Due to weak state and administrative capacity, the Russian government has involved resource-rich non-state actors into policy-making since about 2005 and established numerous institutionalized platforms, networks, and forums. These networks mainly emerge on regional and local levels and are designed to generate policy advice, implement decisions, and contribute to output legitimacy. A crucial question is how the authorities govern and regulate these bodies under the terms of a hybrid regime. The paper sheds light on why and how state authorities interact with non-state actors and unravels functions and flavors of governance networks in Russia. Drawing on the empirical results of case studies on anti-drug policy conducted in the regions Samara and St Petersburg, the paper reveals that state dominance within networks is a significant characteristic, although authorities rarely apply explicit ‘hard’ tools of government onto collaborations with non-state actors. The paper also allows for theorizing on the role of governance networks in a hybrid regime.
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.
Nonprofit organizations in Russia are introducing for-profit activities as a means of gaining autonomy from external donors, and as instruments of strategic planning and sustainable development. This study focuses on organizations that work with welfare provision and explores how they reconcile entrepreneurial activities with their social mission. More specifically, we interrogate how two institutional logics, business and nonprofit, are defined and reconciled in organizational identities, structures and hierarchies. Socially oriented nonprofits define their mission through service to beneficiaries, through personal and professional dedication to beneficiaries’ well-being, and through making an impact on public policies and the society at large. They mimic a business approach in strategic planning and meticulous reporting, but subordinate profit-seeking to social mission by integrating entrepreneurial activities into already existing organizational structures, or by separating them into independent entities.
Recent studies find that Western-style professional nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries are weak and unsustainable. Most of these NGOs developed strong dependency on foreign donors for funds, and did not develop local network of support. This study is conducted to understand the lack of effectiveness of NGOs in Kazakhstan and to test popular sentiments toward NGOs. The interview with local and foreign social science experts and public figures confirm that NGOs in Kazakhstan are weak and unsustainable. The explanations of institutional ineffectiveness lay in disconnect with local traditions, low visibility of NGOs, and unsupportive government. Survey of general population suggests that people in Kazakhstan know very little about NGOs and do not appreciate their utility. We explain the inability of civil society organizations to reach out to local people by cultural mismatch. By using the Hofstede national culture model (Culture's consequences: International differences in work-related values. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, 1984), we argue that local culture is in striking dissonance with the culture of donor countries, which created the NGO agenda in Kazakhstan.
This paper challenges widespread philosophical and conceptual theories of the nonprofit sector and the state that question, or leave little conceptual room for, extensive cooperation between nonprofit organizations and government. To do so, the paper calls attention to shortcomings in the prevailing market failure/government failure theories of the nonprofit sector that have obscured recognition of key features of the sector that make cooperation with the state a natural and necessary path to effectiveness, and to certain inherent limitations of the state that make engagement of nonprofits a natural and useful path to state effectiveness. The article then outlines a set of conditions that must be met by both nonprofits and governments for this partnership to achieve the promise of which it is capable. © 2015 International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University
Government–nonprofit cooperation has been an issue of considerable debate in public management literature. Most studies have focused on Western countries where collaborative forms of government have become a core element in the provision of social services. Less is known about transitional countries such as Russia where government–nonprofit cooperation is a relatively new phenomenon that is taking shape in the ambiguous context of a hybrid political regime. This article studies the nature and extent of government–nonprofit relations in Russia’s regions. It focuses on the regional implementation of the Russian government’s program to enhance the cooperation with socially oriented nonprofit organizations enacted in 2010. The article aims to understand how this program has been realized on the ground, at the regional level, and how it is assessed by the actors involved. The article thereby contributes to a broader comparative understanding of the evolution of government–nonprofit relations by bringing the special case of Russia into systematic view.
This brief article introduces the Special Issue “Unlikely Partners? Evolving Government-Nonprofit Relationships, East and West”, which calls attention to a growing pattern of “nonprofitization” of the welfare state in countries stretching from Western Europe, through Central Europe and Russia, and into Central Asia and the Far East to determine what lessons they might hold for the Russian experience and for the evolution of the modern welfare state more generally. © 2015 International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University.
