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- Member of: Barrett, The Honors College Thesis/Creative Project Collection
- Member of: Theses and Dissertations
- Status: Published
Civil society, when taken as a whole, is a complex phenomenon that incorporates several movements and can be accompanied with international support. For instance in 1987, 40 NGOs (non-governmental organizations) were registered by the government, and within 25 years, the number has increased to 300,000 in the present day Russian Federation. These numbers only include registered organizations, and do not count unregistered organizations, as approved under article 3 "Public organizations...can function without state registration and acquiring of the rights of registered legal body," or organizations that have been refused registration, such as the "Marriage Equality Russia" NGO that was denied registration in 2010. Thus the total amount of NGOs is significantly higher than 300,000. Every one of these NGOs "contribute to Russia‘s economic, political and social life in numerous ways and provide opportunities for citizens to help create better communities and elevate their voices" ("USAID in Russia"). With hundreds of thousands of organizations attempting to make a better society, they are creating a Russian civil society, one that could use the experience of countries with already well-established civil societies (Walzer). Walzer, however, notes the importance for civil society of political engagement with the state (317). In this thesis, I argue that the LGBT movement in Russia today has set an important example for other groups in civil society through its willingness to take on the Russian state through demonstrations and to use the state through the EU Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.