной помощи некоммерческому сектору – на треть, по сравнению с 2003 годом. Средства международных благотворительных фондов начинают покидать Россию.

It is connected, in opinion of experts, not so much with a policy of the Russian authorities but with change of the general representation about Russia: the country ceases to look in opinion of world community wanting for help. So to develop a civil society we should using own strength! There’s no way without essential support of the state.

The question should refer not so much to direct financing but to creation of corresponding legislative base and favorable information conditions for the activity of noncommercial organizations.  

It is necessary to recognize that something is being done in this direction. Let’s call upon Dmitry Medvedev: "You know, last year we detailed enough discussed one of the important bills - the law on so-called trust funds, on the target capital or about endowment if to speak on English manner which should become an additional source of support for social establishments: for education, for science, for culture. This law only starts to work and the state, certainly, is very interested that you, as public communicators, will follow the way this law is being realized”.

Really, for now it is difficult to say, how much the law about endowments will change situation with private financing of institutes of a civil society but that circumstance is pleasant already that leaders of upper level of Russia understand urgency of this problem and search for ways of its settlement.

In the conclusion, it would be desirable to recollect a known Russian saying: "a blessing in disguise". Who knows, maybe, if the West did not show Russia its back, if there was no certain aggravation of international situation resembling some analytics times of cold war, if there would be such orgy of interest to a civil society?!

This or that way but “love affair” of the state and a civil society is quickly developing in Russia. God grant that it would have happy end.
In other::