Central Asian Affairs is a peer-reviewed journal that is published quarterly. It aims to feature innovative social science research on contemporary developments in the wider Central Asian region. Its coverage includes Central Asia, Afghanistan, the Caucasus, Xinjiang, neighboring powers (China, Iran, Pakistan, India, Russia, Turkey), and the role of leading international powers and donors in this region.
Central Asian Affairs informs scholarly discourse and policy discussions on the region by engaging experts from across the academic arena, drawing on a diverse array of disciplines including political science, sociology, anthropology, economics, development studies, and security studies.
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Research on Russian civil society focuses largely on the repressive legislative side of state policies, to the virtual exclusion of the rise of domestic funding, be it individual, corporate, or public. This article instead contributes to the discussion of state funding for the third sector by looking at the Russian Presidential Grant Fund, a state institution that has disbursed RUB18 billion (approx. $275 million at the August 11, 2019, exchange rate) to the third sector since 2016, making it one of the most influential sources of financial support to Russian civil society. A data-driven analysis of the Fund reveals that, although it prioritizes certain types of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) over others, there is a discernible attempt to address some of the most pressing social ills in Russia today. Whereas some grant directions, such as the “preservation of historical memory” and “development of public diplomacy and support of compatriots,” further long-held, Kremlin-sponsored ideological projects, the biggest categories supported by the Fund focus on more classical philanthropic issues, confirming the state’s growing delegation of the provision of public services to the third sector.