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Working paper

In Search Of Critical Capacity: Exploring Attitudes Of NPO Leaders In Russia

Labigne A., Kononykhina O., Mersianova I.
Following a public sphere approach to civil society research, we develop a working definition of Critical Capacity to analyze what leaders of Russian nonprofit organizations (NPOs) say regarding their political embeddedness. Theoretically, we stress the value added of differentiating more explicitly between the nonprofit sector, the third sector and civil society – the Critical Capacity concept represents a way forward towards applying that essential differentiation. Empirically, factor analysis on representative and current survey data confirms four dimensions of Critical Capacity, namely NPO leaders’ attitudes toward the role of the state, other NPOs, international cooperation as well as recent political events. In a second step, and based on these four dimensions, a cluster analytical model helps us to identify six reliable opinion clusters as well as the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of each group. Finally, we conclude on strength and weaknesses of our approach and address further research