THERE ARE AN ESTIMATED 1,049,700 PEOPLE IN MODERN SLAVERY IN RUSSIA – THIS IS EQUIVALENT TO 0.7315% OF THE ENTIRE POPULATION
Escalating ethnic violence in Russian cities, coupled with regional conflict has heightened racial tension, particularly towards migrant workers from Central Asia and the Caucasus. Five people disappeared in 2013 after an alleged abduction-style detention by security forces in Ingushetia and another incident occurred in Chechnya in early 2013.
Russia – Walk Free Foundation – Global Slavery Index 2014.
Russian military stops issuing soldiers with cigarettes, offers candy instead
Real changes in culture? Or more cosmetic façades?
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Colonel General Dmitry Bulgakov has announced that the Defense Ministry will no longer purchase cigarettes for soldiers, Russian website Gazeta.ru reports.
“There are no cigarettes in our new military allowance. We have replaced cigarettes for the army with caramel candies and sugar. However, we can’t prohibit smoking completely. If a soldier wants to smoke, he will have to buy cigarettes with his own money at a store during his period of leave,” Bulgakov said.
Bulgakov also announced that all Russian officers will change their footwear by 2013.
“We have developed special office shoes for officers. They are lightweight shoes made of high-quality leather, which let soldier’s feet breathe. Women’s boots will be substituted too. Now we will distribute refined shoes for our beautiful military women. And, of course, the unpleasant naval jacket with a high collar will be replaced by a convenient sweater.” Bulgakov said.
Russia groans under the weight of its rubbish
Landfill areas in Russia are bigger than some countries and authorities call for more recycling and tougher action against pollution.
With more than 2,000 square km of rubbish and solid waste rotting across Russia, the total area is six times the size of Malta.
Only 30 per cent of Russia’s waste is recycled properly, leading to 80 billion tons being dumped across the country.
The volume increases by 7 billion tons each year, the Federation Council’s first vice-speaker Alexander Torshin said at a national ecological forum, Moskovsky Komsomolets reported.
Vladimir Putin has also warned that the authorities need to act if they want to change the ecological situation in the country.
The Prime Minister said that about 15 per cent of Russian territory is in poor ecological condition, Interfax reported.
“In almost all of the country’s regions air and water pollution remain high,” Putin said at a meeting devoted to improving Russia’s ecology.
Federation Council first vice-speaker Alexander Torshin suggests that in the coming years we will begin mining trash piles for secondary resources (he continues to suggest that this could rival Gas/Oil as a source of resources/wealth)
(Via Johnson’s Russia List)
Medvedev sets sights on cleaner public procurement with new Russian laws
As three government departments set about drawing up a new Public Procurement Law, President Medvedev reiterated the need for more openness in the procurement system last week, calling for tougher anti-corruption measures.
“I repeat that we need clear, transparent and effective rules in the state procurement system, especially as concerns planning state procurement needs, setting the initial purchase prices for goods and services, and managing and monitoring the way contracts are performed,” he said at a meeting to discuss the execution of presidential instructions.
The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, the Finance Ministry and Economic Development Ministry are drawing up new legislation that better regulates the state procurement process.
Kickbacks in state procurement programs have been a serious problem in Russia, with Konstantin Chuichenko, head of the presidential oversight administration, estimating last November that they amount to one trillion rubles ($32.5 billion) a year.
(Via Modern Russia)
To Lure Foreign Investment, Russian President Calls for Reform
The president of Russia, Dmitri A. Medvedev, on Wednesday proposed a sweeping change to the management of the country’s many state-run companies, saying an overhaul that would remove ministers from the boards of directors is overdue.
After a decade of rolling back the results of its early post-Soviet privatizations, the Russian economy is again top-heavy with government-run companies, particularly in the oil and natural gas industries.
As president, Mr. Putin had appointed loyal officials in his government to crucial positions on the boards of large companies dealing in energy, transportation, military industry and aviation. Igor I. Sechin, a deputy prime minister overseeing the oil industry, is chairman of the state oil company Rosneft, for example.
Mr. Kudrin is on the board of Alrosa, Russia’s diamond mining company.
Mr. Medvedev, when he served as deputy prime minister before his election as president in 2008, had also served as chairman of Gazprom, the big natural gas company.