Elsewhere online
February 04, 2013

Volunteerism Rises in Russia, and Lawmakers Clamp Down

Increasing numbers of Russians are engaging in community and charity work—from renovating orphanages and animal shelters to ferrying the rural elderly to far-off hospitals—even as the country's parliament prepares legislation to bring all volunteer activity under state purview, writes The Washington Post.

The past year has seen significant growth in a trend that first garnered attention in 2010, when volunteers massed to help put out peat fires that raged through forests outside Moscow, according to the Post. The new cadre of volunteers, frequently mobilized on social media, overlaps with the opposition movement that has staged large protests against President Vladimir Putin's rule.

Putin's United Russia party is behind the bill in the Duma, the lower house of Russia's legislature, to strengthen government oversight of volunteers. Supporters say the measure will ensure volunteer work conforms with the Kremlin's policies and priorities.