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Russia

Human experience on the territory of present-day Russia dates back to Paleolithic times. Greek traders conducted extensive commerce with Scythian tribes around the shores of the Black Sea and the Crimean region. In the third century B.C., Scythians were displaced by Sarmatians, who in turn were overrun by waves of Germanic Goths. In the third century A.D., Asiatic Huns replaced the Goths and were in turn conquered by Turkic Avars in the sixth century. By the ninth century, Eastern Slavs began to settle in what is now Ukraine, Belarus, and the Novgorod and Smolensk regions.

In 862, the political entity known as Kievan Rus was established in what is now Ukraine and lasted until the 12th century. In the 10th century, Christianity became the state religion under Vladimir, who adopted Greek Orthodox rites. Consequently, Byzantine culture predominated, as is evident in much of Russia's architectural, musical, and artistic heritage. Over the next centuries, various invaders assaulted the Kievan state and, finally, Mongols under Batu Khan destroyed the main population centers except for Novgorod and Pskov and prevailed over the region until 1480.

In the post-Mongol period, Muscovy gradually became the dominant principality and was able, through diplomacy and conquest, to establish suzerainty over European Russia. Ivan III (1462-1505) was able to refer to his empire as "the Third Rome" and heir to the Byzantine tradition, and a century later the Romanov dynasty was established under Tsar Mikhail in 1613.

During Peter the Great's reign (1689-1725), Russia began modernizing, and European influences spread in Russia. Peter created Western-style military forces, subordinated the Russian Orthodox Church hierarchy to the Tsar, reformed the entire governmental structure, and established the beginnings of a Western-style education system. His introduction of European customs generated nationalistic resentments in society and spawned the philosophical rivalry between "Westernizers" and nationalistic "Slavophiles" that remains a key dynamic of current Russian social and political thought.

Peter's expansionist policies were continued by Catherine the Great, who established Russia as a continental power. During her reign (1762-96), power was centralized in the monarchy, and administrative reforms concentrated great wealth and privilege in the hands of the Russian nobility.

Napoleon failed in his attempt in 1812 to conquer Russia after occupying Moscow; his defeat and the continental order that emerged following the Congress of Vienna (1814-15) set the stage for Russia and Austria-Hungary to dominate the affairs of eastern Europe for the next century.

During the 19th century, the Russian Government sought to suppress repeated attempts at reform from within. Its economy failed to compete with those of Western countries. Russian cities were growing without an industrial base to generate employment, although emancipation of the serfs in 1861 foreshadowed urbanization and rapid industrialization late in the century. At the same time, Russia expanded across Siberia until the port of Vladivostok was opened on the Pacific coast in 1860. The Trans-Siberian Railroad opened vast frontiers to development late in the century. In the 19th century, Russian culture flourished as Russian artists made significant contributions to world literature, visual arts, dance, and music.

Imperial decline was evident in Russia's defeat in the unpopular Russo-Japanese war in 1905. Subsequent civic disturbances forced Tsar Nicholas II to grant a constitution and introduce limited democratic reforms. The government suppressed opposition and manipulated popular anger into anti-Semitic pogroms. Attempts at economic reform, such as land reform, were incomplete.

The ruinous effects of World War I, combined with internal pressures, sparked the March 1917 uprising, which led Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate the throne. A provisional government came to power, headed by Aleksandr Kerenskiy. On November 7, 1917, the Bolshevik Party, led by Vladimir Lenin, seized control and established the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic. Civil war broke out in 1918 between Lenin's "Red" army and various "White" forces and lasted until 1920, when, despite foreign interventions, the Bolsheviks triumphed. After the Red army conquered Ukraine, Belorussia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia, a new nation was formed in 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The U.S.S.R. lasted 69 years. In the 1930s, tens of millions of its citizens were collectivized under state agricultural and industrial enterprises. Millions died in political purges, the vast penal and labor system, or in state-created famines. During World War II, as many as 20 million Soviet citizens died. In 1949, the U.S.S.R. developed its own nuclear arsenal.

First among its political figures was Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik Party and head of the first Soviet Government, who died in 1924. In the late 1920s, Josif Stalin emerged as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) amidst intraparty rivalries; he maintained complete control over Soviet domestic and international policy until his death in 1953. His successor, Nikita Khrushchev, served as Communist Party leader until he was ousted in 1964. Aleksey Kosygin became Chairman of the Council of Ministers, and Leonid Brezhnev was made First Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee in 1964, but in 1971, Brezhnev rose to become "first among equals" in a collective leadership. Brezhnev died in 1982 and was succeeded by Yuriy Andropov (1982-84), Konstantin Chernenko (1984-85), and Mikhail Gorbachev, who resigned as Soviet President on December 25, 1991. On December 26, 1991, the U.S.S.R. was formally dissolved.

After the December 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation became its largest successor state, inheriting its permanent seat on the UN Security Council, as well as the bulk of its foreign assets and debt.

Boris Yeltsin was elected President of Russia by popular vote in June 1991. By the fall of 1993, politics in Russia reached a stalemate between President Yeltsin and the parliament. The parliament had succeeded in blocking, overturning, or ignoring the President's initiatives on drafting a new constitution, conducting new elections, and making further progress on democratic and economic reforms.

In a dramatic speech in September 1993, President Yeltsin dissolved the Russian parliament and called for new national elections and a new constitution. The standoff between the executive branch and opponents in the legislature turned violent in October after supporters of the parliament tried to instigate an armed insurrection. Yeltsin ordered the army to respond with force to capture the parliament building (known as the White House).

In December 1993, voters elected a new parliament and approved a new constitution that had been drafted by the Yeltsin government. Yeltsin has remained the dominant political figure, although a broad array of parties, including ultra-nationalists, liberals, agrarians, and communists, have substantial representation in the parliament and compete actively in elections at all levels of government.

In late 1994, the Russian security forces launched a brutal operation in the Republic of Chechnya against rebels who were intent on separation from Russia. Along with their opponents, Russian forces committed numerous violations of human rights. The Russian Army used heavy weapons against civilians. Tens of thousands of them were killed and more than 500,000 displaced during the course of the war. The protracted conflict, which received close scrutiny in the Russian media, raised serious human rights and humanitarian concerns abroad as well as within Russia.

After numerous unsuccessful attempts to institute a cease-fire, in August 1996 the Russian and Chechen authorities negotiated a settlement that resulted in a complete withdrawal of Russian troops and the holding of elections in January 1997. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) played a major role in facilitating the negotiation. A peace treaty was concluded in May 1997. Following an August 1999 attack into Dagestan by Chechen separatists and the September 1999 bombings of two apartment buildings in Moscow, the federal government launched a military campaign into Chechnya. Russian authorities accused the Chechen government of failing to stop the growth of the rebels activities and failure to curb widespread banditry and hostage taking in the republic. By Spring 2000, federal forces claimed control over Chechen territory, but fighting continues as rebel fighters regularly ambush Russian forces in the region.

 

ECONOMY

The Russian economy underwent tremendous stress as it moved from a centrally planned economy to a free market system. Difficulties in implementing fiscal reforms aimed at raising government revenues and a dependence on short-term borrowing to finance budget deficits led to a serious financial crisis in 1998. Lower prices for Russia's major export earners (oil and minerals) and a loss of investor confidence due to the Asian financial crisis exacerbated financial problems. The result was a rapid decline in the value of the ruble, flight of foreign investment, delayed payments on sovereign and private debts, a breakdown of commercial transactions through the banking system, and the threat of runaway inflation.

Russia, however, appears to have weathered the crisis relatively well. Real GDP increased by the highest percentage since the fall of the Soviet Union, the ruble stabilized, inflation was moderate, and investment began to increase again. Russia is making progress in meeting its foreign debts obligations. During 2000-01, Russia not only met its external debt services but also made large advance repayments of principal on IMF loans but also built up Central Bank reserves with government budget, trade, and current account surpluses. The FY 2002 Russian Government budget assumes payment of roughly $14 billion in official debt service payments falling due. Large current account surpluses have brought a rapid appreciation of the ruble over the past several years. This has meant that Russia has given back much of the terms-of-trade advantage that it gained when the ruble fell by 60% during the debt crisis. Oil and gas dominate Russian exports, so Russia remains highly dependent upon the price of energy. Loan and deposit rates at or below the inflation rate inhibit the growth of the banking system and make the allocation of capital and risk much less efficient than it would be otherwise.

In 2003, the debt will rise to $19 billion due to higher Ministry of Finance and Eurobond payments. However, $1 billion of this has been prepaid, and some of the private sector debt may already have been repurchased. Russia continues to explore debt swap/exchange opportunities.

In the June 2002 G8 Summit, leaders of the eight nations signed a statement agreeing to explore cancellation of some of Russia's old Soviet debt to use the savings for safeguarding materials in Russia that could be used by terrorists. Under the proposed deal, $10 billion would come from the United States and $10 billion from other G-8 countries over 10 years.

Russia's GDP, estimated at $287.9 billion at 2002 exchange rates, increased by 4.9% in 2001 compared to 2000. However, this rate slowed compared to the phenomenal 8% growth in 2000. Continued low inflation and strict government budget led to the growth, while lower oil prices and ruble appreciation slowed it. At the end of 2001, the unemployment rate was 9.0%, down from 10.4% at the end of 2000. Combined unemployment and underemployment may exceed those figures. Industrial output in 2001 grew by 4.9% compared to 2000, driven by private consumption demand. The contribution of fixed capital investment, an important contributor to growth in 1999, lost its importance in industrial growth.

The exchange rate stabilized in 1999; after falling from 6.5 rubles/dollar in August 1998 to about 25 rubles/dollar by April 1999, one year later it had further depreciated only to about 28.5 rubles/dollar. As of June 2002, the exchange rate was 31.4 rubles/dollar, down from 29.2 rubles/dollar the year before. After some large spikes in inflation following the August 1998 economic crisis, inflation has declined steadily. Cumulative consumer price inflation for 2001 was 18.6% slightly below the 20.2% inflation rate of the previous year but above the inflation target set in the 2001 budget. The Central Bank's accumulation of foreign reserves drove inflation higher and that trend is expected to continue. The 2002 budget estimates an inflation rate of 12%, but the World Bank predicts inflation will stay above 15% in 2002.

Central and local government expenditures are about equal. Combined they come to about 38% of GDP. Fiscal policy has been very disciplined since the 1998 debt crisis. The overall budget surplus for 2001 was 2.4% of GDP, allowing for the first time in history for the next year's budget to be calculated with a surplus (1.63% of GDP). Much of this growth, which exceeded most expectations for the third consecutive year, was driven by consumption demand. Analysts remain skeptical that high rates of economic growth will continue, particularly since Russia's planned budgets through 2005 assume that oil prices will steadily increase. Low oil prices would mean that the Russian economy would not achieve its projected growth. However, high oil prices also would have negative economic effects, as they would cause the ruble to continue to appreciate and make Russian exports less competitive.

The mineral-packed Ural Mountains and the vast oil, gas, coal, and timber reserves of Siberia and the Russian Far East make Russia rich in natural resources. However, most such resources are located in remote and climactically unfavorable areas that are difficult to develop and far from Russian ports. Oil and gas exports continue to be the main source of hard currency, but declining energy prices have hit Russia hard. Russia is a leading producer and exporter of minerals, gold, and all major fuels. The Russian fishing industry is the world's fourth-largest, behind Japan, the United States, and China. Russia accounts for one-quarter of the world's production of fresh and frozen fish and about one-third of world output of canned fish. Natural resources, especially energy, dominate Russian exports. Ninety percent of Russian exports to the United States are minerals or other raw materials.

Russia is one of the most industrialized of the former Soviet republics. However, years of very low investment have left much of Russian industry antiquated and highly inefficient. Besides its resource-based industries, it has developed large manufacturing capacities, notably in machinery. Russia inherited most of the defense industrial base of the Soviet Union, so armaments are the single-largest manufactured goods export category for Russia. Efforts have been made with varying success over the past few years to convert defense industries to civilian use.

Russia comprises roughly three-quarters of the territory of the former Soviet Union but has relatively little area suited for agriculture because of its arid climate and inconsistent rainfall. Northern areas concentrate mainly on livestock, and the southern parts and western Siberia produce grain. Restructuring of former state farms has been an extremely slow process. The new land code passed by the Duma in 2002 should speed restructuring and attract new domestic investment to Russian agriculture. Foreigners are not allowed to own farmland in Russia. Private farms and garden plots of individuals account for over one-half of all agricultural production.

In 1999, investment increased by 4.5%, the first such growth since 1990. Investment growth has continued at high rates from a very low base, with an almost 30% increase in total foreign investments in 2001 compared to the previous year. Higher retained earnings, increased cash transactions, the positive outlook for sales, and political stability have contributed to these favorable trends. Foreign investment in Russia is very low. Cumulative investment from U.S. sources of about $4 billion are about the same as U.S. investment in Costa Rica. Over the medium-to-long term, Russian companies that do not invest to increase their competitiveness will find it harder either to expand exports or protect their recent domestic market gains from higher quality imports.

Foreign direct investment, which includes contributions to starting capital and credits extended by foreign co-owners of enterprises, rose slightly in 1999 and 2000, but decreased in 2001 by about 10%. Foreign portfolio investment, which includes shares and securities, decreased dramatically in 1999, but has experienced significant growth since then. In 2001, foreign portfolio investment was $451 million, more than twice the amount from the previous year. Inward foreign investment during the 1990s was dwarfed by Russian capital flight, estimated at about $15 billion annually. During the years of recovery following the 1998 debt crisis, capital flight seems to have slowed. Inward investment from Cyprus and Gibraltar, two important channels for capital flight from Russia in recent years, suggest that some Russian money is returning home.

A significant drawback for investment is the banking sector, which lacks the resources, the capability, and the trust of the population that it would need to attract substantial savings and direct it toward productive investments. Russia's banks contribute only about 3% of overall investment in Russia. While ruble lending has increased since the October 1998 financial crisis, loans are still only 40% of total bank assets. The Central Bank of Russia reduced its refinancing rate five times in 2000, from 55% to 25%, signaling its interest in lower lending rates. Interest on deposits and loans are often below the inflation rate. The poorly developed banking system makes it difficult for entrepreneurs to raise capital and to diversify risk. Banks still perceive commercial lending as risky, and some banks are inexperienced with assessing credit risk.

Money on deposit with Russian banks represents only 7% of GDP. Sberbank receives preferential treatment from the state and holds 73% of all bank deposits. It also is the only Russian bank that has a federal deposit insurance guarantee. Sergei Ignatiev recently replaced Vikto Gerashchenko as Chairman of the Russian Central Bank. Under his leadership, necessary banking reforms, including stricter accounting procedures and federal deposit insurance, are likely to be implemented.

In 1999, exports were up slightly, while imports slumped by 30.5%. As a consequence, the trade surplus ballooned to $33.2 billion, more than double the previous year's level. In 2001, the trend shifted, as exports declined while imports increased. World prices continue to have a major effect on export performance, since commodities, particularly oil, natural gas, metals, and timber comprise 80% of Russian exports. Ferrous metals exports suffered the most in 2001, declining 7.5%. On the import side, steel and grains dropped by 11% and 61%, respectively.

Most analysts predict these trade trends will continue to some extent in 2002. In the first quarter of 2002, import expenditures were up 12%, increased by goods and a rapid rise of travel expenditure. The combination of import duties, a 20% value-added tax and excise taxes on imported goods (especially automobiles, alcoholic beverages, and aircraft) and an import licensing regime for alcohol still restrain demand for imports. Frequent and unpredictable changes in customs regulations also have created problems for foreign and domestic traders and investors. In March 2002, Russia placed a ban on poultry from the United States. In the first quarter of 2002, exports were down 10% as falling income from goods exports was partly compensated for by rising services exports, a trend since 2000. The trade surplus decreased to $7 billion from well over $11 billion the same period last year.

 

BELIEFS

The Russian Orthodox Church traces its origins to the time of Kievan Rus', the first forerunner of the modern Russian state. In A.D. 988 Prince Vladimir made the Byzantine variant of Christianity the state religion of Russia. The Russian church was subordinate to the patriarch of Constantinople (present-day Istanbul), seat of the Byzantine Empire. The original seat of the metropolitan, as the head of the church was known, was Kiev. As power moved from Kiev to Moscow in the fourteenth century, the seat moved as well, establishing the tradition that the metropolitan of Moscow is the head of the church. In the Middle Ages, the church placed strong emphasis on asceticism, which evolved into a widespread monastic tradition. Large numbers of monasteries were founded in obscure locations across all of the medieval state of Muscovy. Such small settlements expanded into larger population centers, making the monastic movement one of the bases of social and economic as well as spiritual life.

After the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, the Russian Orthodox Church evolved into a semi-independent (autocephalous) branch of Eastern Christianity. In 1589 the metropolitan of Moscow received the title of patriarch. Nevertheless, the Russian church retained the Byzantine tradition of authorizing the head of state and the government bureaucracy to participate actively in the church's administrative affairs. Separation of church and state thus would be almost unknown in Russia.

As Western Europe was emerging from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance and the Reformation, Russia remained isolated from the West, and Russian Orthodoxy was virtually untouched by the changes in intellectual and spiritual life being felt elsewhere. In the seventeenth century, the introduction by Ukrainian clergy of Western doctrinal and liturgical reforms prompted a strong reaction among traditionalist Orthodox believers, resulting in a schism in the church.

In the early eighteenth century, Peter the Great modernized, expanded, and consolidated Muscovy into what then became known as the Russian Empire. In the process of redefining his power as tsar, Peter curtailed the minimal secular influence of the Russian Orthodox Church, which was functioning principally as a pillar of the tsarist regime. In 1721 Peter the Great went so far as to abolish the patriarchate and establish a governmental organ called the Holy Synod, staffed by secular officials, to administer and control the church. As a result, the church's moral authority declined in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, the monastic tradition produced a number of church elders who gained the respect of all classes in Russia as wise counselors on both secular and spiritual matters. Similarly, by 1900 a strong revival movement was calling for the restoration of church autonomy and organizational reform. However, few practical reforms had been implemented when the October Revolution of 1917 brought to power the Bolsheviks, who set about eliminating the worldly and spiritual powers of the church. Ironically, earlier in 1917 the moderate Provisional Government had provided the church a few months of restoration to its pre-Petrine stature by reestablishing the patriarchate and independent governance of the church. In the decades that followed, the communist leadership frequently used the restored patriarch as a propaganda agent, allowing him to meet with foreign religious representatives in an effort to create the impression of freedom of religion in the Soviet Union.

Karl Marx, the political philosopher whose ideas were nominally followed by the Bolsheviks, called religion "the opiate of the people." Although many of Russia's revolutionary factions did not take Marx literally, the Bolshevik faction, led by Vladimir I. Lenin, was deeply suspicious of the church as an institution and as a purveyor of spiritual values. Therefore, atheism became mandatory for members of the ruling Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik). To eliminate as soon as possible what was deemed the perverse influence of religion in society, the communists launched a propaganda campaign against all forms of religion.

