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Regular version of the site

Article

Foundations in Russia: Evolving Approaches to Philanthropy

American Behavioral Scientist. 2018. Vol. 62 . No. 13. P. 1844-1868 .

This article discusses the contemporary state of philanthropic foundations in Russia.
It traces the evolution of Russian philanthropy from the Imperial period through the
Soviet times and the upheavals of the 1990s to today. Historically, foundations lacked
a legal footing, not only under socialism but also during the Tsarist Empire, and while a
new legal framework was introduced in the 1990s, the political and economic turmoil
of the decade prevented the emergence of notable foundations until the turn of
the millennium. Since then, the Russian foundation sector has steadily been growing,
featuring foundations related to large business fortunes and corporations as well
as successful fundraising and local community foundations. Particularly, foundations
tied to business interests and corporations still face expectations to contribute to
social and other public services in the tradition of Soviet-era state enterprises. An
important difference between Russian and American and other Western foundations
is that Russian foundations typically do not have endowments, but operate on ongoing
pass-through funds by the founder.