Modern Russia at the moment is precisely that social space where the democratization of public relations, increased activity and initiative of citizens and their associations are the most important conditions for its further progress. This is largely due to the creation of the necessary conditions and prerequisites for the formation of civil society in Russia.
This question is more relevant than ever in our days. In this article we will consider the concept, signs and prerequisites for the formation of civil society.
The nature and concept of civil society
In its development, civil society goes through a number of historical stages. Its beginnings appear with the emergence of the simplest associations of people capable of collective and independent actions. The community is the primary form of civil society, which tried to ensure the satisfaction of the interests and needs of people. Subsequently, civil society is expressed in social formations such as classes, classes, which created the state in order to protect their interests.
To date, there are two key approaches to determining the content of civil society - wide and narrow. In the first, the interpretation implies a part of the population not covered by the state. So, civil society here acts as a kind of antithesis or counterbalance to the state. In this type of society, man is not just a silent object of government, but a central figure in the life of the state. Respect for civil rights and freedoms, satisfaction of personal needs of individuals - these are the values that determine the functioning and development of civil society.
In the narrow sense, civil society is a set of relations that develop outside the framework and without government intervention. Therefore, this is a certain part of human society - the sphere of non-state relations, institutions and structures, which has its own hierarchy, content and functions. Here it is a mediator between the individual and the authorities and performs the function of harmonizing public and private interests.
Civil Society Functions
We list a few of the most important functions that civil society performs:
- Protects the privacy of citizens from unreasonable strict regulation by the state.
- Creates and develops mechanisms of public self-government.
- Helps strengthen democratic government and the political system.
- It provides guarantees of the rights and freedoms of citizens, as well as equal access to participation in public and state affairs.
- At the expense of various means and sanctions, it contributes to the observance by citizens of social norms, ensures their education and socialization (function of social control).
- It informs the state about the needs of society, the satisfaction of which is possible only by the forces of the state (communication function).
- Creates structures on which social life rests (stabilizing function).
Signs and structure of civil society
The key features of such a social system include legal protection of citizens, a high level of democracy, a developed civic culture, the presence of self-government, an active social policy of the state, a variety of forms of ownership, freedom of opinion and pluralism.
An important prerequisite for the formation of civil society is the effective functioning of its structural elements. There are such forms of expression as charitable foundations, social movements, lobbying organizations, political parties, business unions, municipal communes, scientific, cultural and sports organizations and societies. The elements of civil society also include independent media, the church, and the family.
Preconditions for the formation of civil society
We determined what features and properties a similar society possesses, which functions and has a structure. The structure and prerequisites for the formation of civil society are closely related. Obviously, the above forms of social organization can be divided into groups corresponding to various spheres of public life. So, the foundations of civil society are divided into political, legal, economic and spiritual (or cultural and moral).
The political and legal prerequisite for the formation of civil society can be briefly characterized by the rule of law and the equality of all before it. As well as the separation of powers and the decentralization of their powers, access of citizens to participate in public and state organizations, political pluralism and ensuring human rights, as well as the lack of total control over the media.
The economic prerequisites for the formation of civil society are a market economy and various forms of ownership.
The cultural and moral basis of civil society, in turn, is characterized by developed moral relations, freedom of conscience, an orientation toward creating and following basic human values.
Thus, the prerequisites for the formation of a civil society in the economic sphere are market relations and private property, in the political - democracy, law and law, and in the spiritual - justice and morality.
State and civil society
Considering civil society as a form of social organization, it is impossible to separate it from the state. Nowadays, there are few areas that are exclusively in the competence of civil society, therefore, it and the state in modern conditions closely cooperate with each other.
There are two trends in their relationship:
- The de-statist trend implies a restriction of official power. This approach involves an active civil society that exercises control over the state, the expanded influence of political parties and group interests, the decentralization of a number of functions of the state, and the strengthening of self-government principles.
- Statistical tendency means an increasing role of the state. This direction is based on the need for state regulation of information and other areas of society, solving social problems, expanding international relations, attracting state capital, pursuing a balanced regional policy, etc.
It is important to emphasize that, no matter which trend prevails in this matter, the mechanism for successful interaction between civil society and government is reduced to the following principles:
- Separation of branches of power.
- Political pluralism.
- Legal opposition.
Serving society and creating the necessary conditions for a comfortable existence of an individual in it is the main purpose and function of any state. Given the functioning of a developed and effective civil society, the possibility of implementing this function opens up. It should be clarified here that civil society can develop only in a state that guarantees:
- firstly, the physical security of citizens;
- secondly, individual freedom;
- thirdly, the political and civil rights of the individual;
- fourthly, it sets the boundaries of state intervention in society.
The above characteristics describe nothing more than a legal state. The constitutional state implies such an organization of political power in the country, which is based on the supremacy of a humane and fair law, operates within the framework defined by it, and ensures the legal and social protection of its citizens. At the same time, both the government itself and citizens have the rights and obligations defined by law.
It becomes obvious that the rule of law is an essential prerequisite for the formation of civil society.
Civil Society in the Russian Federation
The Russian Federation is a legal democratic state, therefore, it has the prerequisites for the formation and development of civil society.
In post-totalitarian Russia, civil society institutions are developing quite slowly, which may be explained by the unwillingness of the population to participate in the political life of the country, as well as a low level of confidence in the authorities. In addition, we can say that the structures formed in the Russian state exist only formally and are not yet completely filled with real content.
Nevertheless, too little time has passed since the moment when reform work began in Russia, aimed at creating a rule of law and cultivating civil society in it. Over the years of reform, the country has undoubtedly changed. This is expressed in the following:
- In the economic sphere, market relations and various forms of ownership have arisen.
- In the political sphere - separation of powers, legal opposition, political pluralism, democratic regime.
- In the spiritual sphere - freedom of conscience and faith, independence of the media.
- In the legal sphere - ensuring the rights and freedoms of citizens, the mutual responsibility of the state and the individual, ensuring security.
It is obvious that in our country the prerequisites for the formation of a civil society are actively developing.
The Importance of Civil Society
The role and importance of civil society in the modern world cannot be underestimated, because it is precisely it that can ensure the implementation and development of democratic principles in the world. Its functioning means the ability to improve the standard of living of the population in general and the individual in particular. It is the state power balanced by civil society that can be the most useful and effective.