By 1918 the government had nationalized all church property, including buildings. In the first five years of the Soviet Union (1922-26), twenty-eight Russian Orthodox bishops and more than 1,200 priests were executed, and many others were persecuted. Most seminaries were closed, and publication of most religious material was prohibited. The next quarter-century saw surges and declines in arrests, enforcement of laws against religious assembly and activities, and harassment of clergy. Antireligious campaigns were directed at all faiths; beginning in the 1920s, Buddhist and Shamanist places of worship in Buryatia, in the Baikal region, were destroyed, and their lamas and priests were arrested (a practice that continued until the 1970s). The League of the Militant Godless, established in 1925, directed a nationwide campaign against the Orthodox Church and all other organized religions. The extreme position of that organization eventually led even the Soviet government to disavow direct connection with its practices. In 1940 an estimated 30,000 religious communities of all denominations survived in all the Soviet Union, but only about 500 Russian Orthodox parishes were open at that time, compared with the estimated 54,000 that had existed before World War I.

In 1939 the government significantly relaxed some restrictions on religious practice, a change that the Orthodox Church met with an attitude of cooperation. When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, the government reluctantly solicited church support as it called upon every traditional patriotic value that might resonate with the Soviet people. According to witnesses, active church support of the national war effort drew many otherwise alienated individuals to the Soviet cause. Beginning in 1942, to promote this alliance, the government ended its prohibition of official contact between clergy and foreign representatives. It also permitted the traditional celebration of Easter and temporarily ended the stigmatization of religiosity as an impediment to social advancement.

The government concessions for the sake of national defense reinvigorated the Russian Orthodox Church. Thousands of churches reopened during the war. But the Khrushchev regime (1953-64) reversed the policy that had made such a revival possible, pursuing a violent six-year campaign against all forms of religious practice. Although the church retained its official sanction throughout that period, Khrushchev's campaign was continued less stringently by his successor, Leonid I. Brezhnev (in office 1964-82). By 1975 the number of operating Russian Orthodox churches had been reduced to about 7,000. Some of the most prominent members of the Russian Orthodox hierarchy and religious activists were jailed or forced to leave the church. Their place was taken by a docile clergy whose ranks were sometimes infiltrated by agents of the Committee for State Security (Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti--KGB; see Glossary). Under these circumstances, the church espoused and propagated Soviet foreign policy and furthered the Russification of non-Russian believers, such as Orthodox Ukrainians and Belorussians.

Despite official repression in the Khrushchev and Brezhnev years, religious activity persisted. Although regular church attendance was common mainly among women and the elderly, special occasions such as baptisms and Easter brought many more Russians into the churches. An increase in church weddings in the 1950s and 1960s stimulated the establishment of secular "marriage palaces" offering the ceremonial trappings of marriage devoid of religious rites. When applications for seminary study increased significantly in the 1950s, the Communist Youth League (Komsomol) forced aspiring seminarians to endure interrogations that discouraged many and that succeeded, by 1960, in sharply reducing the number of candidates.

The general cultural liberalization that followed Stalin's death in 1953 brought a natural curiosity about the Russian past that especially caught the interest of younger generations; the ceremonies and art forms of the Russian Orthodox Church, an inseparable part of that past, attracted particular attention, to the dismay of the Khrushchev and Brezhnev regimes. Historian James Billington has pointed out that in that period religious belief was a form of generational rebellion by children against doctrinaire communist parents.

Although the Russian Orthodox Church did not play the activist role in undermining communism that the Roman Catholic Church played in Poland and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, it gained appreciably from the gradual discrediting of Marxist-Leninist ideology in the late Soviet period. In the mid-1980s, only about 3,000 Orthodox churches and two monasteries were active. As the grip of communism weakened in that decade, however, a religious awakening occurred throughout the Soviet Union. Symbolic gestures by President Gorbachev and his government, under the rubric of glasnost, indicated unmistakably that Soviet policy was changing. In 1988 Gorbachev met with Orthodox leaders and explicitly discussed the role of religion in the lives of their followers. Shortly thereafter, official commemoration of the millennium of Russian Orthodoxy sent a signal throughout Russia that religious expression again was accepted. Beginning in 1989, new laws specified the church's right to hold private property and to distribute publications. In 1990 the Soviet legislature passed a new law on religious freedom, proposed by Gorbachev; at the same time, some of the constituent republics began enacting their own laws on the same subject. In the fall of 1990, a new deputy to the parliament of the Russian Republic, the Orthodox priest Gleb Yakunin, guided the passage of an extraordinarily liberal law on religious freedom. That law remained in force when Russia became a separate nation the following year. (Yakunin was defrocked in 1994, however, for criticizing the church hierarchy.)

According to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Aleksiy II, between 1990 and 1995 more than 8,000 Russian Orthodox churches were opened, doubling the number of active parishes and adding thirty-two eparchies (dioceses). In the first half of the 1990s, the Russian government returned numerous religious facilities that had been confiscated by its communist predecessors, providing some assistance in the repair and reconstruction of damaged structures. The most visible such project was the building of the completely new Christ the Savior Cathedral, erected in Moscow at an expense of about US$300 million to replace the showplace cathedral demolished in 1931 as part of the Stalinist campaign against religion. Financed mainly by private donations, the new church is considered a visible acknowledgment of the mistakes of the Soviet past.

In the first half of the 1990s, the church's social services also expanded considerably with the creation of departments of charity and social services and of catechism and religious education within the patriarchy. Because there is a shortage of priests, Sunday schools have been introduced in thousands of parishes. An agreement between the patriarchy and the national ministries of defense and internal affairs provides for pastoral care of military service personnel of the Orthodox faith. The patriarch also has stressed that personnel of other faiths must have access to appropriate spiritual guidance. In November 1995, Minister of Defense Grachev announced the creation of a post in the armed forces for cooperation with religious institutions.

Among the religious organizations that have appeared in the 1990s are more than 100 Russian Orthodox brotherhoods. Reviving a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages, these priest-led lay organizations do social and philanthropic work. In 1990 they formed the Alliance of Orthodox Brotherhoods, which organizes educational, social, and cultural programs and institutions such as child care facilities, hostels, hospitals, and agricultural communities. Although its nominal task is to foster religious and moral education, the alliance has taken actively nationalist positions on religious tolerance and political issues.

Public opinion surveys have revealed that the church emerged relatively unscathed from its association with the communist regime--although dissidents such as Yakunin accused Aleksiy II of having been a KGB operative. According to polls, in the first half of the 1990s the church inspired greater trust among the Russian population than most other social and political institutions. Similarly, Aleksiy II, elected to head the church upon the death of Patriarch Pimen in 1990, was found to elicit greater grassroots confidence than most other public figures in Russia. The political leadership regularly seeks the approval of the church as moral authority for virtually all types of government policy. Boris Yeltsin's appearance at a Moscow Easter service in 1991 was considered a major factor in his success in the presidential election held two months later. Patriarch Aleksiy officiated at Yeltsin's inauguration that year.

Although the status of Russian Orthodoxy has risen considerably, experts do not predict that it will become Russia's official state religion. About 25 percent of Russia's believers profess other faiths, and experts stated that in the mid-1990s the church lacked the clerics, the organizational dynamism, and the infrastructure to assume such a position.

Article 14 of the 1993 constitution stipulates that "the Russian Federation is a secular state. No religion may be established as the state religion or a compulsory religion. Religious associations are separated from the state and are equal before the law." However, such a constitutional guarantee existed even during the Stalinist era, when religious oppression was at its worst. In the 1990s, the Russian citizenry has shown that the traditional, deeply felt linkage between Russian Orthodoxy and the Russian state remains intact. That linkage has a palpable effect on Russian secular attitudes toward religious minorities, and hence on the degree to which the new constitutional guarantee of religious liberty is honored.

Even before the demise of the Soviet Union, the new openness of Russian society had attracted religious activists of many persuasions from all over the world. In Moscow evangelists and missionaries filled the airwaves and the streets. Notable among them were German Lutherans, a Roman Catholic missionary society, Swiss Protestant church groups, the Quakers, the Salvation Army, and the Sisters of Charity, a Roman Catholic order of nuns headed by Mother Teresa. Also present were members of such groups as the Hare Krishnas, the Unification Church, and the Church of Scientology.

The activity of such groups, which paralleled Russia's new enthusiasm for all things Western in the late 1980s and early 1990s, had begun to wane by 1994. However, it stimulated a strong reaction among conservative political and religious groups. In November 1992, the influential conservative wing of the Russian parliament reacted to the influx of non-Russian religious activists by proposing the creation of a so-called Experts' Consultative Council of church representatives and government officials. That body would have had the power to tighten the requirements for registration of a religious group or missionary activity.

After a flurry of criticism from international human rights and religious groups, President Yeltsin failed to sign the consultative council bill, which died in the fall of 1993. After a new parliament convened, additional versions of the bill appeared. In mid-1996 a somewhat milder bill requiring registration of foreign missionary groups was passed by parliament. Meanwhile, some eighteen jurisdictions in the federation passed a variety of bills restricting missionary activity or requiring registration. Non-Orthodox religious groups also found that the purchase of land and the rental of building space were blocked increasingly by local authorities.

In the 1990s, the Russian Orthodox hierarchy's position on the issue of religious freedom has been muted but negative in many respects, as church officials have seen themselves defending Russian cultural values from Western ideas. Patriarch Aleksiy lent his support to the restrictive legislation as it was being debated in 1993, and Western observers saw an emerging alliance between the Orthodox Church and the nationalist factions in Russian politics. In another indication of its attitude toward the proliferation of "foreign" religious activity in Russia, the hierarchy has made little active effort to establish contacts with new foreign religious groups or with existing groups, and experts see scant hope that an ecumenical council of churches will be established in the near future. In October 1995, the Orthodox Church's governing Holy Synod refused to participate in a congress of Orthodox hierarchs because the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople had recognized the Orthodox community in Estonia and an autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

In 1995 the Yeltsin administration formed a consultative body called the Council for Cooperation with Religious Associations, which included representatives from most of the major denominations. On the council, the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches and Islamic organizations have two members each, with one representative each for Buddhist, Jewish, Baptist, Pentecostal, and Seventh-Day Adventist representatives. Council decisions have only the status of recommendations to the government.

The Soviet Union was home to large numbers of Christians who were not followers of the Russian Orthodox Church. Several other churches had numerous adherents, including the Georgian Orthodox Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church (also called the Armenian Orthodox Church), and the Ukrainian and Belorussian autocephalous Orthodox churches, which, like the Russian Orthodox Church, were rooted in Byzantine rather than Roman Christianity. All of these faiths likewise endured persecution by the Soviet state. A large number of Roman Catholics and Protestants of various denominations also resided in the Soviet Union. But, because the majority of non-Orthodox Christians were concentrated in the Soviet republics of Ukraine, Belorussia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, the representation of non-Russian Orthodox groups in post-Soviet Russia is much less than it was in the Soviet Union.

The first West European Protestants in Russia were German Mennonites who arrived in the second half of the seventeenth century. Throughout the twentieth century, the Baptists have been by far the most active and numerous Protestant group. During the repressive 1960s, enthusiastic Baptist groups attracted numerous young Russians away from the official Komsomol, and the fervor of the Baptists in a nominally atheist society earned them admiration even among communist officials. The number of Protestants in the Soviet Union was estimated at 5 million in 1980; in 1993 an estimated 3,000 Baptist communities were active under the administration of the Eurasian Federation of Unions of Evangelical Baptist Christians. Within that structure, the Union of Evangelical Baptist Churches includes about 1,000 communities and supports two missionary groups and one publication. Headquarters is in Moscow. The Council of Churches of Evangelical Baptist Christians was founded in 1961 as a splinter group from what was then the Union of Evangelical Baptist Christian Churches; it existed illegally in Russia until 1988 and is not registered officially as a religious group. In the mid-1990s, the council included 230 communities.

Other Protestant groups in Russia have far fewer members than the Baptists. The Union of Evangelical Christian Churches was founded in 1992 to continue the tradition of the Union of Evangelical Christians, which had been founded in Russia in 1909 and then banned under communist rule. Pentecostals first became active in Russia in the early twentieth century. In 1945 one faction reunited with the main Baptist church; then in 1991 the remaining group formed the Union of Christians of the Evangelical Faith Pentecostal, which issues several publications and supports missions.

The Seventh-Day Adventists formed a Russian union in 1909, despite active government opposition. The church structure was largely destroyed during the Soviet period. Then, after World War II, the All-Union League of Seventh-Day Adventists was established. The union was inactive from 1960 until 1990, when it was included in the international General Assembly of Adventists. About 600 communities were active in the mid-1990s, with publications, one seminary, one religious school, and a radio broadcast center.

The Jehovah's Witnesses appeared in Russia in 1939; their center in St. Petersburg and their missionary work in Russia are supported by the Jehovah's Witnesses Center in Brooklyn, New York. Lutheranism appeared in Russia in the seventeenth century; in the mid-1990s, only a few churches were active. A few groups of Methodists, Presbyterians, Mormons, and Evangelical Reformed believers also are active in Russia.

The size of the Roman Catholic population of Russia has varied greatly according to the territorial extent of the country. For example, after the partitions of Poland at the end of the eighteenth century, large numbers of Polish Catholics became subjects of the Russian Empire. Accordingly, from the eighteenth century until 1917 a papal legate, or nuncio, represented the Vatican in St. Petersburg. A Roman Catholic academy operated in St. Petersburg, and a mission was established in Astrakhan'. After World War II, the absorption of the Baltic states added many Catholics to the Soviet Union's population, but relatively few of those individuals entered the Russian Republic. In 1993 twenty-nine Roman Catholic dioceses were active in the Russian Federation, with those in the European sector administered from Moscow and those in the Asian sector from Novosibirsk.

The 1990 establishment of new Roman Catholic dioceses in Russia has caused tension with the Russian Orthodox hierarchy. The two churches have an understanding that neither will proselytize in the "territory" of the other, so representatives of the patriarch have condemned expanding Catholic influence as an unwelcome Western intrusion.

In the 1980s, Islam was the second most widespread religion in the Soviet Union; in that period, the number of Soviet citizens identifying themselves as Muslims generally totaled between 45 and 50 million. The majority of the Muslims resided in the Central Asian republics of the Soviet Union, which now are independent countries. In 1996 the Muslim population of Russia was estimated at 19 percent of all citizens professing belief in a religion. Major Islamic communities are concentrated among the minority nationalities residing between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea: the Adyghs, Balkars, Bashkirs, Chechens, Cherkess, Ingush, Kabardins, Karachay, and numerous Dagestani nationalities. In the middle Volga Basin are large populations of Tatars, Udmurts, and Chuvash, most of whom are Muslims. Many Muslims also reside in Ul'yanovsk, Samara, Nizhniy Novgorod, Moscow, Perm', and Leningrad oblasts.

Virtually all the Muslims in Russia adhere to the Sunni branch of Islam. In a few areas, notably Chechnya, there is a tradition of Sufism, a mystical variety of Islam that stresses the individual's search for union with God. Sufi rituals, practiced to give the Chechens spiritual strength to resist foreign oppression, became legendary among Russian troops fighting the Chechens during tsarist times.

Relations between the Russian government and Muslim elements of the population have been marked by mistrust and suspicion. In 1992, for example, Sheikh Ravil Gainurtdin, the imam of the Moscow mosque, complained that "our country [Russia] still retains the ideology of the tsarist empire, which believed that the Orthodox faith alone should be a privileged religion, that is, the state religion." The Russian government, for its part, fears the rise of political Islam of the violent sort that Russians witnessed in the 1980s firsthand in Afghanistan and secondhand in Iran. Government fears were fueled by a 1992 conference held in Saratov by the Tajikistan-based Islamic Renaissance Party. Representatives attended from several newly independent Central Asian republics, from Azerbaijan, and from several autonomous jurisdictions of Russia, including the secessionist-minded autonomous republics of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan. The meeting's pan-Islamic complexion created concern in Moscow about the possible spread of radical Islam into Russia from the new Muslim states along the periphery of the former Soviet Union. For that reason, the Russian government has provided extensive military and political support to secular leaders of the five Central Asian republics, all of whom are publicly opposed to political Islam. By the mid-1990s, the putative Islamic threat was a standard justification for radical nationalist insistence that Russia regain control of its "near abroad".

The struggle to delineate the respective powers of the federal and local governments in Russia also has influenced Russian relations with the Islamic community. The Russian Federation inherited two of the four spiritual boards, or muftiates, created during the Stalinist era to supervise the religious activities of Islamic groups in various parts of the Soviet Union; the other two are located in Tashkent and Baku. One of the two Russian boards has jurisdiction in European Russia and Siberia, and the other is responsible for the Muslim enclaves of the North Caucasus and Transcaspian regions. In 1992 several Muslim associations withdrew from the latter muftiate and attempted to establish their own spiritual boards. Later that year, Tatarstan and Bashkortostan withdrew recognition from the muftiate for European Russia and Siberia and created their own muftiate.

There is much evidence of official conciliation toward Islam in Russia in the 1990s. The number of Muslims allowed to make pilgrimages to Mecca increased sharply after the virtual embargo of the Soviet era ended in 1990. Copies of the Quran (Koran) are readily available, and many mosques are being built in regions with large Muslim populations. In 1995 the newly established Union of Muslims of Russia, led by Imam Khatyb Mukaddas of Tatarstan, began organizing a movement aimed at improving interethnic understanding and ending Russians' lingering conception of Islam as an extremist religion. The Union of Muslims of Russia is the direct successor to the pre-World War I Union of Muslims, which had its own faction in the Russian Duma. The postcommunist union has formed a political party, the Nur All-Russia Muslim Public Movement, which acts in close coordination with Muslim clergy to defend the political, economic, and cultural rights of Muslims and other minorities. The Islamic Cultural Center of Russia, which includes a medrese (religious school), opened in Moscow in 1991. The Ash-Shafii Islamic Institute in Dagestan is the only such research institution in Russia. In the 1990s, the number of Islamic publications has increased. Among them are two magazines in Russian, Ekho Kavkaza and Islamskiy vestnik , and the Russian-language newspaper Islamskiye novosti , which is published in Makhachkala, Dagestan.

Judaism began to have an influence on Russian culture and social attitudes in the sixteenth century, shortly after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain by Queen Isabella in 1492. In the centuries that followed, large numbers of Jews migrated to Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Belorussia. Much of the anti-Semitism that developed subsequently among Russian peasants came from the identification of Jews with activities such as tax collection and the administration of the large estates on which the peasants worked, two of the few occupations Jews were allowed to pursue in tsarist Russia. Anti-Semitism followed the Jews from Western Europe, and already in the sixteenth century the culture of Muscovy contained a strong element of that attitude. When Poland was partitioned at the end of the eighteenth century, large numbers of Jews came into the Russian Empire, giving Russia the largest Jewish population (about 1.5 million) in the world. For the next 120 years, tsarist governments restricted Jewish settlements to what was called the Pale of Settlement, established by Catherine II in 1792 to include portions of the Baltic states, Ukraine, Belorussia, and the northern shore of the Black Sea.

