Penetrating the Dual Realities of Government–Nonprofit Relations in Russia

Lester M. Salamon, Vladimir B. Benevolenski, Lev I. Jakobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article seeks to unravel the dual realities represented by the juxtaposition of the recent series of harsh regulatory impositions on Russian nonprofit organizations and the nearly simultaneous enactment of a series of laws and decrees establishing an impressive “tool box” of positive support programs for a large class of the so-called socially oriented Russian nonprofit organizations. To do so, the discussion proceeds in three steps. First, the article documents the considerable scale of the Russian NPO scene as it is visible through the lens of available empirical research. Next, it outlines the key policy measures affecting nonprofit organizations (NPOs) put in place by the Russian government beginning in the latter part of the first decade of the 21st century. Unlike some accounts, however, this one brings into focus both the interesting “tool box” of support programs for NPOs enacted during this period as well as the more restrictive regulatory measures, such as the “foreign agents law,” that also came into force. Finally, the article seeks to unravel the puzzle posed by these apparently competing realities of Russian government policy toward nonprofit organizations by bringing to bear the conceptual lenses that Graham Allison formulated to make sense of the strange series of actions that surrounded the Cuban Missile Crisis a little over 50 years ago.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2178-2214
Number of pages37
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 8 2015


  • Government regulation
  • Nonprofit sector
  • Public administration
  • Public–private partnership
  • Russia
  • Social policy
  • Socially oriented NPO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Strategy and Management


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