East Europe’s welfare states have undergone enormous changes in the two and a half decades since Communism collapsed. After forming part of a distinctive Communist political economy for four decades, they have been restructured in market-conforming directions that re-define public and private responsibility for societal well-being. Civil society or nonprofit organizations (NPOs) and market providers have entered the welfare sphere. The present paper maps divergent trajectories of East-Central European (ECE) welfare states and those of the Former Soviet Union (FSU), focusing on persistent legacies as well as innovation, political negotiation over reforms, and the strong influence of the European Union in shaping outcomes. It shows the growing role of NPOs across contemporary ECE and FSU welfare sectors, as advocates and as service providers partnering with governments. While NPOs remain comparatively weak in post-communist states, there is remarkable convergence of democratic and authoritarian regimes around policies of government–NPO partnerships to improve welfare performance.
This article seeks to unravel the dual realities represented by the juxtaposition of the recent series of harsh regulatory impositions on Russian nonprofit organizations and the nearly simultaneous enactment of a series of laws and decrees establishing an impressive “tool box” of positive support programs for a large class of the so-called socially oriented Russian nonprofit organizations. To do so, the discussion proceeds in three steps. First, the article documents the considerable scale of the Russian NPO scene as it is visible through the lens of available empirical research. Next, it outlines the key policy measures affecting nonprofit organizations (NPOs) put in place by the Russian government beginning in the latter part of the first decade of the 21st century. Unlike some accounts, however, this one brings into focus both the interesting “tool box” of support programs for NPOs enacted during this period as well as the more restrictive regulatory measures, such as the “foreign agents law,” that also came into force. Finally, the article seeks to unravel the puzzle posed by these apparently competing realities of Russian government policy toward nonprofit organizations by bringing to bear the conceptual lenses that Graham Allison formulated to make sense of the strange series of actions that surrounded the Cuban Missile Crisis a little over 50 years ago.
S-Theory as a Comprehensive Explanation of Charitable Giving: Testing a Theory of Everyone on Russian National Sample Interview Data
In this introductory essay to the special issue on civil society in authoritarian and hybrid regimes, we review core themes in the growing literature on shrinking or closing space for civil society. We discuss the role of civil society organizations (CSOs) as agents of democratization and note the emergence of dual, at times apparently conflicting policy postures within authoritarian regimes (restriction and repression for some CSOs vs. financial support and opportunities for collaboration for others). We posit that different conceptual perspectives applied to civil society can help account for the duality of authoritarian postures and examine repercussions for three key subgroups of CSOs: claims-making (or advocacy) NGOs, nonprofit service providers and regime-loyal NGOs supporting often populist and nationalist discourses.
This article illustrates the development of government-nonprofit collaboration in The Netherlands.
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.
Civil societies are usually seen as facilitators of democracy or as oppositional powers withstanding authoritarian rule. However, more and more often civil society organizations (CSOs) appear to contribute to the legitimacy of non-democratic incumbents. Taking the example of contemporary Russia, this paper argues that state funding for CSOs under authoritarian regime conditions serves for securing regime legitimacy in two respects—by supporting CSOs contribution to public welfare and by transmitting state-led legitimacy discourse to the civil society sector. The analysis of applications submitted between 2013 and 2016 to the Presidential Grant Competition (PGC), the biggest public funding programme for CSOs in Russia, shows that the state is (1) supporting CSO activities above all in social, health and education-related fields, and (2) privileging projects that relate to a state-led conservative public discourse not only but foremost within those welfare-related fields. These results highlight the importance of investigating state support to CSOs in order to access the changing role of civil society under authoritarian regime conditions.
This study based on Kazakhstan nonprofit organizations (NPOs) is the first to address the important issue of the relationship between volunteer management and volunteer program effectiveness in an international setting. Our inquiry is informed by findings of US scholars that show that the adoption of a recommended set of volunteer management practices is related to the level of effectiveness achieved with volunteer involvement in NPOs. The paper advances a path model to explain volunteer program effectiveness, with volunteer management practices the crucial intermediate variable. Based on data collected in a survey of Almaty (Kazakhstan) NPOs in 2004, the empirical analysis yields considerable support for a path model that focuses on both the adoption of these practices and the attainment of program effectiveness. Given the heterogeneity of NPOs, not every organization can be expected to benefit from the adoption of the recommended practices. Nevertheless, results suggest that they offer one workable means for successfully integrating volunteers.