During the nineteenth century, restrictions on the Jewish population were alternately eased and tightened. Alexander II (r. 1855-81), for example, relaxed restrictions on settlement, education, and employment. Alexander's assassination in 1881 brought reimposition of all previous restrictions, which then remained in force until 1917. During that period, Jews were beaten and killed and their property destroyed in government-sanctioned pogroms led by a group called the Black Hundreds. Despite repressive conditions in Russia and high levels of emigration to the United States, the Jewish population grew rapidly in the nineteenth century; by the beginning of World War I, an estimated 5.2 million Jews lived in Russia.

Within their areas of settlement, the Russian Jews developed a flourishing culture, and many of them became active in the revolutionary movements that sprang up in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. But much of the long period of violence that began with World War I in 1914 and continued until the Civil War ended in 1921 took place in the regions inhabited by the Jews, many of whom were killed indiscriminately by the various armies struggling for power. After World War I, parts of the western territory of the former Russian Empire became the independent nations of Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland, a development that left many Russian Jews outside the borders of what now was the Soviet Union. By 1922 Russia's Jewish population had been reduced by more than half.

In the early years of the Soviet Union, Jews gained much more freedom to enter the mainstream of Russian society. Although relatively few supported the explicit program of the Bolsheviks, the majority expected that the new state would offer much greater ethnic and religious tolerance than had the tsarist system. In the 1920s, hundreds of thousands of Jews were integrated into Soviet economic and cultural life, and many acquired prominent positions. Among them were communist leaders Leon Trotsky, Lazar Kaganovich, Maksim Litvinov, Lev Kamenev, and Grigoriy Zinov'yev; writers Isaak Babel', Veniamin Kaverin, Boris Pasternak, Osip Mandel'shtam, and Ilya Ehrenburg; and cinematographer Sergey Eisenstein. Special Jewish sections were established in the All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik). Then, in the 1930s the purges initiated by Stalin targeted groups for their ethnic and social identities. As non-Russians stereotyped as intellectuals, the Jews were targets in two categories. As part of Soviet ethnic policy, the Jewish Autonomous Oblast (Yevreyskaya avtonomnaya oblast', later called Birobidzhan) was established in 1934. But the oblast never was the center of the Soviet Union's Jewish population. Only about 50,000 Jews settled in this jurisdiction, which is located along the Amur River in the farthest reaches of the Soviet Far East.

When Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, about 2.5 million Jews were killed by the Germans or by their Slavic collaborators. Jews who escaped to areas untouched by the Nazis often suffered from the resentment of local populations who envied their education or supposed wealth.

Between World War II and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia's Jewish population declined steadily, thanks to emigration, a low birth rate, intermarriage, and concealment of identity. In 1989 the official total was 537,000. Of the number remaining at that point, only about 9,000 were living in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, and, by 1995, only an estimated 1,500 Jews remained in the oblast. The Jews of Russia always have been concentrated overwhelmingly in the larger cities, especially Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Odessa--partly because of the traditional ban, continued from tsarist times, on Jews owning land. Although 83 percent of Jews claimed Russian as their native language in the 1979 census, the Soviet government recognized Yiddish as the national language of the Jewish population in Russia and the other republics.

In the early 1980s, the Kremlin's refusal to allow Jewish emigration was a major issue of contention in Soviet-American relations. In 1974 the United States Congress had passed the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which offered the Soviet Union most-favored-nation trade status in return for permission for Soviet Jews to emigrate. The Soviet Union responded by relaxing its restrictions, and in the years that followed there was a steady flow of Jewish emigrants from the Soviet Union to Israel. But the intensification of the Cold War in the years after the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan brought new restrictions that were not lifted fully until 1989, when a new surge of emigration began. Between 1992 and 1995, the emigration of Jews from Russia averaged about 65,000 per year, after reaching a peak of 188,000 in 1990. In 1996 the Russian government began curtailing the activity of the Jewish Agency, an internationally funded organization that has sponsored Jewish emigration since the 1940s.

The Soviet and Russian governments have always regarded the Jews not only as a distinct religious group but also as a nationality. This attitude persists in the post-Soviet era despite a provision in Article 26 of the 1993 constitution prohibiting the state from arbitrarily determining a person's nationality or forcing a person to declare a nationality.

Although official anti-Semitism has ceased and open acts of anti-Semitism have been rare in Russian society since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Jews have remained mindful of their history in Russia and skeptical of the durability of liberalized conditions. Traditional anti-Semitism in the Russian Orthodox Church and the increasing power of ultranationalist and neofascist political forces are the principal causes of concern; Jews also fear that they might become scapegoats for economic difficulties. Nevertheless, in the early 1990s Judaism has shown a slow but sure revival, and Russia's Jews have experienced a growing interest in learning about their religious heritage. In January 1996, a major event was publication in Russia of a Russian translation of a volume of the Talmud. The first such publication since before the Bolshevik Revolution, the volume marks the start of a series of Talmudic translations intended to provide Russian Jews with information about their religion's teachings, which until 1996 had been virtually unavailable in Russia.

With Jews becoming more willing to identify themselves, official estimates of the Jewish population increased between 1992 and 1995, from 500,000 to around 700,000. The Jewish population of Moscow has been estimated in the mid-1990s at between 200,000 and 300,000. Of that number, about 15 percent are Sephardic (non-European).

The number of Jews participating in religious observances remains relatively small, even though organizations such as the Hasidic (Orthodox) Chabad Lubavitch actively encourage full observance of religious traditions. In Moscow the Lubavitchers, whose activism has met with hostility from many Russians, run two synagogues and several schools, including a yeshiva (academy of Talmudic learning), kindergartens, and a seminary for young women. The organization also is active in charity work.

In the 1990s, a number of organizations devoted to the fostering of Jewish culture and religion have been established in Moscow. These include a rabbinical school, a Jewish youth center, a union of Hebrew teachers, and a Jewish cultural and educational society. The orthodox Jewish community also campaigned successfully for the return of the Shneerson books, a collection of manuscripts that had been stored in the Lenin State Library in Moscow since Soviet authorities confiscated them in the 1920s.

 

CRIMINAL CODES

In the mid-1990s, several efforts were made to pass a Criminal Code of the Russian Federation to replace the inadequate and antiquated Criminal Code of the RSFSR, which was passed in the 1960s and had remained the fundamental law of the land, with numerous amendments, since that time. In December 1995, Yeltsin, heeding MVD objections to certain articles, vetoed a code that had been developed by his own State Law Directorate and passed by parliament. No amended code was expected until after the presidential election of July 1996. Meanwhile, Russia lacked laws on organized crime and corruption under which mafiya and economic crimes could be prosecuted.

In the absence of a comprehensive overhaul of the Criminal Code, Yeltsin responded to the growing problem of crime by enacting measures that broadly expanded police powers. In June 1994, he issued a presidential decree, Urgent Measures to Implement the Program to Step Up the Fight Against Crime. The decree included major steps to increase the efficiency of the law enforcement agencies, including material incentives for the staff and better equipment and resources. The decree also called for an increase of 52,000 in the strength of the MVD Internal Troops and for greater coordination in the operations of the Federal Counterintelligence Service (FSK), the MVD, and other law enforcement bodies. Control over the issuing of entry visas and the private acquisition of photocopiers was to be tightened. The decree also mandated the preparation of laws broadening police rights to conduct searches and to carry weapons.

Yeltsin's anticrime decree had the stated purpose of preserving the security of the society and the state; however, the system of urgent measures it introduced had the effect of reducing the rights of individuals accused of committing crimes. Under the new guidelines, individuals suspected of serious offenses could be detained up to thirty days without being formally charged. During that time, suspects could be interrogated and their financial affairs examined. The secrecy regulations of banks and commercial enterprises would not protect suspects in such cases. Intelligence service representatives have the authority to enter any premises without a warrant, to examine private documents, and to search automobiles, their drivers, and their passengers. Human rights activists protested the decree as a violation of the 1993 constitution's protection of individuals from arbitrary police power. Already in 1992, Yeltsin had expanded the infamous Article 70, a Soviet-era device used to silence political dissent, which criminalized any form of public demand for change in the constitutional system, as well as the formation of any assemblage calling for such measures.

The 1995 draft Criminal Code included an article specifically prohibiting "conspiracy with the aim of seizing power and forcibly changing the constitutional form of government," an activity subject to a sentence of up to life imprisonment. The new law opened the concept of conspiracy to broad interpretation by state authorities, varying from a meeting held by the leadership of an opposition party to a simple telephone conversation between two citizens.

The draft code also broadened the law on violations of civil rights on the basis of nationality or race, which carries a maximum sentence of five years. As in the case of conspiracy and political statutes, the ambiguity of the nationality and race law opened the door for serious abuses of individual rights. Prosecutors and judges were granted wide latitude in deciding what constitute "acts directed at incitement of social, national, racial, or religious hostility or discord." Such a charge could be leveled easily in a society with a huge variety of ethnic and religious groups, particularly groups with existing claims of autonomy or traditions of hostility toward one another.

Many legal experts considered the new draft Criminal Code, which is a synthesis of presidential and State Duma proposals, to be a significant improvement over the old code. But, unlike Western states, Russia does not have a tradition of respect for legal rights or a well-established, balanced system of justice to interpret and administer the laws. Many of the laws adopted in the early 1990s concern crimes whose investigation is delegated to the security police, which have a history of human rights abuses and were not placed under effective oversight by the reforms of the early 1990s. Thus, in the atmosphere of relative political pluralism and freedom of expression in the first years of the Yeltsin administration, security agents still sometimes take advantage of the law to employ KGB-style tactics.

Despite a lack of sympathy for personal liberty, in the early 1990s the Yeltsin administration made some reforms in the legal system to protect the rights of the individual. In June 1992, the Code of Criminal Procedure was amended to give a detainee the right to legal counsel immediately, rather than, as in the past, only after initial questioning. A detainee's right to demand a judicial review of the legality and grounds for detention also was recognized. In practice, however, these changes often have been offset by other laws intended to protect the state at the expense of the individual. The clearest example is Yeltsin's sweeping anticrime decree of 1992, but other instances have followed. In March 1995, Yeltsin issued a decree against fascist organizations and practices, which gave the security police broad new authority to arrest and investigate suspects. Under the 1995 draft Criminal Code, a person under arrest could not appeal to the courts to protest his or her confinement, but only to the procurator. The president also could appoint a special prosecutor to bring "highly placed individuals" to justice, thus undermining the principle of independent judges. The new code also extended the maximum period of internment of suspects without formal charges from three to seven days, although the counsel for the defense could not become acquainted with the materials of the criminal case until after the preliminary investigation had been completed.

With the advent of glasnost and the appearance of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) in the Soviet Union, open scientific and journalistic discussion of homosexuality began in 1987. The issue became politicized in 1990 as gays and lesbians began attacking discrimination as a human rights issue. At this point, strong arguments appeared for abolishing Article 121 of the Criminal Code, which stipulated that sex between men (but not between women) was a crime. Despite increasingly strong opinion against Article 121, in the early 1990s nationalists and communists joined some religious organizations in opposing decriminalization. Meanwhile, the number of convictions under Article 121 decreased steadily. Although Russia's new Criminal Code had not been ratified as of mid-1996, substantial modifications had been made to Article 121 by that time.

After many delays and amendments, a new Criminal Code went into effect on January 1, 1997. An estimated 150,000 criminal cases were expected to require review based on the new code, and many prisoners will be released because the laws under which they were convicted no longer exist. A separate criminal correction code defining conditions in the prison system was scheduled to go into effect in July 1997.

There is no crime that is not indicated in the criminal code. This is the sole source of criminal legislation. The Code classifies crimes into two categories: major offenses, such as rape, kidnapping, treason, espionage, crimes against the justice system, serious violent crimes, and murder; minor offenses such as offenses against property, hooliganism, and offenses against the public order. This distinction is used to determine sentencing of offenders' and the type of correctional institutions to which they are sent.

The Criminal code includes a number of drug statutes which make illegal: 1)unlawful production, transportation, storage, mailing or distribution of drugs; 2)stealing drugs; 3)inclination to consume drugs; 4)unlawful obtaining and storage of a small quantity of drugs; 5)cultivation of poppy or hemp; 6)organization of haunts for consummation of drugs. The list of illegal drugs was created by the Constant Committee for Drug Control of the Health Care Ministry of Russia in compliance with the Uniform International Convention on Drugs 1961. It contains more than 400 substances including opium, morphine, hemp, heroin, cocaine, and codeine. In addition, there is a list of drastic remedies and poisons that are illegal to produce, transport, store, or distribute.

A new Criminal Procedures Code that took effect beginning in July for the first time permitted the application of existing Constitutional provisions that individuals could be arrested, taken into custody, or detained, only upon a judicial decision. After the introduction of the new Code the number of criminal cases opened by the Procuracy declined by 25 percent; the number of suspects placed in pretrial detention declined by 30 percent; and the courts rejected 15 percent of requests for arrest warrants. Judges released some suspects held in excess of allotted time when the Government failed properly to justify its request for extension, and the Supreme Court overturned some lower court decisions to grant pretrial detention considered inadequately justified. Early indications were that the changes were having an effect on the behavior of police, prosecutors, and the judicial system. Human rights advocates reported that the strict new limits on time held in police custody without access to family or lawyers, and the stricter standards for opening cases, have discouraged abuse of suspects by police as well.

 

INCIDENCE OF CRIME

Because the Soviet Union did not publish comprehensive crime statistics, comparison of its crime rates with those of other countries is difficult. According to Western experts, robberies, murders, and other violent crimes were much less prevalent than in the United States because of the Soviet Union's larger police presence, strict gun controls, and relatively low incidence of drug abuse. By contrast, white-collar economic crime permeated the Soviet system. Bribery and covert payments for goods and services were universal, mainly because of the paucity of goods and services on the open market. Theft of state property was practiced routinely by employees, as were various forms of petty theft. In the last years of the Soviet Union, the government of Mikhail S. Gorbachev (in office 1985-91) made a concerted effort to curtail such white-collar crime. Revelations of corruption scandals involving high-level party employees appeared regularly in the Soviet news media, and many arrests and prosecutions resulted from such discoveries.

In the first half of the 1990s, crime statistics moved sharply and uniformly upward. From 1991 to 1992, the number of officially reported crimes and the overall crime rate each showed a 27 percent increase; the crime rate nearly doubled between 1985 and 1992. By the early 1990s, theft, burglary, and other acts against property accounted for about two-thirds of all crime in Russia. Of particular concern to citizens, however, was the rapid growth of violent crime, including gruesome homicides.

Neither civilian nor military nuclear facilities have adequate security. Thefts of nuclear materials from Russia gained international attention in 1993 and 1994. In 1995 the FSB reported investigations of thirty such incidents. Such thefts assumedly were intended to supply smuggling operations into Iran and Germany, among other destinations. Although the Russian government took nominal steps to improve nuclear security early in 1995, the minister of internal affairs reported that 80 percent of nuclear enterprises lacked checkpoints. Western experts pointed to the potential for organized criminals to obtain weapons-grade nuclear materials, and in 1996 new reports described lax security at nuclear installations.

Security police reported that between 1991 and 1993 the incidence of terrorist bombings rose from fifty to 350. The methods used by organized criminals in Russia caused experts to include Russia as a likely location in their identification of a new wave of world terrorism in the 1990s. Besides organized crime, a second factor potentially contributing to terrorism is the extreme instability of economic and social conditions: high unemployment and job insecurity, friction among ethnic groups and between urban populations and job-seeking migrants into their cities, and a general decline in the standard of living. The vulnerability of Russia's isolated transport and pipeline systems and the proximity of hazardous-materials centers to cities further increase the prospect of terrorist activities. In 1995 terrorist acts and two major instances of hostage taking by Chechen separatists promoted fears that vulnerable citizens and locations in other parts of Russia might be targeted by separatist groups. In December 1995, an international conference on terrorism in Ottawa categorized the Budennovsk hostage incident of June 1995--in which Chechen guerrillas captured more than 1,000 hostages 120 kilometers inside Russian territory--with the Oklahoma City bombing and Middle Eastern terrorist acts as examples of flagrant international terrorism.

The crime rate in Russia is low compared to other industrialized countries (with the notable exception of murder and burglary). An analysis was done using INTERPOL data for Russia. For purpose of comparison, data were drawn for the seven offenses used to compute the United States FBI's index of crime. Index offenses include murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. The combined total of these offenses constitutes the Index used for trend calculation purposes. Russia will be compared with Japan (country with a low crime rate) and USA (country with a high crime rate). According to the INTERPOL data, for murder, the rate in 2001 was 23.19 per 100,000 population for Russia, 1.10 for Japan, and 5.61 for USA. For rape, the rate in 2001 was 5.66 for Russia, compared with 1.78 for Japan and 31.77 for USA. For robbery, the rate in 2001 was 30.94 for Russia, 4.08 for Japan, and 148.50 for USA. For aggravated assault, the rate in 2001 was 38.49 for Russia, 23.78 for Japan, and 318.55 for USA. For burglary, the rate in 2001 was 573.11 for Russia, 233.60 for Japan, and 740.80 for USA. The rate of larceny for 2001 was 41.09 for Russia, 1401.26 for Japan, and 2484.64 for USA. The rate for motor vehicle theft in 2001 was 26.54 for Russia, compared with 44.28 for Japan and 430.64 for USA. The rate for all index offenses combined was 738.97 for Russia, compared with 1709.88 for Japan and 4160.51 for USA. (Note that Japan data are for year 2000)

 

TRENDS IN CRIME

Between 1995 and 2001, according to INTERPOL data, the rate of murder increased from 21.43 to 23.19 per 100,000 population, an increase of 8.2%. The rate for rape decreased from 8.46 to 5.66, a decrease of 33%. The rate of robbery decreased from 120.06 to 30.94, a decrease of 74.2%. The rate for aggravated assault decreased from 41.73 to 38.49, a decrease of 7.8%. The rate for burglary increased from 204.51 to 573.11, an increase of 180.2%. The rate of motor vehicle theft decreased from 51.23 to 26.54, a decrease of 48.2%. The rate of total index offenses increased from 447.42 to 738.97, an increase of 65.1% (Note that data for larceny were excluded from Russiaís 1995 report to INTERPOL. If the rate of larceny is excluded for 2001, the index total would be 697.88 for that year, an increase of 56%).

 

LEGAL SYSTEM

The passage of a new secrecy law in 1993 indicated that the Yeltsin government was not prepared to abjure the protection of state secrets as a rationale for controlling the activities of Russian citizens. The secrecy law of 1993, harshly criticized by human rights activists, set forth in detail the procedure for labeling and protecting information whose dispersal would constitute a danger to the state. The concept of secrecy was given a broad interpretation. The law prescribed secret classifications for information on foreign policy, economics, national defense, intelligence, and counterintelligence. However, a more specific description of the classification process, including which specific types of information were to be classified as secret and which agencies and departments were authorized to classify information, was to be made public at a later date.

