Contradictions in the Development of the Welfare Non-Profit Sector in Russia


The article focuses on the core contradictions within the development of the social non-profit sector in Russia. The empirical basis of the study comprises statistical data, legal documents regulating the social services’ sphere, research data from previous studies conducted in Russia, as well as qualitative data collected for this study. The introduction provides background information on the stages of reforming the social service system in Russia. The first part is devoted to the contradictions between international trends and Russian patterns.  In line with a neoliberal approach, non-profit NGOs play a significant role as key actors in social work providing social services for different client groups. At the same time, they are not independent and Russian civil society is not yet strong enough to realize social rights of citizens. In the next section, some of the key issues of interaction between the government and NGOs are discussed. An analysis of the current situation demonstrates that while a social partnership between the state and NGOs is affirmed by authorities on official level, in practice, the state still dominates the social sector. The article then focuses on how Russian NGOs have reoriented their efforts toward financial sustainability through government support.

Author Biographies

Olga I. Borodkina, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia

Olga I. Borodkina, Dr. Sci. (Sociology), Professor, Department of Social Work Theory and Practice, Faculty of Sociology, St. Petersburg State University.  She has authored more than 100 publications. Her primary academic interests include social policy, welfare state theory, theory of social work, and public health.

Alevtina V. Starshinova, Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia

Alevtina V. Starshinova, Dr. Sci. (Sociology), Professor, Social Work Department, Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B. N. Yeltsin. She has authored more than 90 publications. Her research interests are focused on modern trends in the development of the welfare state, the Russian model of the welfare state, and non-governmental sector of social services.

Maksim A. Borodkin, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia

Maksim A. Borodkin, Researcher, St. Petersburg State University. He holds Master’s degrees in Sociology and Law. His primary research interests are related to the legal regulation of the non-profit sector, role of NGOs, and international migration.

How to Cite
Borodkina, O., Starshinova, A., & Borodkin, M. (2023). Contradictions in the Development of the Welfare Non-Profit Sector in Russia. Changing Societies & Personalities, 7(3), 45–64. doi:10.15826/csp.2023.7.3.240