Civil Society and the State Intertwined: The Case of Disability NGOs in Russia
This article examines state–civil society relationships in contemporary Russia. Its objective is to assess opportunity structures of Russian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that are intertwined with the state. The article presents qualitative data from fieldwork in the Russian cities of Moscow, St Petersburg, Nizhniy Novgorod, and Perm in 2009 and 2010. The focus of NGOs in the field of disability was chosen because of their roles as social service providers and as advocates for the rights of the disabled. The findings indicate that despite the Soviet legacy of an occupying state, Russian NGOs widen their opportunities by maintaining close relationships with state structures. Thus, litigation strategies seem to be an effective instrument for fostering social change for the benefit of the disabled.