Russian NGOs Propose Unionizing

The Moscow Times

Russian nongovernmental organizations should form a union in order to defend their interests more effectively in disputes with the state, organizers of the third All-Russian Civil Forum hosted by former Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, were quoted by the Vedomosti newspaper as saying Monday.

The proposed organization is provisionally referred to as the Russian Third Sector Union, said Grigory Melkonyants, one of the leaders of the voters’ rights group Golos, lamenting the lack of a forum for Russian NGOs to relate their interests to authorities.

The NGO leader proposed that the union comprise the heads of charities, human rights groups, and environmental organizations with representation in at least 45 regions across Russia. The union, according to Melkonyants, could be similar to associations representing business interests.

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