In general, the security police under Yeltsin do not use secrecy laws to prosecute individuals, but there have been exceptions. In October 1992, officers from the Ministry of Security arrested two chemical scientists, Vil' Mirzayanov and Lev Fedorov, for having written an article on current Russian chemical weapons research in a widely circulated daily newspaper. The article's revelation was embarrassing to the Yeltsin government because Russia had claimed it was no longer conducting such research. Although Mirzayanov was brought to trial in early 1994, public and international protest caused the Yeltsin government to release him two months later. In a landmark decision, the procurator's office awarded Mirzayanov about US$15,500 in damages for having been illegally detained.

According to Russian criminal procedure, officers of the MVD, the Federal Security Service (FSB), or the Procuracy can arrest an individual on suspicion of having committed a crime. Ordinary crimes, including murder, come under the jurisdiction of the MVD; the FSB and the Procuracy are authorized to deal with crimes such as terrorism, treason, smuggling, and large-scale economic malfeasance. The accused has the right to obtain an attorney immediately after the arrest, and, in most cases, the accused must be charged officially within seventy-two hours of the arrest. In some circumstances, the period of confinement without charge can be extended. Once the case is investigated, it is assigned to a court for trial. Trials are public, with the exception of proceedings involving government secrets.

In August 1995, the State Duma passed a law giving judges and jurors protection against illegal influence on the process of trying a case. To the extent that it actually is practiced, the new law is a significant barrier to the Soviet-era practice of judges consulting with political officials before rendering verdicts. The protection of jurors became a concern in 1995 as jury trials, outlawed since 1918, returned on an experimental basis in nine subnational jurisdictions. Between January and September 1995, some 300 jury trials were held in those areas. Although another sixteen jurisdictions applied to begin holding jury trials, in mid-1996 the State Duma had not passed enabling legislation. In 1996 the court system convicted some 99.5 percent of criminal defendants, although only 80 percent were convicted in jury trials--about the same percentage as in Western courts. Expansion of the jury system faced strong opposition among Russia's police and prosecutors because the conviction rate is much lower and investigative procedures are held to much higher standards under such a system. Meanwhile, the advent of trial by jury and a nominally independent judiciary exposed a serious problem: in 1995 there were only about 20,000 private attorneys and about 28,000 public prosecutors in all of Russia, and most judges who had functioned under the old system had never developed genuine juridical skills. By the mid-1990s, a number of younger judges were actively promoting the jury system.

In the mid-1990s, claims of illegal detention received somewhat more recognition in the Russian legal system than they had previously. An estimated 13,000 individuals won their release by court order in 1994--about 20 percent of the total number who claimed illegal detention that year. In general, the criminal justice system is more protective of individual rights than it was in the Soviet period, although the Mirzayanov case demonstrated that substantial obstacles to Western-style jurisprudence remain in Russia's legal system.

Capital punishment is reserved for grave crimes such as murder and terrorism; it cannot be inflicted on a woman or on an individual less than eighteen years old. In 1995 four offenses--terrorist acts, terrorist acts against a representative of a foreign state, sabotage, and counterfeiting--were removed from the list of capital crimes. In March 1991, Yeltsin formed a thirteen-member Pardons Commission of volunteer advisers for the specific purpose of considering reductions of death sentences. According to one member of that commission, between 1991 and 1994 the incidence of capital punishment (inflicted in Russia by firing squad) dropped sharply; in 1994 only four executions were carried out, and 124 death sentences were commuted. In 1995, however, the political pressure generated by Russia's crime wave changed the totals to eighty-six executions and only six commutations. After Yeltsin repeatedly ignored its clemency recommendations in 1995, the Pardons Commission reportedly ceased functioning in early 1996, despite the protests of Russian and international human rights organizations. Russia's membership in the Council of Europe, which became official in January 1996, requires an immediate moratorium on executions, plus complete elimination of the death penalty from the Criminal Code within three years. Russia's execution rate rose in the first months of 1996 before declining sharply.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) has a staff of several thousand responsible for investigating crimes of national and international scope such as terrorism, smuggling, treason, violations of secrecy laws, and large-scale economic crime and corruption--an area of jurisdiction similar to that of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Several other state organizations also have designated criminal investigatory responsibilities.

Russia is a federative state. According to Section 71 of the Constitution of Russia, criminal and criminal procedure law are under the exclusive jurisdiction of Federal bodies. The assurance of public order and safety is a joint duty of the federation and its parts. It should be noted that acts issued by authorities of the regions and republics forming Russia cannot contradict the laws issued by Federal bodies.

The system of courts is governed by the Justice Ministry of Russia, which has territorial branches in the federation. This ministry primarily performs financial and administrative functions. Judges are independent and make their decisions according to the rule of law. Higher courts may affirm or repeal the decisions of the lower courts according to criminal procedure rules and may also grant writs of certiorari.

The most important laws originate from: the Criminal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code, the Criminal Punishment Execution Code (in Russian it is called the Reforming Labour Code), Law on the Justice System, Law on the Militia, and Law on the Status of Judges.

History of the Criminal Justice System. The criminal legislation of Russia has its deepest roots in the first known act, Russkaya pravda, issued in 11th century. The great codification of Russian criminal legislation called Sobornoe Ulozhenie occurred in 1649. Before the revolution the Ulozhenie o nakazaniyah ugolovnich i ispravitelnich was effective. Texts of these statutes can be found in Russian legislation of X-XX centuries.. The Soviet period had a great effect on the judicial system and up to the present day there are a number of major laws, including the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code, that remain in force. In the summer of 1994, President Yeltzin approved a draft of the Criminal Code was passed in 1995. Although the Criminal Code has been amended seven times since 1990, reforms in post-Soviet criminal legislation go rather slowly. For example, the distinction between State and private property was removed from the Criminal Code only in the summer of 1994. Prior to that, the Code called for more serious punishments for crimes against State property.

 

POLICE

RUSSIA'S internal security apparatus underwent fundamental changes beginning in 1992, after the Soviet Union dissolved and what had been the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (RSFSR) was reconstituted as the Russian Federation. These changes, initiated by the government of Russian Federation president Boris N. Yeltsin, were part of a more general transition experienced by Russia's political system. The state security apparatus was restructured in the period after 1991, when the functions of the Committee for State Security (Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti--KGB) were distributed among several agencies. In that period, the interactions among those agencies and the future course of internal security policy became key issues for the Russian government. As the debate proceeded and the Yeltsin government's hold on power became weaker in the mid-1990s, some aspects of the Soviet-era internal security system remained in place, and some earlier reforms were reversed. Because Yeltsin was perceived to use the security system to bolster presidential power, serious questions arose about Russia's acceptance of the rule of law.

In the same period, Russia suffered an escalating crime wave that threatened an already insecure society with a variety of physical and economic dangers. In the massive economic transformation of the 1990s, organized-crime organizations pervaded Russia's economic system and fostered corruption among state officials. White-collar crime, already common in the Soviet period, continued to flourish. The incidence of random crimes of violence and theft also continued to increase in the mid-1990s. Meanwhile, Russia's police were handicapped in their efforts to slow the crime rate by a lack of expertise, funding, and support from the judicial system. In response to public outrage at this situation, the Yeltsin government increased the powers of internal security agencies, endangering the protections theoretically enjoyed by private citizens in post-Soviet Russia.

The KGB had been an integral feature of the Soviet state since it was established by Nikita S. Khrushchev (in office 1953-64) in 1954 to replace the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (Narodnyy komissariat vnutrennikh del--NKVD), which during its twenty-year existence had conducted the worst of the Stalinist purges. Between 1954 and 1991, the KGB acquired vast monetary and technical resources, a corps of active personnel numbering more than 500,000, and huge archival files containing political information of the highest sensitivity. The KGB often was characterized as a state within a state. The organization was a rigidly hierarchical structure whose chairman was appointed by the Politburo, the supreme executive body of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Key decisions were made by the KGB Collegium, a collective leadership including the agency's top leaders and selected republic and departmental chiefs. The various KGB directorates had responsibilities ranging from suppressing political dissent to guarding borders to conducting propaganda campaigns abroad. At the end of the Soviet period, the KGB had five chief directorates, three smaller directorates, and numerous administrative and technical support departments.

In contrast to the United States government, which assigns the functions of domestic counterintelligence and foreign intelligence to separate agencies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), respectively, the Soviet system combined these functions in a single organization. This practice grew out of the ideology of Soviet governance, which made little distinction between external and domestic political threats, claiming that the latter were always foreign inspired. According to that rationale, the same investigative techniques were appropriate for both foreign espionage agents and Soviet citizens who came under official suspicion. For example, the KGB's Seventh Chief Directorate, whose task was to provide personnel and equipment for surveillance operations, was responsible for surveillance of both foreigners and Soviet citizens.

The KGB's branches in the fourteen non-Russian republics duplicated the structure and operations of the unionwide organization centered in Moscow; KGB offices existed in every subnational jurisdiction and city of the Soviet Union. The KGB's primary internal function was surveillance of the Soviet citizenry, using a vast intelligence apparatus to ensure loyalty to the regime and to suppress all expressions of political opposition. This apparatus served as the eyes and ears of the party leadership, supplying information on all aspects of Soviet society to the Politburo.

The First Chief Directorate was responsible for KGB operations abroad. It was divided into three subdirectorates, responsible respectively for deep-cover espionage agents, collection of scientific and technological intelligence, and infiltration of foreign security operations and surveillance of Soviet citizens abroad. Segmented into eleven geographical regions, the First Chief Directorate placed intelligence-gathering officers in legal positions in embassies and elsewhere abroad. Such activities increased markedly after détente with the West in 1972 permitted many more Soviet officials to take positions in Western and Third World countries. In the 1970s and 1980s, as many as 50 percent of such officials were estimated to be conducting espionage.

The KGB Security Troops, which numbered about 40,000 in 1990, provided the KGB with coercive potential. Although Soviet sources did not specify the functions of these special troops, Western analysts believed that one of their main tasks was to guard the top leaders in the Kremlin, as well as key government and party buildings and officials at the major subnational levels. Such troops presumably were commanded by the Ninth Directorate of the KGB.

The Security Troops also included several units of signal personnel, who reportedly were responsible for installation, maintenance, and operation of secret communications facilities for leading party and government bodies, including the Ministry of Defense. Other special KGB troops performed counterterrorist and counterintelligence operations. Such troops were employed, together with the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Ministerstvo vnutrennikh del--MVD), to suppress public protests and disperse demonstrations. Special KGB troops also were trained for sabotage and diversionary missions abroad.

The Internal Troops were a component of the armed forces but were subordinate to the MVD. Numbering about 260,000 in 1990, the Internal Troops were mostly conscripts with a two-year service obligation. Candidates were accepted from both the active military and civilian society. Four schools trained the Internal Troops' officer corps.

The Internal Troops supported MVD missions by aiding the regular police in crowd control in large cities and by guarding strategically significant sites such as large industrial enterprises, railroad stations, and large stockpiles of food and matériel. A critical mission was the prevention of internal disorder that might endanger a regime's political stability. Likely working in concert with KGB Security Troops, the Internal Troops played a direct role in suppressing anti-Soviet demonstrations in the non-Russian republics and strikes by Russian and other workers. Most units of the Internal Troops were composed solely of infantry with no heavy armaments; only one operational division was present in Moscow in 1990. In this configuration, the Internal Troops also might have been assigned rear-echelon security missions in case of war; they performed this duty in World War II.

Regular police forces, called the militia, which were the direct responsibility of the MVD, also played an important role in preserving internal order and fighting corruption; regional and local jurisdictions had no police powers. The Procuracy was the chief investigatory and prosecutorial agency for nonpolitical crimes, with a hierarchical organization that provided procurators (state prosecutors) at all levels of government. Although the new Russian government made several changes in the laws and organization of criminal justice after 1991, the overall system of internal security retained many of the characteristics of its Soviet predecessor.

By early 1991, the powerful KGB organization was being dismantled. The development of the post-Soviet internal security apparatus took place in a highly volatile political environment, with President Yeltsin threatened by political opposition, economic crises, outbreaks of ethnic conflict, and sharply escalating crime. Under these circumstances, Yeltsin and his advisers had to rely on state security and internal police agencies for support in devising and implementing internal security strategies.

The KGB was dissolved officially in December 1991, a few weeks before the Soviet Union itself. Foreign observers saw the end of the KGB as a sign that democracy would prevail in the newly created Russian Federation. But President Yeltsin did not completely eliminate the security apparatus. Instead, he dispersed the functions of the former KGB among several different agencies, most of which performed tasks similar to those of the various KGB directorates.

In 1992 Yeltsin never made a clear statement of his plans for the security services, except for occasional claims that the new services would be very different from the KGB. Nevertheless, early in 1992 certain trends already could be discerned. Generally speaking, Yeltsin had three main aims for the internal security services. Above all, he wanted to use the services to support him in his battles with high-level political opponents. Second, he wanted the security apparatus to counter broader domestic threats--ethnic separatism, terrorism, labor unrest, drug trafficking, and organized crime. Third, he intended that the security apparatus carry out counterintelligence against foreign spies operating in Russia.

After the creation of fifteen new states from the republics of the former Soviet Union, the territorial branches of the former KGB were transferred to the control of the new governments of these states, each of which made reforms deemed appropriate to the political and national security needs of the regime in power. The Russian Federation, however, which as the RSFSR had housed KGB central operations in Moscow, inherited the bulk of the KGB's resources and personnel. As early as January 1992, five separate security agencies had emerged in Russia to take the place of the KGB. Four of them were concerned with internal security; the fifth was the Foreign Intelligence Service, which replaced the KGB's First Chief Directorate.

Within Russia the largest KGB successor agency was the Ministry of Security (Ministerstvo bezopasnosti--MB), which numbered some 137,000 employees and was designated a counterintelligence agency. The Ministry of Security inherited the tasks of several KGB directorates and chief directorates: the Second Chief Directorate (counterintelligence against foreigners), the Third Chief Directorate (military counterintelligence), the Fourth Directorate (transportation security), the Fifth Chief Directorate (domestic political security), the Sixth Directorate (activities against economic crime and official corruption), and the Seventh Directorate (surveillance activities).

In July 1992, Yeltsin signed--and Russia's Supreme Soviet (parliament) ratified--a law concerning the governance of the Ministry of Security. The law gave Yeltsin sweeping authority over security operations and aroused concern among Russian democrats. They worried because the new law so closely resembled the one on the KGB that had been enacted by the Soviet government just fourteen months earlier. The law conferred essentially the same mission and powers on the Ministry of Security that the earlier law had granted to the KGB, in some cases almost verbatim. The main difference was that in the past the KGB had been controlled by the leadership of the CPSU, whereas the 1992 law gave Yeltsin, as president, control of the Ministry of Security. The Russian parliament was granted some theoretical oversight functions, but they never were exercised in practice.

Yeltsin's first minister of security, former MVD chief Viktor Barannikov, left most of the organization's former KGB officials in place. In the spring of 1993, when an uneasy truce between Yeltsin and the Russian parliament was broken and the Supreme Soviet voted to deprive Yeltsin of his extraordinary presidential powers, Yeltsin called upon Barannikov and the Ministry of Security for support as the president declared the imposition of "special rule" giving him veto power over parliamentary legislation until new elections were held. However, Barannikov declined to involve his ministry in the political confrontation between the executive and legislative branches, urging that a compromise be found. When the Ministry of Defense also failed to support his position, Yeltsin backed down from his confrontational stance.

The split between Yeltsin and Barannikov was exacerbated by Barannikov's response to the government corruption issue in 1992-93. Bribe taking and behind-the-scenes deals, which had been accepted practices for Soviet officials, were traditions that died hard, especially in the absence of laws and regulations prohibiting officials from abusing their positions. When privatization of state property began, the scale of corruption increased dramatically. The overlap between government-controlled economic enterprises and private entrepreneurial ventures created vast opportunities for illegal economic activity at the highest levels.

Beginning in 1992, the Ministry of Security became involved in the war against organized crime and official corruption. Before long, however, the campaign turned into an exchange of accusations of corruption among Russia's political leaders, with the Ministry of Security in the middle. Yeltsin wanted to use the corruption campaign as a political weapon in fighting his opponents, but his own entourage was soon hit with charges of covering up crimes--a tactic of Yeltsin's enemies to which Barannikov lent at least passive support. Barannikov's failures to support Yeltsin led to the security minister's dismissal in mid-1993.

Barannikov's replacement, Nikolay Golushko, did not last long in his job. After Yeltsin's threat to dissolve the Russian parliament in September 1993, which ended in bloodshed on the streets of Moscow, the president realized that Golushko was also unwilling to use the forces of the Ministry of Security to back up the president. In this case, Yeltsin not only dismissed his minister of security but also disbanded the ministry and replaced it with a new agency, the Federal Counterintelligence Service (Federal'naya sluzhba kontrarazvedki--FSK).

The law creating the FSK, signed in January 1994, gave the president sole control of the agency, eliminating the theoretical monitoring role granted to the parliament and the judiciary in the 1992 law on the Ministry of Security. The original outline of the FSK's powers eliminated the criminal investigative powers of the Ministry of Security, retaining only powers of inquiry. But the final statute was ambiguous on this issue, assigning to the FSK the task of "carrying out technical-operational measures, [and] criminological and other expert assessments and investigations." The statute also stipulated that the FSK was to "develop and implement measures to combat smuggling and corruption." Such language apparently assigned a key role to the successor of the Ministry of Security in the intensifying struggle against economic crime and official corruption.

According to its enabling statute, the FSK had eighteen directorates, or departments, plus a secretariat and a public relations center. Because some of the Ministry of Security's functions were dispersed to other security agencies, the initial FSK staff numbered about 75,000, a substantial reduction from the 135,000 people who had been working for the Ministry of Security in 1992. The reduction process began to reverse itself within a few months, however, as the FSK regained the criminal investigation functions of the Ministry of Security. By July 1994, the FSK reported a staff of 100,000.

Golushko's replacement as minister of security was his former first deputy, Sergey Stepashin, who had served as head of the Parliamentary Commission on Defense and Security during 1992-93. Stepashin's arrival coincided with the establishment of a new economic counterintelligence directorate in the FSK and development of new laws to improve the FSK's ability to fight corruption. Stepashin announced measures against underground markets and "shadow capital," phenomena of the transition period that had been defended as stimuli for the national economy. He also defended the FSK against critics who accused the agency of persecuting private entrepreneurs.

