Kosta Dzugaev: Civil Society Is An Important Factor in the Life of the Republic

Fri, 25/02/2011 - 11:59

Public organizations played a significant role since the very declaration of the Republic of South Ossetia, said Kosta Dzugaev, the state advisor to the South Ossetian president, in his interview. "My generation", he reminded "very well remembers the activeness of NGOs in early 90s. Then, by mid-90s, new organizations were created and developed with the funding from Western partners.

A lot has been done. While working, they have accumulated a valuable experience within their project activities and contacts; there was quite a broad group of residents engaged in this activity. A serious shortcoming at that time was the procedure for receiving funding for our NGOs from Western sources through Georgian offices; the authorities closed their eyes to this taking into account the general context of the settlement and the necessity for families to survive during those difficult times". As Kosta Dzugaev noted, "the situation drastically changed after Saakashvili had come to power in Georgia and the attempts of the new regime to subdue South Ossetians in summer 2004. At that moment, almost all western structures starting from the branch office of Soros Foundation (based in Tbilisi) closed their activities here. The stage was unfolding slowly but it irreversibly led to development of contacts with Russian NGOs. This process speeded up after the genocidal aggression against us in August 2008 was rebuffed. Now, there are three-four organizations active in South Ossetia. They are in direct contact with their western partners, that is, without Georgia as a mediator (and this cannot be differently). "We are observing their activities and support any forms of contact of mutual respect with western non-state actors, if there are no political preconditions in place. The number of organizations maintaining partner relations with Russian colleagues (better to say "friends") is growing", said the advisor.
According to him, "branch office of Russian NGOs are going to open on the territory of our Republic, among which one should note the successful work of the Humanitarian Fund "Children of Russia – Future of the World" («Дети России – Будущее Мира»), this is an organization affiliated to the Orthodox Church. We welcome this tendency and hope that this year, some Russian NGOs will appear here and will start concrete projects for the benefit of the people".
The State Advisor to the President gave IA RES a detailed overview on the problems that the South Ossetian organizations encountered. The main problem is the absence of any "budgeted" (state) support to our NGOs, although we convened working meetings to discuss this issue with leading NGOs and put down an application for with a minimum required funding. The second problem is office premises. We thank the administration of Tskhinval who had found a room after we applied for help to accommodate the Coordination Council of Russian Compatriots created under the aegis of the Russian Embassy (it is worth mentioning that we have established very contacts with the Embassy in this field). The third problem is quite frequent facts of NGOs' incompliance with local legislation. For instance, all of them have to submit their annual reports to the Ministry of Justice, I reminded about this to some of the organizations, that is, there are many NGOs which still consider this unnecessary."
"It is also worth mentioning that after relevant discussions at working meetings, we submitted several proposals to the Parliament for consideration to amend the existing legislation that regulates the activities of NGOs". The State Advisor expressed his hope that the suggested amendments would soon be adopted. In the conclusion he expressed the wish that "the citizens demonstrate a more active engagement in positive public activities, taking into account the forthcoming presidential election, and at the same time, that they do not let "oppositional" initiatives guide them". He expressed his firm belief that the political experienced gained would ensure that our civil society worthily spends the Year 2011 which is extremely important for the Republic.

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