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The “patriotic upbringing” will become a major character to specify a socially motivated non-governmental organisation /NGO/. This is the main point of the bill, which the government presented several days earlier to the State Duma. Human rights activists fear the law may introduce an ideology in the civil society, thus dividing the latter into “patriots and anti-patriots.”
The bill’s accompanying document reads it has been suggested “to set a mechanism of state support for non-governmental organisations, which are participating actively in the Russian Federation’s patriotic upbringing of the citizens,” the RBC daily writes. The suggestion about state subsidies to NGOs, upbringing patriots, came in November of 2012 from the Pobeda /Victory/ organisational committee, chaired by Vladimir Putin. Later on, the ministry of labour designed the addendum. In compliance with the Russian legislation, a state support may be provided only to socially oriented NGOs, for example, those involved in social welfare, aid in overcoming catastrophes and natural calamities, in environment protection, etc.
The Izvestia quotes President of the Centre for Political Technologies Igor Bunin as saying that the bill had not come out of the blue sky. “The document has been drafted specially for the former Nashi, who are expecting a rebranding and new managers,” the political analyst said. “While formerly, Nashi received endless money, now the businesses are refusing to finance them, and this explains the state subsidies.” The newspaper writes that a week earlier some members of the Nashi youth movement said the organisation was due to change its name and format. At the same time, their popular projects will receive the status of independent NGOs.
The text of the addendum, which the government suggests making to the law on NGO, consists of only two words – “patriotic upbringing”, the Kommersant says. These words should be inserted into the law’s article, which lists all forms of socially oriented NGOs.
In reality, “the government will give the money to who it believes necessary,” the newspaper quotes as saying a member of the Moscow Helsinki Group, a member of Yabloko’s political committee Valery Borshchev. The reasons is, he said, the very notion of “patriotic upbringing” may be rendered, on one hand, “too widely, including into it physical training, charity and any activities NGO are involved in.” On the other hand, “it may be rendered ideologically,” and this is what will be happening in Russia from now on, as “now a patriot is a person loving the present power and hating the West,” Borshchev said. For example, Memorial, he continued, is involved “in a true patriotic upbringing, but according to the law on NGOs it is considered to be a foreign agent.” “Behind the governmental addendum, which seems innocent, hides the desire to imbed ideology into the civil society,” the human rights activist said. After that, the society will not be a civil one any longer, as it “will laminate into patriotic rights experts and those anti-patriotic, into patriotic defenders of the orphans and those anti-patriotic ones.”