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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, colleagues,
It has been more than five years now that the state authorities have been allocating money for important projects carried out by NGOs. I have brought you together here to discuss how this money is being spent, how effectively you think it is being spent, talk about the legislation regarding the activities of non-governmental organisations, which have important social functions, and look at what we can do to improve it, and thus grant these organisations better conditions for giving support to all those in need.
This year, in accordance with my instructions, NGOs will receive more than 1 billion rubles [$35 million] from the federal budget. This is not a fantastically huge amount of money, but it is a substantial amount nonetheless. Of course, as always in such situations, we hope that along with the budget money allocated, financing will come in part from extra-budgetary sources too.
Furthermore, for the first time, public money totalling 900 million rubles [$32 million] is being allocated to organisations that have the status of non-profit organisations with a social focus.
There are priorities for the kind of projects we want this money to fund. You are well aware of these priorities, but I will run through them briefly once more, since they really are a very big part of the work that most of the NGOs do.
The first priority, and something that simply cries for action, is to protect children from violence. This covers work to help children in general, as well as orphans, children from disadvantaged and dysfunctional families, and it also covers medical care for seriously ill children.
The second priority is support for talented young people, support for young creative talent, young inventors, scientists, artists, entrepreneurs – everyone trying to develop something new.
Another vital issue for our country is efforts to promote interethnic harmony and programmes aimed at settling interethnic and interfaith conflicts, programmes to promote civic peace, in other words.
Of course, NGOs’ activities cover a much broader area than the few priorities I just named. You are all engaged in these efforts and understand this very well.
But I think there are nonetheless specific priorities that the state authorities simply must address. At the same time, at the risk of repeating what is already commonplace knowledge, especially for all of you working in this area, state investment alone will not solve all the problems.
All around the world this kind of work is based on solidarity, voluntary donations, and sense of moral responsibility and involvement in the problems that exist even in the most developed societies. So, we need to talk about support for philanthropic activity too.
Colleagues, I hope to hear from you today above all what still remains to be done, what we can do next, taking into account the state authorities’ current possibilities and the legislative initiatives the President can take.