Post-Soviet “Political”?: “Social” and “Political” in the Work of Russian Socially Oriented CSOs
- Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization
- Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, The George Washington University
- Volume 24, Number 2, Spring 2016
- pp. 199-224
- Additional Information
This article seeks to understand the role of civil society organizations (CSO) in contemporary Russian society. Rather than looking narrowly at advocacy groups, the investigation focuses on less-studied socially oriented organizations, including more recently established CSOs as well as the so-called Soviet-type voluntary organizations, which have been almost completely neglected by Western scholarship on Russian civil society. In contrast to the argument that Russia’s socially oriented CSOs are apolitical – an argument often made in Western scholarship on Russian civil society – the research found that organizations from both categories – the old Soviet-type and the more recent post-Soviet – were engaged in both political advocacy work and service provision, although they were engaged in political and social action to varying extents.