Russia – Walk Free Foundation – Global Slavery Index 2014




Escalating ethnic violence in Russian cities,25 coupled with regional conflict has heightened racial tension, particularly towards migrant workers from Central Asia and the Caucasus.26  Five people disappeared in 2013 after an alleged abduction-style detention by security forces in Ingushetia and another incident occurred in Chechnya in early 2013.27 

Russia – Walk Free Foundation – Global Slavery Index 2014.

Medvedev sets sights on cleaner public procurement with new Russian laws

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)

The first and only national referendum in Soviet history

The first and only national referendum in Soviet history

Twenty years ago, on March 17, 1991, the first and only national referendum in Soviet history was held. Citizens of the Soviet republics were offered the opportunity to express themselves on the matter of the preservation of the union state in “an updated form.” And although six of the union republics refused to participate, the majority of the remaining population voted in favor of the preservation of the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, only a few months later, the Soviet Union ceased to exist.

Today, Rossiyskaya Gazeta experts (Gleb Pavlovsky [president of the Effective Politics Foundation], Valery Khomyakov [general director of the National Strategy Council], Dmitry Orlov [general director of the Agency for Political and Economic Communications], Boris Makarenko [first deputy general director of the Center for Political Technologies]) share their assessments of the event.

The referendum did not fail; it was the Soviet Union that failed. Of course, ultimately referendum results were annulled when Mikhail Gorbachev stepped down as president of the Soviet Union. It is also important that the referendum was the last collective expression of the peoples of the Soviet Union, which could have been something to rely on in certain actions. But the actions of the Soviet leadership were destructive.”

Many party members were categorically against this wording – they did not oppose preservation of the Soviet Union, but were against socialist values.

Most people voted ‘yes’ in the referendum. The same people who said ‘yes’ to ‘preserving the Soviet Union based on socialist values’ had forgotten everything and voted for independence.

The situation that happened with the referendum reaffirms the double-sided position of the Soviet leadership. If the Soviet leadership had conducted the referendum more precisely and acted more decisively in accordance with its results, without allowing for a collapse of the Soviet budget, for example, or unconstitutional actions by the Soviet republics, then it could have been a completely different situation. I agree with Vladimir Putin’s assessment that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century. Six of the 15 republics boycotted the referendum and unequivocally opposed the union. The referendum was not perfect, because the very wording – ‘Are you for or against the updated Soviet Union?’ – was unclear. A result of the referendum was a new union agreement, into which several union republics tried to enter in August.

(Via The Russia and India Report)

Alcohol blamed for half of Russia’s premature deaths

Alcohol blamed for half of Russia’s premature deaths

Excessive drinking causes nearly half of all deaths among Russian men of working age, researchers have found. British researchers who investigated drinking habits in one town in the Urals found men were imbibing colognes, medical tinctures and cleaning agents containing up 97 per cent alcohol.

Past studies have suggested that Russian men drink more than 15 litres of pure alcohol a year on average – equivalent to a 70cl bottle of spirits a week.

Professor David Leon and colleagues from the LSHTM and the Social Technologies Institute in Izhevsk say earlier research has neglected the “vast area of manufactured alcohol” and the significant contribution it makes to the death rate.

“We only came across it when we were sitting round a table with our colleagues in Izhevsk and asking what could men be drinking,” said Professor Leon. “They mentioned tinctures and eau de colognes. We had no idea this was going on.”

A 100ml bottle of Hawthorn tincture is more than 90 per cent alcohol and costs 15 roubles (35p), compared with the cheapest vodka which is 70 roubles for a standard bottle (700ml) and only 40 per cent alcohol. “Not only is it cheaper unit for unit of alcohol, but because it comes in smaller bottles it is cheaper to buy,” said Professor Leon. “We have pictures of eau de colognes – shelves and shelves of them displayed like a drinks counter in a supermarket rather than an aftershave counter. In Omsk we visited a shop where the top shelf carried a row of eau de colognes, the next one bottles of anti-freeze and the one below that cleaning fluids. They all contained ethanol – the way they were displayed was testimony to the fact that they were being sold for their ethanol.”

Professor Leon said men who turned to these products had entered a downward spiral that accelerated as their drinking increased.

(Via The Independent)

Alcoholism in the countries of the old Soviet Union not because of Chernobyl

Alcoholism in the countries of the old Soviet Union not because of Chernobyl

Some people try to blame alcoholism deaths in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus on ChernobylAlcoholism causes about half of all premature the deaths in Russia.

Alcohol has been a very important part of Russia’s social history since around the 10th century AD. Nearly every class and both genders appeared to over indulge regularly. Effectively, there was a culture of alcohol use that has continued into modern times

Because alcohol provided an excellent source of revenue, drinking was often encouraged throughout Russia. Alcohol and alcoholism in Russia continues to influence the overall morality, crime rates, social behavior and legislation.  Mikhail Gorbachev enacted an anti-alcohol campaign in 1985 that was successful for about a year, during which time male life expectancy improved by 2 years. Ukraine also had an anti-alcohol campaign from 1985-1988

Ukraine experienced a large mortality reduction during the (1985-1988 anti-alcohol) campaign. The estimates of prevented deaths revealed that at least 76% of the mortality reduction was attributable to alcohol. While in Western countries alcohol is considered as a protective factor for CHD, in Ukraine alcohol-related cardiovascular mortality is rather high. In 2004 in Ukraine total number of alcohol-related deaths was about 119,000 or 251 per 100,000 of population.

