First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Vyacheslav Volodin also took part in the meeting.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, dear colleagues,
I would like to return to the functioning of our NGOs. More than 220,000 NGOs are registered in Russia; they represent a great army of people who devote their lives to serving our nation in the truest sense of the word. I say this without undue pathos, because these are people who are not endowed with state regalia, federal or even regional powers, but act on their conscience and strive to resolve our citizens’ problems. They work in different ways and in different spheres, that is on both purely social issues and those related to the protection of human rights. This is extremely important for any society and for ours too, because only together can we effectively protect our citizens’ rights. When I say together, I mean by the efforts of government agencies and those who work in this field of their own volition.
“More than 220,000 NGOs are registered in Russia; they represent a great army of people who devote their lives to serving our nation in the truest sense of the word.”
You know, we made a decision in this regard: this year we increased funding for such organisations almost three times over. Of course, all this must be carried out impartially, and much has already been done, some of it on a competitive basis. Of the three billion rubles [$90 million] which were distributed this year to pursue the goals I highlighted, 2.3 billion were allocated on a competitive basis.
I know your position, which is that these funds should not be transferred directly from the government, to avoid a direct connection between public funding and the tasks that people working in these NGOs perform. You believe that while the state is obviously the provider of these funds, they should be distributed by an independent operator that NGOs and their various structures trust.