In addition to fighting crime and corruption, the FSK played a prominent role in dealing with ethnic problems. One worry for the agency was the possibility of terrorist acts by dissident non-Russian nationalities within the Russian Federation. Approximately 20 percent of Russia's population is non-Russian, including more than 100 nationalities concentrated in Russia's thirty-two ethnically designated territorial units. Tension over unresolved ethnic and economic issues had been mounting steadily since 1990, as non-Russian minorities became increasingly belligerent in their demands for autonomy from Moscow. The FSK was responsible for cooperating with other agencies of the Yeltsin government in monitoring ethnic issues, suppressing separatist unrest, and preventing violent conflict or terrorism. In keeping with this mandate, FSK troops joined MVD forces in backing Russian regular armed forces in the occupation of Chechnya. Russian security elements also have been active in Georgia, where they have assisted regular forces in containing the independence drive of Abkhazian troops and policing a two-year cease-fire that showed no sign of evolving into a permanent settlement as of mid-1996.

The FSK was replaced by the Federal Security Service (Federal'naya sluzhba bezopasnosti--FSB) in April 1995. The new Law on Organs of the Federal Security Service outlined the FSB's mission in detail. The FSB regained a number of the functions that had been eliminated in earlier post-KGB reorganizations. Investigative authority was fully restored by the law, although the FSK had already been conducting criminal investigations on the basis of a presidential decree issued months before. Russia's fourteen investigative detention prisons and several special troop detachments also returned to the control of the security service.

The 1995 law authorizes security police to enter private residences if "there is sufficient reason to suppose that a crime is being or has been perpetrated there . . . or if pursuing persons suspected of committing a crime." In such cases, related laws require the officer in charge only to inform the procurator within twenty-four hours after entering a residence. Like the FSK statute, the new law gave the president direction of the activities of the security service, which has the status of a federal executive organ. Article 23 of the law stipulated that the president, the Federal Assembly (parliament), and the judicial organs monitor the security service. But the only right given deputies of the State Duma (the assembly's more powerful lower house) in this regard was a vague stipulation that deputies could obtain information regarding the activity of FSB organs in accordance with procedures laid down by legislation. The imprecision of actual oversight functions was compounded by the security law's provision that unpublished "normative acts" would govern much of the FSB's operations.

The law gave the FSB the right to conduct intelligence operations both within the country and abroad for the purpose of "enhancing the economic, scientific-technical and defense potential" of Russia. Although FSB intelligence operations abroad are to be carried out in collaboration with the Foreign Intelligence Service, the specifics of the collaboration were not spelled out. The liberal press reacted with great skepticism to the new law's potential for human rights violations and for reincarnation of the KGB.

Although the FSB is more powerful than its predecessor, FSB chief Stepashin operated under a political cloud because of his support for the botched Chechnya invasion. In July 1995, pressured by the State Duma and members of his administration, Yeltsin replaced Stepashin with the head of the Main Guard Directorate, General Mikhail Barsukov. Barsukov was closely linked to the director of Yeltsin's personal bodyguard organization (the Presidential Security Service), Aleksandr Korzhakov, who had acquired powerful political influence in the Kremlin.

The KGB's Eighth Chief Directorate, which oversaw government communications and cipher systems, and another technical directorate, the sixteenth, were combined as the Federal Agency for Government Communications and Information (Federal'noye agentstvo pravitel'stvennykh svyazi i informatsii--FAPSI), of which the former head of the Eighth Chief Directorate, Aleksandr Starovoytov, was named director. FAPSI has unlimited technical capabilities for monitoring communications and gathering intelligence. When the Law on Federal Organs of Government Communications and Information was published in February 1993, Russia's liberal press protested loudly. The newspaper Nezavisimaya gazeta called it the "law of Big Brother," pointing out that it not only gives the executive organs of government a monopoly over government communications and information but permits unwarranted interference in the communications networks of private banks and firms.

The communications and information law authorized FAPSI to issue licenses for the export and import of information technology, as well as for the telecommunications of all private financial institutions. Equipped with a body of special communications troops (authorized by the 1996 budget to number 54,000), FAPSI was given the right to monitor encoded communications of both government agencies and nonstate enterprises. This means that the agency can penetrate all private information systems. The law stipulated little parliamentary supervision of FAPSI aside from a vague statement that agency officials were to give reports to the legislative branch. The president, by contrast, was given specific power to monitor the execution of basic tasks assigned to FAPSI and to "sanction their operations."

Some of the functions of FAPSI overlap those of the FSB. The FSB's enabling law mandated that it detect signals from radio-electronic transmitters, carry out cipher work within its own agency, and protect coded information in other state organizations and even private enterprises. No specific boundary between the ciphering and communications functions of the two agencies was delineated in their enabling legislation, and there was even speculation that FAPSI would be merged into the FSB. A presidential decree of April 1995 defined agency responsibilities in the area of telecommunications licensing.

A critical area of overlap--and competition--is protection of data of crucial economic and strategic significance. By mid-1995 FAPSI director Starovoytov was pushing for a larger role for FAPSI in this area. He began issuing warnings about the intensified threat to secret economic data (including that of the Russian Central Bank) from Western special services, which he said required his agency to take more stringent security measures.

In mid-1992 the KGB's Ninth Directorate, charged with guarding government leaders and key buildings and installations, became the Main Guard Directorate (Glavnoye upravleniye okhraneniya--GUO), which until July 1995 was headed by Mikhail Barsukov. When Barsukov moved to the FSB, he was replaced as chief of the GUO by his deputy, General Yuriy Krapivin. Until mid-1996 the GUO included an autonomous subdivision, the Presidential Security Service, headed by Aleksandr Korzhakov. Beginning in 1991, both the GUO and Korzhakov's service grew steadily. By late 1994, the GUO staff reportedly had increased from 8,000 to more than 20,000 persons assigned to guard the offices, automobiles, apartments, and dachas of Russia's highest leaders, together with a variety of secret "objects of state importance."

The tasks and missions of the GUO are described in the Law on State Protection of Government Bodies and Their Officials, passed in April 1993. As of mid-1996, the agency had the same status as a state committee, but in fact the general statutes describing the government and the office of the presidency made no provision for such a structure. The GUO's legal authorization to engage in investigative operations gives its officers the power to undertake invasive activities such as shadowing citizens and tapping telephones. The GUO was reported to have an unlimited budget, which it used to acquire sophisticated Western listening devices for use in Kremlin offices.

Shortly after the creation of the GUO, Yeltsin included in it the elite Alpha Group, a crack antiterrorist unit of 500 personnel (200 in Moscow, 300 elsewhere in Russia) that had been involved in operations in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, and Lithuania. The Alpha Group had played a decisive role in the coup of August 1991 by refusing the coup leaders' orders to storm the parliament building, in spite of the group's subordination to the KGB, whose chief, Vladimir Kryuchkov, was a coup leader. In the following years, the Alpha Group gained a national reputation and became connected with figures in legitimate business, organized crime, and politics. In early 1996, Alpha Group veterans headed an estimated thirty-five commercial enterprises in Moscow.

In June 1995, the Alpha Group was sent to break the Budennovsk hostage crisis when Chechen rebels seized a hospital in southern Russia. Yeltsin disavowed responsibility for the attack's subsequent failure, and two months later he transferred the Alpha Group back to the jurisdiction of the FSB. In 1995, under the leadership of Sergey Goncharov, the Alpha veterans' association became politically active, strongly opposing Yeltsin loyalists in the December parliamentary elections. This antigovernment activity by former members of Yeltsin's security force raised questions about the loyalty of active security agencies. Following the 1995 elections, Goncharov's group continued to advocate restoration of Russia's military influence among the former Soviet republics that make up its "near abroad," as well as harsh measures against domestic organized crime.

By December 1993, Korzhakov's Presidential Security Service had become independent of the GUO, placing Korzhakov in a position subordinate only to Yeltsin. From the time of his appointment, Korzhakov was at Yeltsin's side constantly, becoming the most indispensable member of the presidential security force. Besides overseeing about 4,000 guards, Korzhakov came to supervise all the services in support of the president's operations. These included communications, presidential aircraft, and the secret bunker to be occupied in case war broke out. This prominent role led to speculation about Korzhakov's influence on policy matters outside the area of security, and his infrequent policy statements were closely analyzed by the news media. In June 1996, Yeltsin dismissed Korzhakov, together with FSB chief Barsukov and First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets, eliminating some of the most influential government figures of the anti-Western political faction prior to the second round of the presidential election.

The fourth agency to emerge from the dismantled KGB was the national border troops command, which formerly had been administered as the KGB's Border Troops Directorate. By the mid-1990s, both the subordination and the size of this organization had undergone considerable change. For the Russian Federation, national border security issues have been much different from those of the Soviet Union; for this reason, and because of depleted resources to support security operations, border policy has become an especially important part of Russia's overall relations with other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States

In 1989 the Border Troops' personnel strength was estimated at 230,000. Although under the operational authority of the KGB, border troops were conscripted as part of the biannual callup of the Ministry of Defense, and troop induction and discharge were regulated by the 1967 Law on Universal Military Service applicable to all the armed forces of the Soviet Union.

In the 1980s, the duties of the Border Troops included repulsing armed incursions into Soviet territory; preventing illegal crossings of the border or the transport of subversive or dangerous materials; monitoring the observance of established procedures at border crossings and of navigation procedures in Soviet territorial waters; and assisting state agencies in the preservation of natural resources and in environmental protection. In carrying out these duties, border troops were authorized to examine documents and possessions of persons crossing the borders and to confiscate articles; to conduct inquiries in cases of violation of the state border; and to arrest, search, and interrogate individuals suspected of border violations.

In the Soviet system, the border soldier was expected to defend both the physical border and the state ideology. The second of those assignments involved detecting and confiscating subversive literature and preventing, by violent means if necessary, the escape of citizens across the border.

In 1992 the Committee for the Protection of State Borders, an agency subordinate to the Ministry of Security, succeeded the KGB's Border Troops Directorate in administering frontier control. Although the personnel level had been reduced to about 180,000, the basic structure of the agency and the border configuration remained substantially the same as they had been in the late Soviet period. Viktor Shlyakhtin, the first post-Soviet chief of the border troops, was dismissed in July 1993 after more than twenty Russian border guards were killed in an attack on their post along the Afghanistan-Tajikistan border. Yeltsin replaced Shlyakhtin with General Andrey Nikolayev, who had been first deputy chief of the General Staff of the armed forces. This appointment was a sharp departure from the usual practice of naming a career border troops officer to the top post.

In late 1993, Yeltsin established the Federal Border Service to administer frontier control and gave that agency the status of a federal ministry under direct presidential control. The FSK (and then its successor, the FSB) retained operational responsibility for counterintelligence along the borders, however. In 1995 Nikolayev announced an ambitious program for building up and improving the border service in the years 1996-2000. The 1996 federal budget authorized a total troop strength of 210,000, which would be a significant increase from the 135,000 troops on duty in 1994. In 1996 the Federal Border Service oversaw six border districts and three special groups of border troops in the Arctic, Kaliningrad, and Moscow, as well as an independent border control detachment operating at Russia's major airports.

Given the agency's ambitious personnel requirements, staffing and financing the new border posts became problematic in the mid-1990s. Although Nikolayev warned parliament that his resources were insufficient, the Federal Border Service's 1995 budget was only 70 percent of the amount requested. Equipment was hopelessly outdated and in need of repair. According to estimates, in 1995 some 40 percent of the signaling and communications systems along the border had surpassed their service lives.

In the 1990s, Russia lacked the secure buffer zone of Soviet republics and subservient East European countries that had provided border security in the Soviet era. The status of Russia's borders with neighbors Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, and Ukraine has required the presence of a substantial force of armed troops. In Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Tajikistan, ethnic conflict has caused chronic instability near Russia's borders in the first half-decade of independence. In early 1996, the FSB reported that 13,500 kilometers of the national borders were not defined by internationally recognized treaties. After negotiations with Estonia failed in 1996, Russia unilaterally defined its border with that state, requiring the presence of border forces until disputes can be resolved. The border between Latvia and Russia also remained in dispute as of mid-1996.

After the Soviet Union was dissolved, it soon became clear that Russia did not have the resources to establish a fully equipped border regime along its boundaries within the CIS. In 1993 Russia stated openly that its top priority was to guard the outside borders of the CIS (hence most of what had been the international borders of the Soviet Union) rather than the borders that Russia now shared with CIS countries. Such a policy reestablished the border republics as a buffer zone against potential invasion from China or the Islamic states of Central Asia. The other CIS states do not have the resources to secure their outer boundaries, a situation that led in the early and mid-1990s to the mutually acceptable deployment of Russian border forces in each of the five Central Asian republics. In Kyrgyzstan a few thousand troops were stationed along the Chinese border. Certain outer boundaries of the CIS, such as the Tajikistani border with Afghanistan, required extra troop strength because of constant armed conflict. In 1994 Russia doubled its Tajikistan border force to about 15,000 troops.

One goal of this policy was to preserve the capability for quick action in case of border conflict and to protect Russia's "internal" frontiers from the smuggling of people and contraband, including arms. The second goal, most visible in Georgia and Tajikistan, was "peacekeeping" in pursuit of Moscow's foreign policy priorities within the border country. In pursuit of the second goal, in the mid-1990s border forces increasingly were used as an extension of Russia's military power in the CIS.

The revised view of border security naturally brought with it an effort at reintegration of the former Soviet republics. Russia began to advocate "transparent borders" with the coterminous CIS states--Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakstan, and Ukraine. This meant that borders would remain open for the unrestricted passage of people and goods. Strict border regimes would be established only in zones of acute conflict, such as the North Caucasus. The April 1993 Law on the State Border of the Russian Federation reflected this policy by abolishing the specially designated border districts of the Soviet system, leaving only border strips five kilometers wide. The law stipulated the goal of establishing a reduced and simplified border regime with all CIS states.

The internal instability of the Soviet government during 1990-91 invited expressions of separatism in many of Russia's distinct ethnic enclaves, as well as in ethnically Russian districts in the Soviet Far East. The most volatile and troublesome area within the new Russian Federation was the North Caucasus, where the predominantly Muslim former Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Republic is located. A crisis had been building there for some time. In October 1991, a Chechen nationalist movement headed by former Soviet air force general Dzhokar Dudayev overthrew the existing government and installed Dudayev as president. Shortly thereafter, the Chechen Supreme Soviet declared Chechnya a sovereign republic.

Yeltsin responded by deploying Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) troops in the region, but the Russian Supreme Soviet declared the action invalid and ordered him to settle the conflict peaceably. The perceived indecision by the Russian government encouraged Chechen nationalists to pursue complete political independence and Russian recognition of that status. The Yeltsin administration was equally adamant in its refusal to negotiate until Chechnya redesignated itself part of the Russian Federation. Violence erupted in Chechnya on numerous occasions during 1993-94, and Russian security forces became fully involved in the conflict. In July 1994, a group of hostages taken by Chechen guerrillas near Pyatigorsk in Russian territory perished during an unsuccessful rescue operation by the MVD. The FSK armed Chechen opposition forces, which launched several unsuccessful attacks against the Dudayev government in the fall of 1994. When Russian conventional forces finally invaded Chechnya in December, they received substantial support from troops of the FSK, its successor the FSB, and the MVD. The FSB and MVD remained part of an uneasy occupation force through mid-1996.

The liberalizing changes of the post-Soviet era brought new types of crime, many of them associated with economic activities that had not existed until 1992. As the opportunities for legal commercial initiatives expanded rapidly, so did the opportunities to defraud Russian citizens inexperienced in economic matters and to take advantage of Russia's complete lack of laws covering many types of crime, including the organized extraction of protection money from economic enterprises.

Unlike the successor agencies to the KGB, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Ministerstvo vnutrennikh del--MVD) did not undergo extensive reorganization after 1991. The MVD carries out regular police functions, including maintenance of public order and criminal investigation. It also has responsibility for fire fighting and prevention, traffic control, automobile registration, transportation security, issuance of visas and passports, and administration of labor camps and most prisons.

In 1996 the MVD was estimated to have 540,000 personnel, including the regular militia (police force) and MVD special troops but not including the ministry's Internal Troops. The MVD operates at both the central and local levels. The central system is administered from the ministry office in Moscow. As of mid-1996, the minister of internal affairs was General Anatoliy Kulikov. He replaced Viktor Yerin, who was dismissed in response to State Duma demands after the MVD mishandled the 1995 Budennovsk hostage crisis.

MVD agencies exist at all levels from the national to the municipal. MVD agencies at lower operational levels conduct preliminary investigations of crimes. They also perform the ministry's policing, motor vehicle inspection, and fire and traffic control duties. MVD salaries are generally lower than those paid in other agencies of the criminal justice system. Reportedly, staffers are poorly trained and equipped, and corruption is widespread.

Until 1990 Russia's regular militia was under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Soviet Union. At that time, the Russian Republic established its own MVD, which assumed control of the republic's militia. In the late 1980s, the Gorbachev regime had attempted to improve training, tighten discipline, and decentralize the administration of the militia throughout the Soviet Union so that it might respond better to local needs and deal more effectively with drug trafficking and organized crime. Some progress was made toward these objectives despite strong opposition from conservative elements in the CPSU leadership. However, after 1990 the redirection of MVD resources to the Internal Troops and to the MVD's new local riot squads undercut militia reform. In the August 1991 coup against the Gorbachev government, most Russian police remained inactive, although some in Moscow joined the Yeltsin forces that opposed the overthrow of the government.

In early 1996, a reorganization plan was proposed for the MVD, with the aim of more effective crime prevention. The plan called for increasing the police force by as many as 90,000, but funding was not available for such expansion. Meanwhile, the MVD recruited several thousand former military personnel, whose experience reduced the need for police training. At the end of 1995, the MVD reported debts of US$717 million, including US$272 million in overdue wages. In February 1996, guards at a jail and a battalion of police escorts went on a hunger strike; at that point, some of the MVD's Internal Troops had not been paid for three months. Minister of Internal Affairs Kulikov described the ministry's 1996 state budget allocation of US$5.2 billion as wholly inadequate to fulfill its missions. Participation in the Chechnya campaign added enormously to ministry expenditures.

Unlike the successor agencies to the KGB, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Ministerstvo vnutrennikh del--MVD) did not undergo extensive reorganization after 1991. The MVD carries out regular police functions, including maintenance of public order and criminal investigation. It also has responsibility for fire fighting and prevention, traffic control, automobile registration, transportation security, issuance of visas and passports, and administration of labor camps and most prisons.

In 1996 the MVD was estimated to have 540,000 personnel, including the regular militia (police force) and MVD special troops but not including the ministry's Internal Troops. The MVD operates at both the central and local levels. The central system is administered from the ministry office in Moscow. As of mid-1996, the minister of internal affairs was General Anatoliy Kulikov. He replaced Viktor Yerin, who was dismissed in response to State Duma demands after the MVD mishandled the 1995 Budennovsk hostage crisis.

MVD agencies exist at all levels from the national to the municipal. MVD agencies at lower operational levels conduct preliminary investigations of crimes. They also perform the ministry's policing, motor vehicle inspection, and fire and traffic control duties. MVD salaries are generally lower than those paid in other agencies of the criminal justice system. Reportedly, staffers are poorly trained and equipped, and corruption is widespread.

