Кандидат экономических наук, Финансовый университет при Правительстве Российской Федерации
МЕЖДУНАРОДНОЕ ФИНАНСИРОВАНИЕ НЕКОММЕРЧЕСКИХ ОРГАНИЗАЦИЙ В РОССИИ
В данной статье проводится анализ мер, принятых для некоммерческих организаций, которые получают финансирование из-за рубежа, чтобы зарегистрироваться в Министерстве Юстиции в качестве “иностранных агентов”.
Ключевые слова: некоммерческая организация, выполняющая функции иностранного агента, социально ориентированные некоммерческие организации, некоммерческие неправительственные организации.
PhD in Economics, assistant professor, Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation
FOREIGN FINANCING NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS IN RUSSIA
This article presents the state measures taken for the non-profit organizations that receive funding from abroad to register with the Justice Ministry as “foreign agents”.
Keywords: non-profit organization acting as foreign agent, socially oriented non-profit organization, non-government organization.
The new edition of the Federal Law “On non-profit organizations” (further on referred to as NPO) has introduced the definition “non-profit organization acting as foreign agent”. According to the Law “On changes to the legislation of the Russian Federation concerning the regulation of work of non-profit organizations acting as foreign agents” dated July 20, 2012, a “foreign agent” is an organization that receives funds from other countries or from Russian legal entities financed from other countries and the same time is involved in “political activities”. “Influencing the public opinion” that may affect authorities’ decisions is also considered as “political activity”.
This law introduced significant changes to the Federal Law “On non-profit organizations” by tighting the requirements that apply to them. The new law requires the companies that are being financed from abroad (including donations) to have them listed in a special register. This resulted in liquidation of many NPOs that were dealing with human rights violations.
According to the par. 2 Article 2 of the Federal Law “On non-profit organizations”. NPOs can be established “for social, charity, cultural, scientific and administrative purposes, for sake of health protection, development of sports, fulfilling of intangible needs including religion, defending the rights and legitimate interests of individuals and organizations, solving the disputes and conflicts, providing legal assistance, as well as for other purpose aimed at common wealth”.
The definition of “non-profit organization – foreign agent” is also marked out.
Why are requirements set for NPOs are being tightened if they carry such a peaceful function? In other countries the “third sector” is a matter of pride, why is it so different in Russia?
Fig. 1 – State support of socially oriented non-profit organizations Source: data of Ministry of Economical Development of Russia
The newspaper “Rossiyskaya Gazeta” reports that the Ministry of Economical Development of the Russian Federation budgeted 8,3 billion roubles in 2013 for support of socially oriented NPOs (SONPO). According to the news agency RIA Novosti, at the meeting of the Committee for Human Rights, V.V. Putin promised to allocate another 3,2 billion roubles to support socially relevant projects by NPOs.
Actually, in more than 40 countries there have been changes to the legislation on non-profit organizations – and that is okey. If an NPO is supported by the government, has its budget and its employees enjoy some benefits, it’s fine that the legislation has been checked thoroughly through. Besides that, some NPOs can be a perfect shelter for some illegal activities, like sponsoring extremists’ organizations.
According to the list issued by the Ministry of Justice, 33 NPOs were shut down since 2003 following the requirements of the Federal Law “On counteraction to the extremist activities”. Following these facts, an obligatory registration of NPOs with defined procedures was introduced.
Besides that, the NPOs are subject to severe control. According to the Article 32 of the Federal Law “On non-profit organizations”, NPOs are obliged to have accounting and provide statistical data as required by the legislation of the Russian Federation; their accounting is subject to mandatory audit. The amount and structure of income, information on NPO’ property , its expenditures, number of employees and structure of staff, payment structure as well as involvement of volunteers can not be considered as commercial classified information. NPOs that are also defined as foreign agents are obliged to publish their book records in Internet or in mass media.
Besides that the Federal Law 121-FZ dated July 20, 2012 defines that NPO acting as foreign agent is subject to routine checks a maximum once a year, but under certain circumstances some off-schedule checks are allowed.
The Federation Council together with the General Prosecutor’s Office are working on amendments to the law on NPOs in order to prevent illegal financing from abroad. It is planned to control the financing of not only those organizations that are defined as “foreign agents” or will be soon defined as such, but also those organizations that will receive funds from them within Russia.
The bill also contains some other limitations for NPOs. Annual checks of NPOs that are financed from abroad are planned, civil and municipal servants will b forbidden to establish NPOs and work for them. Some other amendments are expected to be legalized by the Federation Council. Here are just some of them – law enforcement agency will get access to information containing bank secrecy and will be entitled to list the public associations that are not registered yet according to the law.
Unfortunately, this legislation can not guarantee the law enforcement being executed in correct manner.
In the United States of America a similar law was passed in 1938. Currently, the law on foreign agents in the US is known as FARA – Foreign Agents Registration Act.
In order to control the NPOs, the Treasury Department simply issued some recommendations that are not mandatory.
International experience of administration, control and financing of non-profit organizations in EU as example. First of all, even UN hold consultations with many non-government organization (NGOs).
All NGOs are being divided by UN in 3 groups. According to the European legislation, the member states are obliged to involve the non-profit organizations in their political activities or for realization of some programmes. So, the NGOs are an active part of social life in Europe acting as partners.
The main criteria for a state to decide whether an NPO is entitled to receive the governmental support (and how much it will received) – is the criteria of the “public benefit”. This parameter mainly depends on how much of the “public benefit” is produced by an NGO and how the “public benefit” is defined by the legislation (for instance, in the tax legislation). The support can be granted to the NGOs that are providing some services as well as those defending someone’s rights.
The international experience shows that a clear, transparent and efficient interaction between the state and the social sector can result in:
- Civil society is being developed thanks to active involvement of people into its establishing and improvement.
- The involvement of citizens in creation and realization of social and public projects increases.
- Contacts and interaction principles between the stated the citizens are built.
- The quality of many services provided by the state is improved.
- The projects of the state become more flexible and innovative.
The interaction between the commercial and non-commercial sectors is very profitable. First of all, it adds up to the image improvement and formation of customer loyalty; besides that is improves the economical environment for business. Secondly, it provides NPOs with recourses that can be used for public mission and organizational development.
Non-commercial sector contributes greatly to the satisfaction of people’s needs, as well as to the creation of a good economical climate, stability of the country’s development and economy, political system that is based on principals of democracy, transparency and responsibility.
- Federal Law of 12.01.1996 № 7-FZ “On Non-profit Organizations”.
- Russian Ministry of Justice Order number 455 of 30.12.2011 “On approval of the Administrative Regulations provide the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation of the public service for a decision on the state registration of non-profit organizations”.
- The Federal Law of 25.07.2002 № 114-FZ “On Countering Extremist Activities”.
- Federal Law of 20.07.2012 N 121-FZ “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation in the regulation of non-profit organizations acting as a foreign agent”.