About 50-60% of men in the Ukraine are smokers

Alcohol caused the premature death of about 40% of men in the Ukraine. (PDF of the Research Paper Showing this figure)


(Via Planke Institute for Demographic Research/Environment News Service)

Investigators to Question Top Prosecutor’s Son in Gambling Case

Investigators to Question Top Prosecutor’s Son in Gambling Case

The Investigative Committee said Wednesday that it would question the son of Prosecutor General Yury Chaika in connection with an illegal gambling case, significantly raising the stakes in an ongoing turf war between investigators and the Prosecutor General’s Office.

A lawyer for the ring’s suspected mastermind, Ivan Nazarov, denied that his client had any ties to Artyom Chaika. The main suspect, Nazarov, is in custody, and investigators have accused several local prosecutors, including the Moscow region‘s chief prosecutor, Alexander Mokhov, of allowing the gambling ring to operate in exchange for free trips abroad and other gifts.

(Via Moscow Times)

(Related News stories)

Chaika‘s Son Sought in Gambling Inquiry

31 March 2011

By Alexey Eremenko / The Moscow Times

… with an illegal gambling case, significantly raising the stakes in an ongoing turf war between investigators and the Prosecutor General’s Office. The Investigative Committee said Wednesday that it would question the son of Prosecutor General Yury Chaika in connection with an illegal gambling case, significantly raising the stakes in an ongoing turf war between investigators and the Prosecutor General’s Office. A spokesman for the Investigative Committee said Artyom Chaika would be questioned “soon”…

Chaika Plans Dismissals in Turf War

30 March 2011

The Moscow Times

Prosecutor General Yury Chaika plans to fire Moscow region prosecutors accused of having ties to illegal gambling business, Kommersant reported Tuesday. Prosecutor General Yury Chaika plans to fire Moscow region prosecutors accused of having ties to illegal…

Medvedev Toughens Stance on Graft

29 March 2011

By Nabi Abdullaev / The Moscow Times

… said the percentage of his orders being implemented is close to the highs seen under Josef Stalin and that Medvedev is far ahead of his tough-talking predecessor, Vladimir Putin, in his early years in power. Medvedev ordered Prosecutor General Yury Chaika to draft legislation to assist prosecutors in their checks of officials’ income declarations. “Prepare the legal amendments. I am ready to support them in order to make the checks more clear and effective,” Medvedev said in response to…

Medvedev Intervenes in 2 Agencies’ Turf War

4 April 2011
The Moscow Times

… Kommersant reported Friday. The Thursday meeting was linked to the committee’s probe into an illegal gambling ring in the Moscow region that investigators claim operated under the protection of prosecutors, the report said. Prosecutor General Yury Chaikarequested the talks after investigators announced plans to question his son Artyom over the case, the report said. Neither the Kremlin nor the law enforcement agencies have commented on the meeting. Medvedev warned the parties not to go public…

Gambling Suspect Caught in Turf War Appeals to Kremlin

29 March 2011

The Moscow Times

… week, saying it found no evidence that Nazarov financed prosecutors’ trips. It dismissed other related accusations as well, and closed several cases against its officials and a Nazarov aide. The Investigative Committee will ask Prosecutor General Yury Chaika to reopen these cases and related criminal inquiries into top prosecutors from Moscow region towns of Noginsk and Klin also linked to Nazarov, committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told Interfax on Saturday. Chaika‘s agency also closed eight criminal…

Lithuania ties minorities’ educational tongue

Lithuania ties minorities’ educational tongue

The Lithuanian parliament has adopted a law that cuts school hours for Russian language classes in Russian schools. Teachers say the law violates the rights of national minorities.

Under the new rules, starting in the next academic year the country’s history, geography, as well natural history and civil studies will be taught in Lithuanian. The law also provides that school hours for the national language should not exceed the amount of lessons of Lithuanian. All this will lead to the drastic reduction of academic hours of disciplines taught in the native language.

From 2013 all school graduates from both Lithuanian and national minority schools should pass a standardized Lithuanian language exam, which sets the same requirements for native and non-native speakers of Lithuanian.

“The step has nothing to do with the integration of national minorities, on the contrary, it’s a direct violation of their rights. It is definitely a road to complete assimilation,” said head of the Association of Russian school teachers Ella Kanaite. She added that the country’s “democracy” has double standards. Indeed, she added, the parliament which adopted the law flatly ignored more than 60,000 signatures collected by Russian and Polish diasporas in support of their constitutional right to education in their native language.

(Via Russia Today)

Russian bombers ‘intercepted in British airspace’

Russian bombers ‘intercepted in British airspace’

March 25, 2010 (last year)

Rare photos of Russian strategic bomber jets purportedly intercepted in British airspace show Moscow’s war machine is becoming increasingly bold, analysts said Thursday as Russia denied any territorial violations.

Britain’s Ministry of Defence released images it said were taken earlier this month of two Russian Tu-160 bombers — known as Blackjacks by NATO forces — as they entered UK airspace near the Outer Hebrides islands off Scotland’s northwest coast.

It said the March 10 incident, which resulted in crystal clear images of the planes against clear blue skies and a dramatic sunset, was one of many intercepts carried out by British Royal Air Force crews in just over 12 months.

“This is not an unusual incident, and many people may be surprised to know that our crews have successfully scrambled to intercept Russian aircraft on more than 20 occasions since the start of 2009,” Wing Cdr. Mark Gorringe, of the RAF’s 111 Squadron, said in a statement.

(Via CNN)