Until 1990 Russia's regular militia was under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Soviet Union. At that time, the Russian Republic established its own MVD, which assumed control of the republic's militia. In the late 1980s, the Gorbachev regime had attempted to improve training, tighten discipline, and decentralize the administration of the militia throughout the Soviet Union so that it might respond better to local needs and deal more effectively with drug trafficking and organized crime. Some progress was made toward these objectives despite strong opposition from conservative elements in the CPSU leadership. However, after 1990 the redirection of MVD resources to the Internal Troops and to the MVD's new local riot squads undercut militia reform. In the August 1991 coup against the Gorbachev government, most Russian police remained inactive, although some in Moscow joined the Yeltsin forces that opposed the overthrow of the government.

In early 1996, a reorganization plan was proposed for the MVD, with the aim of more effective crime prevention. The plan called for increasing the police force by as many as 90,000, but funding was not available for such expansion. Meanwhile, the MVD recruited several thousand former military personnel, whose experience reduced the need for police training. At the end of 1995, the MVD reported debts of US$717 million, including US$272 million in overdue wages. In February 1996, guards at a jail and a battalion of police escorts went on a hunger strike; at that point, some of the MVD's Internal Troops had not been paid for three months. Minister of Internal Affairs Kulikov described the ministry's 1996 state budget allocation of US$5.2 billion as wholly inadequate to fulfill its missions. Participation in the Chechnya campaign added enormously to ministry expenditures.

The MVD's militia is used for ordinary policing functions such as law enforcement on the streets, crowd control, and traffic control. As part of a trend toward decentralization, some municipalities, including Moscow, have formed their own militias, which cooperate with their MVD counterpart. Although a new law on self-government supports such local law enforcement agencies, the Yeltsin administration attempted to head off further moves toward independence by strictly limiting local powers. The regular militia does not carry guns or other weapons except in emergency situations, such as the parliamentary crisis of 1993, when it was called upon to fight antigovernment crowds in the streets of Moscow.

The militia is divided into local public security units and criminal police. The security units run local police stations, temporary detention centers, and the State Traffic Inspectorate. They deal with crimes outside the jurisdiction of the criminal police and are charged with routine maintenance of public order. The criminal police are divided into organizations responsible for combating particular types of crime. The Main Directorate for Organized Crime (Glavnoye upravleniye organizovannogo prestupleniya--GUOP) works with other agencies such as the MVD's specialized rapid-response detachments; in 1995 special GUOP units were established to deal with contract killings and other violent crimes against individuals. The Federal Tax Police Service deals primarily with tax evasion and similar crimes. In an attempt to improve Russia's notoriously inefficient tax collection operation, the Federal Tax Police Service received authority in 1995 to carry out preliminary criminal investigations independently. The 1996 budget authorized a staff of 38,000 for this agency.

Throughout the first half of the 1990s, Russia's militia functioned with minimal arms, equipment, and support from the national legal system. The inadequacy of the force became particularly apparent in the wave of organized crime that began sweeping over Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Many highly qualified individuals have moved from the militia into better-paying jobs in the field of private security, which has expanded to meet the demand of companies needing protection from organized crime. Frequent bribe taking among the remaining members of the militia has damaged the force's public credibility. Numerous revelations of participation by militia personnel in murders, prostitution rings, information peddling, and tolerance of criminal acts have created a general public perception that all police are at least taking bribes. Bribery of police officers to avoid arrest for traffic violations and petty crimes is a routine and expected occurrence.

In a 1995 poll of the public, only 5 percent of respondents expressed confidence in the ability of the militia to deal with crime in their city. Human rights organizations have accused the Moscow militia of racism in singling out non-Slavic individuals (especially immigrants from Russia's Caucasus republics), physical attacks, unjustified detention, and other rights violations. In 1995 Kulikov conducted a high-profile "Clean Hands Campaign" to purge the MVD police forces of corrupt elements. In its first year, this limited operation caught several highly placed MVD officials collecting bribes, indicating a high level of corruption throughout the agency. According to experts, the main causes of corruption are insufficient funding to train and equip personnel and pay them adequate wages, poor work discipline, lack of accountability, and fear of reprisals from organized criminals.

The Special Forces Police Detachment (Otryad militsii osobogo naznacheniya--OMON), commonly known as the Black Berets, is a highly trained elite branch of the public security force of the MVD militia. Established in 1987, OMON is assigned to emergency situations such as hostage crises, widespread public disturbances, and terrorist threats. In the Soviet period, OMON forces also were used to quell unrest in rebellious republics. In the 1990s, OMON units have been stationed at transportation hubs and population centers. The Moscow contingent, reportedly 2,000 strong, receives support from the mayor's office and the city's internal affairs office as well as from the MVD budget. OMON units have the best and most up-to-date weapons and combat equipment available, and they enjoy a reputation for courage and effectiveness.

The MVD's Internal Troops, estimated to number 260,000 to 280,000 in mid-1996, are better equipped and trained than the regular militia. The size of the force, which is staffed by both conscripts and volunteers, has grown steadily through the mid-1990s, although the troop commander has reported serious shortages of officers. Critics have noted that the Internal Troops have more divisions in a combat-ready state than do the regular armed forces.

According to the Law on Internal Troops, issued in October 1992, the functions of the Internal Troops are to ensure public order; guard key state installations, including nuclear power plants; guard prisons and labor camps (a function that was to end in 1996); and contribute to the territorial defense of the nation. It was under the last mandate that Internal Troops were deployed in large numbers after the December 1994 invasion of Chechnya. In November 1995, MVD troops in Chechnya totaled about 23,500. This force included unknown proportions of Internal Troops, specialized rapid-response troops, and special military detachments. Internal Troops are equipped with guns and combat equipment to deal with serious crimes, terrorism, and other extraordinary threats to public order. In 1995 the crime rate among Internal Troops personnel doubled. A contributing factor was a steep increase in desertions that coincided with service in Chechnya, where the Internal Troops were routinely used for street patrols in 1995.

The Militia is a public agency, a part of the executive branch of government. Its tasks are protecting life, physical health, rights and freedoms of citizens; protecting property, and the interests of the state and society from criminal and other unlawful infringements. The Militia is authorized to use force to perform its functions.

The Militia forms a part of the structure of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. It is subdivided into the Criminal Militia and the Public Security Militia. The Criminal Militia is subordinated to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia and the ministries of internal affairs of the republics comprising the Russian federation. The Public Security Militia is also subordinated to local authorities.

The Criminal Militia has the task of prevention, suppression, and exposure of criminal offenses that require a preliminary investigation; the organization of searches for persons who have escaped from bodies of inquiry; investigations under judicial bodies involving persons who avoid the execution of criminal punishment; investigation of missing persons and of other persons as the law prescribes.

The Public Security Militia or local militia has the task of ensuring the personal security of citizens; ensuring the public security; protection of public order; prevention and suppression of criminal offenses and minor delinquencies; the disclosure of criminal offenses that do not require a preliminary investigation; investigation of criminal offenses in the form of inquiry; the rendering of assistance to citizens, officials, businesses, establishments, organizations and public associations.

An independent police structure is the Department of Taxation Police. The Taxation Police are charged with the prevention, suppression, and exposure of taxation crimes and infringements; safeguarding taxation inspection, and protection of the departmentís officers.

To join the militia, a person is required to pass professional training in specialized higher or secondary educational establishments of the Ministry of Internal Affairs or other state departments. To enter these establishments, a person must be 18-35 years old, have a secondary

Education and no previous convictions. An officer serves a probation period lasting from 3 months to 1 year. Officers of the militia are allowed to use physical force, special means, and weapons. Physical force, including special combat methods, can be used for prevention of offenses and delinquencies, detention of offenders, and overcoming resistance to lawful orders. Special means include rubber batons, tear-gas, manacles, special light and sound diverting means, firehoses, special means for stopping transport, armoured cars, and patrol dogs. The Militia can use firearms for defense of citizens, for self-defense, to gain the release of hostages, to detain offenders, and to suppress escapes. An officer must inform the chief of the militia department of every incident involving the use of firearms no more than 24 hours after the incident. In 1993, firearms were used by police officers 2,200 times and 376 criminals were killed. The use of firearms and special means is forbidden against women, persons who are obviously disabled, and persons under the age of 18. A body prosecuting an inquiry has the right to arrest an allegedoffender if the relevant offense may be punished by imprisonment, provided that: 1) the person is detained during the crime or immediately after, or 2)eye-witnesses, including victims, indicate that the person is the offender, or 3) the suspect or his clothes bear the obvious signs of the crime, or such signs can be found with him or in his home, or 4) when reasons exist to suspect the person of committing the crime, provided that: (a) the person tried to escape, or (b) has no permanent domicile, or (c) cannot be identified. If certain documents or items which are important for further investigation are known to be at a certain location or at the disposal of a certain person, investigators have the right to seize these items or documents. An investigator can perform a search to find tools used for committing a crime, documents, valuables, persons, or dead bodies. Approval by the prosecutor is required to perform a search, to seize documents which contain State secrets, or to seize postal and telegraph correspondence.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Procuracy, and the Federal Tax Police were responsible for law enforcement at all levels of Government. The FSB has broad law enforcement functions, including fighting crime and corruption, in addition to its core responsibilities of security, counterintelligence, and counterterrorism. The FSB operated with only limited oversight by the Procuracy and the courts. The primary mission of the armed forces was national defense, although they have been employed in local internal conflicts, and they were available to control civil disturbances. Internal security threats in parts of the Russian Federation increasingly have been dealt with by militarized elements of the security services. Members of the security forces, particularly within the internal affairs apparatus, continued to commit numerous and serious human rights abuses.

There were no confirmed reports of political killings by the Government or its agents; however, there continued to be credible reports that the federal armed forces engaged in extrajudicial killings in Chechnya. There also were credible reports that the armed forces used indiscriminate force at various times in the Chechen conflict in areas with significant civilian populations, resulting in numerous deaths.

There were reports of government involvement in politically motivated disappearances in Chechnya; however, there were fewer reports of kidnapings than in previous years. The NGO Memorial claimed that federal military forces detained thousands of persons from Chechnya. Some of these persons disappeared, but most were released, often after their relatives paid a bribe. Memorial estimated that the number of individuals unaccounted for was somewhere between several hundred and a thousand. Former Presidential Representative for Human Rights in Chechnya Vladimir Kalamanov acknowledged that at least several hundred persons were missing in Chechnya.

The Constitution prohibits torture, violence, and other brutal or humiliating treatment or punishment; however, there were credible reports that law enforcement personnel frequently used torture to coerce confessions from suspects and that the Government often did not hold officials accountable for such actions.

 

DETENTION

In year 2002, arbitrary arrest and detention remained problems; however, there was progress toward effective judicial oversight over arrests and detentions. The new Code of Criminal Procedure gave authorities the means to implement the constitutional requirement that individuals could be arrested, taken into custody, or detained beyond 48 hours only upon a judicial decision. In many cases courts aggressively asserted their new rights, freeing prisoners in Chechnya, rejecting 15 percent of the requests for arrest warrants, and rejecting 30 percent of the requests for detention in some areas. Judges freed suspects whose confessions were taken without lawyers present or who were held in excess of detention limits. The Supreme Court overturned a number of cases in which lower court judges granted permission to detain individuals on what the Supreme Court considered to be inadequate grounds. The Courts issued strict instructions to judges to enforce the time limits set on various stages of detention; however, insufficient time had elapsed by year's end to permit evaluation of compliance with these instructions.

A new Criminal Procedure Code, passed by the Duma in December 2001, became effective on July 1, with some provisions to be implemented in 2003. The new Code stipulates that if the police have probable cause to believe that a suspect has committed a crime, or that the suspect is an imminent threat to others, they may detain him for not more than 24 hours. During that time, they must notify the procurator, who then has 24 hours to confirm the charge or release the suspect. The Code also requires that the Procuracy obtain a judicial order for arrest, search, or seizure. It provides that relatives are to be notified of a suspect's arrest within 12 hours and that suspects have access to prompt counsel prior to the first questioning. Pretrial detention for crimes carrying a sentence of less than 3 years is prohibited unless the defendant poses a demonstrable flight risk; detention during trial is limited to 6 months, except where particularly grave crimes are involved. The new Criminal Procedure Code specifies that within 2 months of a suspect's arrest police should complete their investigation and transfer the file to the procurator for arraignment. A procurator may request the court to extend the period of criminal investigation to 6 months in "complex" cases with the authorization of a judge. With the personal approval of the Procurator General, that period may be extended up to 18 months. Juveniles may be detained only in cases of grave crimes. The new Criminal Procedure Code includes a formal procedure for pleading guilty and includes incentives such as shorter sentences as well as shorter trials. The new Criminal Procedure Code became effective on July 1, but the Duma had specified that these provisions regarding detention were to be delayed until January 1, 2004. The Constitutional Court ruled in May that it was unconstitutional to delay the implementation of judicial oversight after the new Code was slated to become effective. In response the Duma amended the new Code in June so that these provisions took effect on July 1.

However, before July 1, the court system continued to be governed by the amended Soviet Criminal Procedure Code, under which suspects often were subjected to uneven and arbitrary treatment. Procurators were able to issue orders of detention without judicial approval and police detained suspects for up to 48 hours without a warrant. The PCPR reported terms of pretrial detention under the previous Code extending up to 3 years, with the average ranging from 7 to 10 months. However, in some extreme cases, the PCPR reported total pretrial and during trial detention periods of up to 5 years due to financial constraints and poor investigative and court work. Some suspects spent 18 months in detention under harsh conditions in a SIZO while the criminal investigation was conducted. Indefinite extensions of the investigation period without explanation to the detainee were common, and many suspects did not exercise their rights to request judicial review of their detention due to fear of angering the investigating officer. There was no formal procedure for a suspect to plead guilty during the investigative period, although if a suspect informed the investigator that he was guilty, the period of the investigation usually was shorter than if he maintained his innocence. There also were many credible reports that persons were detained far in excess of the period permitted for administrative offenses, in some cases so that police officials could extort money from friends or relatives of detainees. The practice of detaining individuals arbitrarily for varying periods of time, both within and in excess of permissible periods, was common, and often resolved only with bribes. After July 1, many of the motivations for these acts were reduced, but abuses still remained.

Families often were denied access to suspects in police detention; however, stricter oversight generally produced better compliance with the law. A March 2001 amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code allowed defendants immediate access to counsel when they have been arrested and referred for a psychiatric examination; this amendment took effect in January. Citizens' ignorance of their new rights was a problem. The Government embarked on a public education program to inform citizens of their rights and responsibilities under the system introduced by the new Code of Criminal Procedures, such as the right to a lawyer and the obligation to serve on juries when called.

Even after July 1, there were credible reports that police continued abuses. There were credible reports from throughout the country that police detained persons without observing mandated procedures and failed to issue receipts for confiscated property. There were credible reports that security forces regularly continued to single out persons from the Caucasus for document checks, detention, and the extortion of bribes. According to NGOs, federal forces commonly detained groups of Chechen men at checkpoints along the borders and during "mopping-up" operations following military hostilities and severely beat and tortured them.

Some regional and local authorities took advantage of the system's procedural weaknesses to arrest persons on false pretexts for expressing views critical of the Government. Human rights advocates in some regions have been charged with libel, contempt of court, or interference in judicial procedures in cases with distinct political overtones. Journalists, among others, have been charged with other offenses and held either in excess of normal periods of detention or for offenses that do not require detention at all.

Authorities abrogated due process in several "espionage" cases involving Russians who worked with foreigners who allegedly had obtained information that the security services considered sensitive. Although investigations in many of these cases had continued for a number of years, charges were filed in nearly all of them in the last days before the new code took effect, in order that prosecutors could avoid certain procedural protections accorded defendants.

 

COURTS

In 1992 a new Law on the Status of Judges was passed. The law was intended to confer greater status on the judicial profession by raising salaries and benefits. The 1993 constitution provides for some degree of judicial reform by establishing an independent judiciary and specifying that justices may only be removed or their powers curtailed or terminated in accordance with the law. Sitting justices also enjoy immunity from prosecution. However, judicial reform has moved slowly despite those two legislative developments, and in 1996 the judiciary remained subject to the influence of security agencies and politicians. A large case backlog, trial delays, and lengthy pretrial detention also remain problems According to a provision approved in 1994, trial by jury may take place in specific types of cases, including those involving the death penalty. This reform supersedes in part the older system of trial by judges and lay "people's assessors" who usually acceded to the judges' verdicts. In practice, trial by jury has made little headway in the hidebound court system. In 1995 jury trials were only available in nine of the eighty-nine subnational jurisdictions, although other jurisdictions sought permission to introduce them.

In the mid-1990s, a total of about 14,000 judges were active in approximately 2,500 courts at all judicial levels. To be eligible for appointment as a judge, an individual must be at least twenty-five years of age, have a higher education in law, and have at least five years of experience in the legal profession.

The twenty-three-member Supreme Court is Russia's highest court of origination and of appeals for consideration of criminal, civil, and administrative cases. Its chairman in 1996, Vyacheslav Lebedev, had been a judge in Leningrad and Moscow for nineteen years before his appointment in 1989. The Superior Court of Arbitration, which is headed by a board of one chairman and four deputy chairmen, is the highest court for the resolution of economic disputes. Courts of arbitration also exist at lower jurisdictional levels. The nineteen-member Constitutional Court decides whether federal laws, presidential and federal decrees and directives, and local constitutions, charters, and laws comply with the federal constitution. Treaties between the national government and a regional jurisdiction and between regional jurisdictions are subject to the same oversight. The Constitutional Court also resolves jurisdictional disputes between federal or local organs of power, and it also may be asked to interpret the federal constitution. The Constitutional Court temporarily ceased to exist after Yeltsin dissolved the parliament in October 1993. Although prescribed in the new constitution, the court remained moribund in 1994 because no new law was passed governing its procedures and composition. In 1995 the Federation Council finally approved appointments to the Constitutional Court, and it resumed operation that year.

Under the constitution, judges of the three highest courts serve for life and are appointed by the Federation Council after nomination by the president. The president appoints judges at the next level, the federal district courts. The minister of justice is responsible for appointing judges to regional and city courts. However, in practice many appointments below the national level still are made by the chief executives of subnational jurisdictions, a practice that has perpetuated local political influence on judges' decisions.

The two chambers of the Federal Assembly possess different powers and responsibilities, with the State Duma the more powerful. The Federation Council, as its name and composition implies, deals primarily with issues of concern to the subnational jurisdictions, such as adjustments to internal borders and decrees of the president establishing martial law or states of emergency. As the upper chamber, it also has responsibilities in confirming and removing the procurator general and confirming justices of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, and the Superior Court of Arbitration, upon the recommendation of the president. The Federation Council also is entrusted with the final decision if the State Duma recommends removing the president from office. The constitution also directs that the Federation Council examine bills passed by the lower chamber dealing with budgetary, tax, and other fiscal measures, as well as issues dealing with war and peace and with treaty ratification.

