About the Agency For Social Information

Elena Topoleva, ASI Director

Elena Topoleva, Director
Andrey Topolev, Co-Director
Agentstvo Sotsialnoi Informatsii
ul.Chayanova 15, bld.5, 5-th floor
125267 Moscow Russia
Tel. (7-095) 250-6160, 250-6175
Tel/Fax: 250-6156
email: asi@aha.ru
Web: http://www.asi.org.ru

The Agency of Social Information (ASI) is a Moscow-based, independent information agency that works to support Russia's emerging third sector of non-governmental, nonprofit social organizations. Founded in 1994 through the initiative of Post Factum News Agency, two Russian charitable foundations-"Dusha Cheloveka" (Human Soul) and "NAN" (No to Alcoholism and Drug Addiction)-and others, the agency disseminates news and information about third sector organizations, upcoming events, and social issues in an effort to publicize the work of Russian NGOs and foster social support for their initiatives. The agency claims to be the only professional news agency currently working in the sphere of Russia's third sector.

Thirteen employees (six full-time) manage the preparation and distribution of the agency's various publications. Director Elena Topoleva and Co-Director Andrei Topolev have extensive experience in research, editing and publishing. From 1993-1995 Elena was Head of Publishing and Andrey Commercial Director at the Postfactum News Agency in Moscow. Prior to their work together, Elena served as Editor-in-Chief of the "Third Sector" bulletin from 1994-1995, Editor of the Foreign Policy Association bulletins in 1991-92, and Editor of the publishing House Russky Yazyk from 1985-1991. Elena holds a Masters degree in Philology from Lomonosov Moscow State University.

Andrey worked as a researcher at the All Russian Institute of Market Research, Ministry of Foreign Trade, from 1985-1992 and as a translator for the Soviet Embassy in the Congo from 1983-1985. He was also a Russian language instructor at Antananarivo University in Madagascar from 1978-1979, after receiving a Master's degree in History and Philology from Moscow University of Peoples Friendship in 1978. Andrey currently works at ASI on a full-time basis.

The remainder of the agency's full-time staff consist of Network Correspondent Elena Kruchkova, Editor Maria Mosina, Subscription Manager Maria Propper, and Accountant Anastasia Klyagina. Andrei and Elena Topolev are proud of the competence of this small but dedicated staff, noting the wealth of publishing and computer skills as well as third sector experience that each member brings to the agency. In July 1996, regional affiliates of ASI were established in St. Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, and Nizhny Novgorod by existing NGOs in each city to support the work of ASI's central office.

ASI's publications include:

News Bulletin: This weekly 22-26 page publication reports on a wide range of third sector activities in Russia, such as upcoming conferences, news programs, cooperation with government and commercial structures, and work with international foundations. It publishes information on grants and grant-making organizations, and produces brief profiles of third sector organizations. Reports on the status of legislation for nonprofit agencies are also provided. The bulletin is distributed to a prestigious list of Russian media clients, various government structures, private corporations, and both Russian and international nonprofit organizations and individuals. It is also sent by electronic mail (in Russian) to over 200 organizations in Russia and abroad. (Approximately 90% of subscribers are in Russia.) Center for Civil Society International translates selections from it each week and posts these to the CCSI mailing list,Civilsoc.

Analytical Bulletin: In collaboration with the charitable foundation "Soprichastnost", ASI publishes a monthly informational and analytical bulletin which addresses current social issues in Russia through interviews, essays, and statistical information. This bulletin has been in publication since May 1996.

"Society and Power" Monthly Bulletin: Since January 1997, thanks to a grant from Moscow city government, ASI has been publishing this monthly bulletin devoted to the growing interaction between local authorities in Moscow and NGOs.

Independent Essays: ASI frequently prepares individual articles profiling specific organizations, or discussing topical social issues and NGO activities. Approximately 200 such articles covering events between November 1994 and the present are available through ASI in both English and Russian. Articles are sent to newspapers, periodicals, and are distributed to subscribers.

NGO Database: The agency maintains a database of nongovernmental organizations, totaling over 500 records to date. The database is organized by sphere of activity.

Consulting:In addition to the above information, ASI offers consultation upon request to Russian NGOs in such areas as media relations, advertising, fundraising, and organizing public events and press conferences. In addition, leading Russian media organizations increasingly look to ASI as a centralized clearinghouse of information about NGOs.

ASI publications are regularly distributed to both the Russian and international NGO community, mass media organizations such as Moscow newspapers, radio and TV programs, and state agencies such as the Ministry of Social Protection of the Population of the Russian Federation, the Committee for Affairs of Public Associations and of Religious Organizations at the State Duma, and the Moscow Mayor's Office. Foreign organizations in Moscow are also subscribers to the agency's information bulletins. Publications are distributed primarily through electronic mail, but can also be obtained by fax or in person at ASI's central offices. Subscription rates for ASI's weekly and bi-monthly bulletins are the following:

Individuals:                                   $25.00/year
Nonprofit organizations:                       $50.00/year
All other organizations and media:             $50.00/month
In the United States, subscriptions to ASI's services are handled by Center for Civil Society International. For further information on these services, please contact CCSI at 2929 NE Blakeley St., Seattle, WA 98105. Tel. (206) 523-4755, fax (206) 523-1974, e-mail: ccsi@u.washington.edu.

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