In the consideration and disposition of most legislative matters, however, the Federation Council has less power than the State Duma. All bills, even those proposed by the Federation Council, must first be considered by the State Duma. If the Federation Council rejects a bill passed by the State Duma, the two chambers may form a conciliation commission to work out a compromise version of the legislation. The State Duma then votes on the compromise bill. If the State Duma objects to the proposals of the upper chamber in the conciliation process, it may vote by a two-thirds majority to send its version to the president for signature. The part-time character of the Federation Council's work, its less developed committee structure, and its lesser powers vis-à-vis the State Duma make it more a consultative and reviewing body than a law-making chamber.

Because the Federation Council initially included many regional administrators appointed by Yeltsin, that body often supported the president and objected to bills approved by the State Duma, which had more anti-Yeltsin deputies. The power of the upper chamber to consider bills passed by the lower chamber resulted in its disapproval of about one-half of such bills, necessitating concessions by the State Duma or votes to override upper-chamber objections. In February 1996, the heads of the two chambers pledged to try to break this habit, but wrangling appeared to intensify in the months that followed.

The State Duma confirms the appointment of the prime minister, although it does not have the power to confirm Government ministers. The power to confirm or reject the prime minister is severely limited. According to the 1993 constitution, the State Duma must decide within one week to confirm or reject a candidate once the president has placed that person's name in nomination. If it rejects three candidates, the president is empowered to appoint a prime minister, dissolve the parliament, and schedule new legislative elections.

The State Duma's power to force the resignation of the Government also is severely limited. It may express a vote of no-confidence in the Government by a majority vote of all members of the State Duma, but the president is allowed to disregard this vote. If, however, the State Duma repeats the no-confidence vote within three months, the president may dismiss the Government. But the likelihood of a second no-confidence vote is virtually precluded by the constitutional provision allowing the president to dissolve the State Duma rather than the Government in such a situation. The Government's position is further buttressed by another constitutional provision that allows the Government at any time to demand a vote of confidence from the State Duma; refusal is grounds for the president to dissolve the Duma.

Draft laws may originate in either legislative chamber, or they may be submitted by the president, the Government, local legislatures, the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, or the Superior Court of Arbitration. Draft laws are first considered in the State Duma. Upon adoption by a majority of the full State Duma membership, a draft law is considered by the Federation Council, which has fourteen days to place the bill on its calendar. Conciliation commissions are the prescribed procedure to work out differences in bills considered by both chambers.

A constitutional provision dictating that draft laws dealing with revenues and expenditures may be considered "only when the Government's findings are known" substantially limits the Federal Assembly's control of state finances. However, the legislature may alter finance legislation submitted by the Government at a later time, a power that provides a degree of traditional legislative control over the purse. The two chambers of the legislature also have the power to override a presidential veto of legislation. The constitution provides a high hurdle for an override, however, requiring at least a two-thirds vote of the total number of members of both chambers.

The Ministry of Justice administers Russia's judicial system. The ministry's responsibilities include the establishment of courts and the appointment of judges at levels below the federal district courts. The ministry also gathers forensic statistics and conducts sociological research and educational programs applicable to crime prevention.

Many Western observers consider the judicial and legal systems weak links in Russia's reform efforts, stymieing privatization, the fight against crime and corruption, the protection of civil and human rights, and the general ascendancy of the rule of law. Many judges appointed by the regimes of Leonid I. Brezhnev (in office 1964-82) and Yuriy V. Andropov (in office 1982-84) remained in place in the mid-1990s. Such arbiters were trained in "socialist law" and had become accustomed to basing their verdicts on telephone calls from local CPSU bosses rather than on the legal merits of cases.

For court infrastructure and financial support, judges must depend on the Ministry of Justice, and for housing they must depend on local authorities in the jurisdiction where they sit. In 1995 the average salary for a judge was US$160 per month, substantially less than the earnings associated with more menial positions in Russian society. These circumstances, combined with irregularities in the appointment process and the continued strong position of the procurators, deprived judges in the lower jurisdictions of independent authority.

According to Russian criminal procedure, officers of the MVD, the Federal Security Service (FSB), or the Procuracy can arrest an individual on suspicion of having committed a crime. Ordinary crimes, including murder, come under the jurisdiction of the MVD; the FSB and the Procuracy are authorized to deal with crimes such as terrorism, treason, smuggling, and large-scale economic malfeasance. The accused has the right to obtain an attorney immediately after the arrest, and, in most cases, the accused must be charged officially within seventy-two hours of the arrest. In some circumstances, the period of confinement without charge can be extended. Once the case is investigated, it is assigned to a court for trial. Trials are public, with the exception of proceedings involving government secrets.

In August 1995, the State Duma passed a law giving judges and jurors protection against illegal influence on the process of trying a case. To the extent that it actually is practiced, the new law is a significant barrier to the Soviet-era practice of judges consulting with political officials before rendering verdicts. The protection of jurors became a concern in 1995 as jury trials, outlawed since 1918, returned on an experimental basis in nine subnational jurisdictions. Between January and September 1995, some 300 jury trials were held in those areas. Although another sixteen jurisdictions applied to begin holding jury trials, in mid-1996 the State Duma had not passed enabling legislation. In 1996 the court system convicted some 99.5 percent of criminal defendants, although only 80 percent were convicted in jury trials--about the same percentage as in Western courts. Expansion of the jury system faced strong opposition among Russia's police and prosecutors because the conviction rate is much lower and investigative procedures are held to much higher standards under such a system. Meanwhile, the advent of trial by jury and a nominally independent judiciary exposed a serious problem: in 1995 there were only about 20,000 private attorneys and about 28,000 public prosecutors in all of Russia, and most judges who had functioned under the old system had never developed genuine juridical skills. By the mid-1990s, a number of younger judges were actively promoting the jury system.

In the mid-1990s, claims of illegal detention received somewhat more recognition in the Russian legal system than they had previously. An estimated 13,000 individuals won their release by court order in 1994--about 20 percent of the total number who claimed illegal detention that year. In general, the criminal justice system is more protective of individual rights than it was in the Soviet period, although the Mirzayanov case demonstrated that substantial obstacles to Western-style jurisprudence remain in Russia's legal system.

Democratic, federative form of government under 1993 constitution. Divided into executive, legislative, and judicial branches. President, elected to four-year term, sets basic tone of domestic and foreign policy, represents state at home and abroad. Prime minister appoints Government (cabinet) to administer executive-branch functions. Forty ministries, state committees, and services; reduction in Government size planned late 1996. Prime minister administers policy according to constitution, laws, and presidential decrees. New Government named August 1996 following presidential election, retaining some key members from previous administration. Boris N. Yeltsin president, first elected 1991. Viktor Chernomyrdin prime minister, reap-pointed August 1996. Parliament, bicameral Federal Assembly, has lower house, State Duma, with 450 members serving four-year terms; last election December 1995. Upper house, Fed-eration Council, has 178 seats (two members representing the executive and legislative bodies of each of the eighty-nine subnational jurisdictions). Three highest judicial bodies Con-stitutional Court, Supreme Court, and Superior Court of Arbi-tration. Judges appointed by president with confirmation from the Federation Council required. Jurisprudence advancing slowly toward Western standards; jury trials held only in some regions.

The executive-legislative crisis of the fall of 1993 prompted Yeltsin to emplace constitutional obstacles to legislative removal of the president. Under the 1993 constitution, if the president commits "grave crimes" or treason, the State Duma may file impeachment charges with the parliament's upper house, the Federation Council. These charges must be confirmed by a ruling of the Supreme Court that the president's actions constitute a crime and by a ruling of the Constitutional Court that proper procedures in filing charges have been followed. The charges then must be adopted by a special commission of the State Duma and confirmed by at least two-thirds of State Duma deputies. A two-thirds vote of the Federation Council is required for removal of the president. If the Federation Council does not act within three months, the charges are dropped. If the president is removed from office or becomes unable to exercise power because of serious illness, the prime minister is to temporarily assume the president's duties; a presidential election then must be held within three months. The constitution does not provide for a vice president, and there is no specific procedure for determining whether the president is able to carry out his duties.

The president is empowered to appoint the prime minister to chair the Government (called the cabinet or the council of ministers in other countries), with the consent of the State Duma. The president chairs meetings of the Government, which he also may dismiss in its entirety. Upon the advice of the prime minister, the president can appoint or remove Government members, including the deputy prime ministers. The president submits candidates to the State Duma for the post of chairman of the Russian Central Bank (RCB) and may propose that the State Duma dismiss the chairman. In addition, the president submits candidates to the Federation Council for appointment as justices of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, and the Superior Court of Arbitration, as well as candidates for the office of procurator general, Russia's chief law enforcement officer. The president also appoints justices of federal district courts.

The accused has the right: 1) to be informed of the nature and course of the accusation; 2) to give explanations in the course of accusation; to present evidence; submit petitions and appeals to the court; 3) to know the reasons and grounds for arrest; 4) to examine the materials introduced to the court to validate the charges; 5) to know the reasons and grounds for the extension of his incarceration; 6) to examine the records of pre-trial investigation; 7) to have a Counselor; 8) to reject individual judges or other trial participants and 9) at the end of investigation, to examine all materials pertainng the case and 10) to appeal the actions and decisions of an investigator, a prosecutor and or a judge. A case can be examined by a court consisting of: 1) a Judge and two Assessors, 2) three Judges, 3) a Jury, or 4) a Judge alone. The jury system was just introduced into Russian criminal procedure and the changes have not yet taken effect. The jury will participate in the trial at the discretion of the offender if he is accused of serious crimes (malicious murder, treason, acts of terrorism, or offenses against justice). They will decide only questions of fact, not questions of applicable law or the sentence. With a few exceptions, every citizen from 25 to 70 years old can be a juror (Law of July 16th, 1993). After the accusation against him is brought, an accused gains the right to have a Counselor who must be a member of the bar association. At the trial the accused can also have a Public Counselor who is a representative of the public association or labor collective where he has worked. Any person can act as Counsel for the defense, whose duty it is to protect the interests of the defendant in the court. An accused can be released from paying counselor fees by the decision of the court or an investigator. 2. Procedures. There are two pre-trial stages: the institution of proceedings and the preliminary investigation. 1) The preliminary investigation consists of a) promulgation of court members; b) identification of the accused; c) control of attendance of participants in the trial; d) explanation of rights to participants in the trial; e) removing witnesses from the hall and f) examination of petitions. 2) Court investigation: a) evidence examination; 3) pleadings which consist of speeches delivered by the prosecutor, civil plaintiff, civil respondent, their representatives, counselors, and the accused defendant if he does not have a counselor. 4) Short second pleadings: all participants of the trial have the right to plea once more. 5) The final word of the defendant. 6) The participants in the trial present to the court their suggestions concerning the sentence. 7) Passing a sentence. An accusation before the court is initiated by a prosecutor or a public prosecutor who is a representative of a public association or labor collective where the accused had worked. Alternatives to going to trial include transferring the case to the juvenile commission, transfering it to comrades' court, use of an official reprimand, and release on bail. If an accused is not mentally fit, a court can decide to use compulsory medical treatment instead of penal punishment; compulsory reformatory measures can be applied if an accused is under 18. *Proportion of prosecuted cases going to trial. No information available. Pre-trial incarceration can be used if the punishment for the alleged offense includes imprisonment of 1 year or more or because of the public danger of the offense. Approval of the prosecutor is required for pre-trial incarceration. *Bail procedure. The accused or any other person can deposit money to guarantee attendance of the accused at the investigation and the trial. The size of the bail is determined by the investigator and approval of the prosecutor is required for use of bail. If the suspect or the accused fails to attend the trial, the bail is turned over to the State.

The highest judicial body of Russia is the Supreme or Higher Court of Russia. On the second level of the court system, are the supreme courts of the republics comprising the Russian Federation; courts of territories and regions; Moscow and St. Petersburg city courts. The third level of courts consists of the people's courts, located in the districts and small towns. These courts process the greatest number of criminal cases. A separate system of military courts or tribunals is subordinated directly to the Supreme Court.

According to the Criminal Procedure Code, the judge alone may decide a case where the person is accused of minor crimes, as well as cases where the punishment is not to exceed 5 years of imprisonment, as long as the accused agrees. Other cases are decided by a judge and two peoples' assessors who act as regular judges and have the same rights to participate in the determination of the sentence. The decisions are made by a majority vote in these cases. The trial may also be conducted by three professional judges if the accused agrees. The court gives a sentence after having retired into a separate consulting room. A sentence is settled by a majority vote. If a judge has a special opinion on the case he can file his special opinion in writing, but is obliged to sign the sentence. This special opinion is not pronounced but is open to be read. Only members of the court participating in the current trial can be present at the room during debate. 2. Types of penalties. The range of criminal punishments in Russia includes capital punishment, imprisonment, fines, reforming works without imprisonment, publicity, dismissal from office, deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or perform certain activities, restitution of financial damage, and additional punishments, such as confiscation of property and deprivation of special military or other ranks. According to the new Constitution of 1993, a capital sentence may be imposed only for serious violent offenses against human life. There have been 60 executions per year over the past few years. Execution is performed by firing squad.

Although the 1993 constitution weakened their standing vis-à-vis the presidency, the parliaments elected in 1993 and 1995 nonetheless used their powers to shape legislation according to their own precepts and to defy Yeltsin on some issues. An early example was the February 1994 State Duma vote to grant amnesty to the leaders of the 1991 Moscow coup. Yeltsin vehemently denounced this action, although it was within the constitutional purview of the State Duma. In October 1994, both legislative chambers passed a law over Yeltsin's veto requiring the Government to submit quarterly reports on budget expenditures to the State Duma and adhere to other budgetary guidelines.

In the most significant executive-legislative clash since 1993, the State Duma overwhelmingly voted no confidence in the Government in June 1995. The vote was triggered by a Chechen rebel raid into the neighboring Russian town of Budennovsk, where the rebels were able to take more than 1,000 hostages. Dissatisfaction with Yeltsin's economic reforms also was a factor in the vote. A second motion of no confidence failed to carry in early July. In March 1996, the State Duma again incensed Yeltsin by voting to revoke the December 1991 resolution of the Russian Supreme Soviet abrogating the 1922 treaty under which the Soviet Union had been founded. That resolution had prepared the way for formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

In his February 1996 state of the federation speech, Yeltsin commended the previous parliament for passing a number of significant laws, and he noted with relief the "civil" resolution of the June 1995 no-confidence conflict. He complained, however, that the Federal Assembly had not acted on issues such as the private ownership of land, a tax code, and judicial reform. Yeltsin also was critical of legislation that he had been forced to return to the parliament because it contravened the constitution and existing law, and of legislative attempts to pass fiscal legislation in violation of the constitutional stricture that such bills must be preapproved by the Government. He noted that he would continue to use his veto power against ill-drafted bills and his power to issue decrees on issues he deemed important, and that such decrees would remain in force until suitable laws were passed. The State Duma passed a resolution in March 1996 demanding that Yeltsin refrain from returning bills to the parliament for redrafting, arguing that the president was obligated either to sign bills or to veto them.

The Ministry of Justice administers Russia's judicial system. The ministry's responsibilities include the establishment of courts and the appointment of judges at levels below the federal district courts. The ministry also gathers forensic statistics and conducts sociological research and educational programs applicable to crime prevention.

Many Western observers consider the judicial and legal systems weak links in Russia's reform efforts, stymieing privatization, the fight against crime and corruption, the protection of civil and human rights, and the general ascendancy of the rule of law. Many judges appointed by the regimes of Leonid I. Brezhnev (in office 1964-82) and Yuriy V. Andropov (in office 1982-84) remained in place in the mid-1990s. Such arbiters were trained in "socialist law" and had become accustomed to basing their verdicts on telephone calls from local CPSU bosses rather than on the legal merits of cases.

For court infrastructure and financial support, judges must depend on the Ministry of Justice, and for housing they must depend on local authorities in the jurisdiction where they sit. In 1995 the average salary for a judge was US$160 per month, substantially less than the earnings associated with more menial positions in Russian society. These circumstances, combined with irregularities in the appointment process and the continued strong position of the procurators, deprived judges in the lower jurisdictions of independent authority.

In 1992 a new Law on the Status of Judges was passed. The law was intended to confer greater status on the judicial profession by raising salaries and benefits. The 1993 constitution provides for some degree of judicial reform by establishing an independent judiciary and specifying that justices may only be removed or their powers curtailed or terminated in accordance with the law. Sitting justices also enjoy immunity from prosecution. However, judicial reform has moved slowly despite those two legislative developments, and in 1996 the judiciary remained subject to the influence of security agencies and politicians. A large case backlog, trial delays, and lengthy pretrial detention also remain problems.

According to a provision approved in 1994, trial by jury may take place in specific types of cases, including those involving the death penalty. This reform supersedes in part the older system of trial by judges and lay "people's assessors" who usually acceded to the judges' verdicts. In practice, trial by jury has made little headway in the hidebound court system. In 1995 jury trials were only available in nine of the eighty-nine subnational jurisdictions, although other jurisdictions sought permission to introduce them.

In the mid-1990s, a total of about 14,000 judges were active in approximately 2,500 courts at all judicial levels. To be eligible for appointment as a judge, an individual must be at least twenty-five years of age, have a higher education in law, and have at least five years of experience in the legal profession.

The twenty-three-member Supreme Court is Russia's highest court of origination and of appeals for consideration of criminal, civil, and administrative cases. Its chairman in 1996, Vyacheslav Lebedev, had been a judge in Leningrad and Moscow for nineteen years before his appointment in 1989. The Superior Court of Arbitration, which is headed by a board of one chairman and four deputy chairmen, is the highest court for the resolution of economic disputes. Courts of arbitration also exist at lower jurisdictional levels. The nineteen-member Constitutional Court decides whether federal laws, presidential and federal decrees and directives, and local constitutions, charters, and laws comply with the federal constitution. Treaties between the national government and a regional jurisdiction and between regional jurisdictions are subject to the same oversight. The Constitutional Court also resolves jurisdictional disputes between federal or local organs of power, and it also may be asked to interpret the federal constitution. The Constitutional Court temporarily ceased to exist after Yeltsin dissolved the parliament in October 1993. Although prescribed in the new constitution, the court remained moribund in 1994 because no new law was passed governing its procedures and composition. In 1995 the Federation Council finally approved appointments to the Constitutional Court, and it resumed operation that year.

Under the constitution, judges of the three highest courts serve for life and are appointed by the Federation Council after nomination by the president. The president appoints judges at the next level, the federal district courts. The minister of justice is responsible for appointing judges to regional and city courts. However, in practice many appointments below the national level still are made by the chief executives of subnational jurisdictions, a practice that has perpetuated local political influence on judges' decisions.

As of year 2002, the Constitution provides for an independent judiciary, and there were increasing signs of judicial independence; however, the judiciary did not act as an effective counterweight to other branches of the Government. Judges remained subject to some influence from the executive, military, and security forces, particularly in high profile or politically sensitive cases. The judiciary continued to lack sufficient resources and was subject to corruption.

The judiciary is divided into three branches. The courts of general jurisdiction, including military courts, are subordinated to the Supreme Court. These courts hear civil and criminal cases and include district courts, which serve every urban and rural district, regional courts, and the Supreme Court. Decisions of the lower trial courts can be appealed only to the immediately superior court unless a constitutional issue is involved. The arbitration (commercial) court system under the High Court of Arbitration constitutes a second branch of the judicial system. Arbitration courts hear cases involving business disputes between legal entities and between legal entities and the state. The Constitutional Court (as well as constitutional courts in a number of administrative entities of the Russian Federation) constitute the third branch.

Judges were approved by the President after being nominated by the qualifying collegia, which were assemblies of judges. These collegia also had the authority to remove judges for misbehavior and to approve procurators' requests to prosecute judges.

Justices of the Peace, introduced beginning in 1998, dealt with criminal cases involving maximum sentences of less than 2 years and some civil cases. There were more than 4,500 Justices of the Peace throughout the country by year's end. These judges handled a variety of civil cases as well as criminal cases. In those areas where the system of Justices of the Peace had been implemented completely, there was a significant decrease in backlogs and delays in trial proceedings, both among those cases referred to the Justices of the Peace and in the courts of general jurisdiction, because dockets were freed to accept more serious cases more rapidly. Justices of the Peace were in various stages of development according to region, but were functioning nationwide, producing significant reductions in case backlogs and freeing the courts of general jurisdiction for more serious cases. In some regions, Justices of the Peace assumed approximately one-half of federal judges' civil cases and up to 15 percent of their criminal matters, which eased overcrowding in pretrial detention facilities.

Low salaries and a lack of prestige continued to make it difficult to attract talented new judges and contributed to the vulnerability of existing judges to bribery and corruption; however, judicial salaries were increased by 60 percent during the year. Working conditions for judges remained poor and lacking in physical security, and support personnel continued to be underpaid. Judges remained subject to intimidation and bribery from officials and others and were inadequately protected from intimidation or threats from powerful criminal defendants.

 

CORRECTIONS

The penitentiary system is governed by the Main Department for Reformation Affairs which constitutes an integral part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The penitentiary system is guarded by Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Internal Troops consist of all male persons who are called for military service or who voluntarily sign contracts for such service.

For good behavior and labor, the convict may be encouraged by premiums and given permission to spend additional money for food and everyday goods, permission for additional short visits up to 4 hours and long visits up to three days, and permission to receive additional mail and parcels. In 1993, over 55,000 prisoners were given the privilege of furloughs. For excellent behavior and honest labor, prisoners may be released from part of their punishment or may be placed in less restrictive punishment. Every prisoner must work. Prisoners are paid for their labor according to the quality and quantity of their work and in compliance with the national economy's standards and rates. Due to the economic situation in 1993, over 200,000 prisoners were unemployed - there was no job for them. The new Constitution prohibits forced work, but it is not clear whether these provisions are being enforced. Juvenile prisoners study to complete the obligatory secondary education program. Other prisoners must study to comply with the 8-year secondary education standard. Those over 40 years old may study at their own discretion. There are hospitals in the penitentiary. The patients in these hospitals are treated in accordance with the health care legislation of the Russian Federation.

In the 1980s, the Soviet Union had few conventional prisons. About 99 percent of convicted criminals served their sentences in labor camps. These were supervised by the Main Directorate for Corrective Labor Camps (Glavnoye upravleniye ispravitel'no-trudovykh lagerey--Gulag), which was administered by the MVD. The camps had four regimes of ascending severity. In the strict-regime camps, inmates worked at the most difficult jobs, usually outdoors, and received meager rations. Jobs were progressively less demanding and rations better in the three classifications of camps with more clement regimes. The system of corrective labor was viewed by Soviet authorities as successful because of the low rate of recividism. However, in the opinion of former inmates and Western observers, prisons and labor camps were notorious for their harsh conditions, arbitrary and sadistic treatment of prisoners, and flagrant abuses of human rights. In 1989 new legislation, emphasizing rehabilitation rather than punishment, was drafted to "humanize" the Gulag system. Nevertheless, few changes occurred in the conditions of most prisoners before the end of the Soviet period in 1991.

In the post-Soviet period, all prisons and labor camps except for fourteen detention prisons fell under the jurisdiction of the MVD. In the early and mid-1990s, the growth of crime led to a rapid rise in the number of prisoners. Because of overcrowding and the failure to build new prison facilities, conditions in prisons deteriorated steadily after 1991, and some incidents of Soviet-style arbitrary punishment continued to be reported. In 1994 a Moscow prison designed to hold 8,500 inmates was housing well over 17,000 shortly after its completion. Many prisons are unfit for habitation because of insufficient sanitation systems. In 1995 Nezavisimaya gazeta reported that the capacity of isolation wards in Moscow and St. Petersburg prisons had been exceeded by two to two-and-one-half times. Observers claimed that some prisons stopped providing food to prisoners for months at a time, relying instead on rations sent from outside. The lack of funding also led to a crisis in medical care for prisoners. In 1995 Yeltsin's Human Rights Commission condemned the prison system for continuing to allow violations of prisoners' rights. The report cited lack of expert supervision as the main reason that such practices, which often included beatings, were not reported and punished.

In 1995 conditions in the penal system had deteriorated to the point that the State Duma began calling for a transfer of prison administration from the MVD to the Ministry of Justice. According to Western experts, however, the MVD's Chief Directorate for Enforcement of Punishment has been prevented from improving the situation by funding limitations, personnel problems, and lack of legislative support, rather than by internal shortcomings.

By the mid-1990s, Russian penal legislation resembled that enacted in Western countries, although the conditions of detention did not. Post-Soviet legislation has abolished arbitrary or inhumane practices such as bans on visitors and mail, head shaving, and physical abuse. Also, prison officials now are required to protect prisoners who have received threats, and freedom of religious practice is guaranteed. Prisoners are rewarded for good behavior by being temporarily released outside the prison; in 1993 the MVD reported a 97 percent rate of return after such releases. However, the penalty for violent escape has increased to eight additional years' detention. In 1996 the function of guarding prisons was to pass completely from the MVD to local prison administrations, and a complete restructuring was announced for that year.

Although conditions in the labor camps are harsh, those in pretrial detention centers are even worse. According to the Society for the Guardianship of Penitentiary Institutions, the government's inability to implement a functional system of release on bail meant that by the end of 1994 some 233,500 persons--more than 20 percent of the entire prison population--were incarcerated in pretrial detention centers, sometimes for a period longer than the nominal punishment for the crime of which they were accused.

In 1994 the total prison population was estimated at slightly more than 1 million people, of whom about 600,000 were held in labor camps. Of the latter number, about 21,600 were said to be women and about 19,000 to be adolescents. Among the entire prison population in 1994, about half were incarcerated for violent crimes, 60 percent were repeat offenders, and more than 15 percent were alcoholics or drug addicts.

As in the Soviet period, corrective-labor institutions have made a significant contribution to the national economy. In the early 1990s, industrial output in the camps reached an estimated US$100 million, and forest-based camps added about US$27 million, chiefly from the production of commercial lumber, railroad ties, and summer cabins. Because the camps supply their products to conventional state enterprises, however, they have suffered from the decline in that phase of Russia's economy; an estimated 200,000 convicts were without work in the camps in early 1994. In 1995 the chief of the Directorate for Supervision of the Legality of Prison Punishment reported that the population of labor camps exceeded the capacity of those facilities by an average of 50 percent.

In the mid-1990s, the Russian government maintained a precarious balance between the newly discovered rights of citizens and the government's perceived need for security from domestic criticism and threats to its power. Between 1992 and 1996, the record of the Yeltsin administration was decidedly mixed. Reforms gradually appeared in prison administration, the rights of those accused of crimes, and the introduction of trial by jury, but beginning in 1993 legislation and executive decrees increasingly had the objective of strengthening the arbitrary powers of government over its citizens in the name of national security. The Procuracy maintains much of the independence it had in the Soviet period; although the role of judges and defense attorneys nominally is greater in the post-Soviet system, Russia suffers a severe shortage of individuals experienced in the workings of a Western-style legal system.

The national security establishment, generally smaller and less competent than the pervasive KGB monolith of the Soviet period, has undergone reorganization and internal power struggles in the 1990s, and in some instances it has been made the scapegoat for setbacks such as the Chechnya invasion. Agencies such as the regular militia (police) and the Federal Border Service have not been able to deal effectively with increased crime, smuggling, and illegal immigration; lack of funding is an important reason for this failure. More specialized national security agencies such as the FSB maintain special investigative prerogatives beyond the purview of normal law enforcement.

As average Russian citizens have gained marginally greater freedom from the fear of arbitrary government intrusion, they have been plagued with a crime wave whose intensity has mounted every year since 1991. All types of illegal activity--common street theft, drug-related crime, murder, white-collar financial crime, and extortion by organized criminals--have flourished. Although the government has announced studies and special programs, Russian society continues to present an inviting target to criminals in the absence of effective law enforcement and the presence of rampant corruption.

The status and development of Russia's internal security agencies and crime situation are described in numerous periodical articles and a few substantive monographs. In The KGB: Police and Politics in the Soviet Union , Amy Knight describes the structure and influence of the KGB in its final stage before the end of the Soviet Union. The post-Soviet position of internal security agencies is described by J. Michael Waller in Secret Empire: The KGB in Russia Today . In Comrade Criminal: Russia's New Mafia , Stephen Handelman investigates Russia's organized criminal element and official corruption, against the backdrop of social conditions and government attitudes prevalent in the 1990s. The 1996 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report of the United States Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics Matters provides a summary of narcotics activity and government prevention measures in Russia. Penny Morvant's article "War on Organized Crime and Corruption" describes Russia's crime wave and government attempts to combat it; two articles in the RFE/RL Research Report , Christopher J. Ulrich's "The Growth of Crime in Russia and the Baltic Region" and Julia Wishnevsky's "Corruption Allegations Undermine Russia's Leaders," approach the same topics from different perspectives. Numerous articles in the Christian Science Monitor , the Foreign Broadcast Information Service's Daily Report: Central Eurasia , and the Moscow daily newspapers Nezavisimaya gazeta and Izvestiya include current information on Russia's criminal justice and prison systems and on the crime problem.

In year 2002, prison conditions remained extremely harsh and frequently life threatening. The Ministry of Justice administered the penitentiary system centrally from Moscow. The Ministries of Justice, Health, Defense, and Education all maintained penal facilities. There were five basic forms of custody in the criminal justice system: Police detention centers, pretrial detention facilities known as Special Isolation Facilities (SIZOs), correctional labor colonies (ITKs), prisons designated for those who violate ITK rules, and educational labor colonies (VTKs) for juveniles. Responsibility for operating the country's penal facilities fell under the Ministry of Justice's Main Directorate for Execution of Sentences (GUIN).

The Government did not release statistics on the number of detainees and prisoners who were killed or died or on the number of law enforcement and prison personnel disciplined. The Moscow Center for Prison Reform (PCPR) estimated that in earlier years, 10,000 to 11,000 prisoners died annually in penitentiary facilities, 2,500 of them in SIZOs. During the year, these numbers were estimated to be somewhat lower. Most died as a result of poor sanitary conditions or lack of medical care (the leading cause of death was heart disease). The press often reported on individuals mistreated, injured, or killed in various SIZOs; some of the reported cases indicated habitual abuse by the same officers.

Violence among inmates, including beatings and rape, was common. There were elaborate inmate-enforced caste systems in which informers, homosexuals, rapists, prison rape victims, child molesters, and others were considered to be "untouchable" and were treated very harshly, with little or no protection provided by the prison authorities.

As of year 2002, penal institutions frequently remained overcrowded; however, mass amnesties offered immediate relief. Longer-term and more systemic measures to reduce the size of the prison population were also taken. These included the use of alternative sentencing in some regions and revisions of both the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure which eliminate incarceration as a penalty for a large number of less serious offenses. Many penal facilities remained in urgent need of renovation and upgrading. By law authorities must provide inmates with adequate space, food, and medical attention; with the dramatic decrease in prison populations these standards increasingly were being met.

The implementation of the new Code of Criminal Procedure reduced both the numbers of persons being held and the length of time they may be held in detention, reducing the size of the SIZO population by 30 percent by year's end, and virtually eliminating the problem of overcrowding in those institutions. As of September 25, prisoners in SIZOs had an average of 38 square feet per person, up from 16 square feet the previous year, representing a significant advance toward the norm of 44 square feet specified by law.

Inmates in the prison system often suffered from inadequate medical care. According to the GUIN, as of September 1, there were approximately 86,000 tuberculosis-infected persons and 21,576 HIV-infected persons in SIZOs and correction colonies combined. Public health measures, funded by international aid and by the doubling of government resources for the prison system's medical budget, have effected a limited reversal of the spread of tuberculosis but have not contained the spread of HIV. Detention facilities had tuberculosis infection rates far higher than in the population at large. The Saratov Oblast administration, concerned with the tuberculosis crisis in its facilities, fully funded the tuberculosis-related medicinal needs of prisoners, according to the PCPR. The PCPR also reported that conditions in penal facilities varied among the regions. Some regions offered assistance in the form of food, clothing, and medicine. NGOs and religious groups offered other support.

ITKs held the bulk of the nation's convicts. There were 749 ITKs. Guards reportedly disciplined prisoners severely in order to break down resistance. At times guards humiliated, beat, and starved prisoners. According to the PCPR, conditions in the ITKs were better than those in the SIZOs, because the ITKs had fresh air. In the timber correctional colonies, where hardened criminals served their time, beatings, torture, and rape by guards reportedly were common. In September 2001, procurators in Perm announced that they had brought charges of mistreating inmates against Special Forces Commander Sergey Bromberg, head of the strict regime prison colony at Chepets. Along with seven masked members of his unit, Bromberg was suspected of beating inmates at the prison colony. The Procurator subsequently announced that he had completed his investigation; however, there were no reports by year's end that a prosecution was being pursued. The country's "prisons"--distinct from the ITKs--were penitentiary institutions for those who repeatedly violated the rules in effect in the ITKs.

VTKs were facilities for prisoners from 14 to 20 years of age. Male and female prisoners were held separately. In September 2001, GUIN reported that there were 64 educational colonies, 3 of which were for girls. Conditions in the VTKs were significantly better than in the ITKs, but juveniles in the VTKs and juvenile SIZO cells reportedly also suffered from beatings, torture, and rape. The PCPR reported that such facilities had a poor psychological atmosphere and lacked educational and vocational training opportunities. Many of the juveniles were from orphanages, had no outside support, and were unaware of their rights. There also were two prisons for children in Moscow. Boys were held with adults in small, crowded, and smoky cells. Schooling in the prisons for children was sporadic at best, with students of different ages studying together when a teacher could be found.

In April 2001, President Putin described the problem of disease in the prison system as a potential "Chernobyl." He stated that the Government was not in a position to ensure standard conditions of detention in penitentiary institutions and that the system's problems had become a national concern. According to the PCPR, in order to forestall a crisis the system was obliged either to fund massive new construction and reconstruction of facilities--which was unrealistic under the country's economic conditions--or to reduce the prison population. Subsequently the Government launched a coordinated effort to reform criminal procedure, resulting in a reduction of the prison population. More offenses were moved from the Criminal Code to the Administrative Code, eliminating incarceration as an option in most cases. More crimes were shifted to Justices of the Peace, which had more flexible sentencing structures and could take advantage of a variety of alternative punishments. In some regions, alternative penalties such as house arrest and community service joined incarceration as acceptable penalties. For example, in Murmansk the local office of the Ministry of Justice actively pursued alternative punishments, and many convicted offenders were given sentences not involving incarceration. A similar program was under way in Nizhniy Novgorod, where it resulted in reductions in the number of persons in SIZO detention and the time they spent there. The standards of proof for convictions rose, and the shifting of more responsibilities to independent arbiters such as the courts decreased the number of cases opened. These factors combined have begun to reduce the prison population

 

WOMEN

In year 2002, domestic violence remained a major problem, and victims rarely had recourse to protection from the authorities. Police were reluctant and sometimes unwilling to intervene in what they regarded as purely domestic disputes. Many women were deterred from reporting such crimes, not only because of social and family pressure but also because the tight housing market made it difficult either to find housing outside the family dwelling or to expel an abusive spouse, even after a final divorce action. Much of society, including some leaders in the human rights community, did not acknowledge domestic violence as a problem or did not believe that it was an area for concern outside of the family. No reliable statistics existed to permit evaluation of the true extent of the problem nationwide, and individual jurisdictions varied in their statistical methodology. There was a general lack of understanding of these problems in the legal community, and there was no legal definition of domestic violence. Some forms of battering are addressed in the Criminal Code but are defined too narrowly to apply to most cases. There also was no national political will to consider these problems seriously. Several NGOs expressed serious concern about guidance provided to the new justices of peace--to whom most such cases are expected to be referred--which instructs the justices to reconcile the battered and the batterer and return the victim to the home as soon as possible.

In November 2001, an MVD official estimated that on average there were more than 250,000 violent crimes against women annually; however, government officials and NGOs agreed that such crimes usually were not reported. From January through mid-November 2001, police recorded more than 7,000 crimes of rape (in 2000, 7,900 rape cases were registered for the entire year), and 6,300 other sexually related crimes. The Government provided no support services to victims of rape or other sexual violence; however, victims could act as full legal parties to criminal cases brought against alleged assailants and could seek legal compensation as part of the verdict without seeking a separate civil action. Hospitals, crisis centers, and members of the medical profession provided assistance to women who were assaulted; however, to avoid spending long periods of time in court, some doctors were reluctant to ascertain the details of a sexual assault or collect physical evidence.

Prostitution is not a crime, although a 2001 revision of the Administrative Code made prostitution and pimping administrative violations subject to fines. Such violations carry financial penalties in the form of fines calculated in multiples of weekly minimum wages. Prostitution carries a penalty of 5 times the minimum wage, or roughly $100 (3,000 rubles).

Trafficking of women for sexual exploitation or forced labor was a serious problem. Despite serious difficulties, many groups continued to address violence against women. NGOs, alone or in cooperation with local governments, operated more than 55 women's crisis centers throughout the country, and their numbers continued to grow. In addition, the crisis centers have formed an association in order to coordinate their efforts better. Several NGOs provided training on combating trafficking to police, procurators, justices of the peace, and others in government.

Women reported sexual harassment in the workplace, and anecdotal information suggests that many potential employers seek female employees who are receptive to sexual relations. The Constitution states that men and women have equal rights and opportunities to pursue those rights. The new Labor Code retains from the previous Code prohibitions against discrimination, stating that every person has the right to equal pay for equal work; however, the phrase, "without complexes," is used occasionally in job advertisements. Some firms asked applicants for employment to complete a form including the abbreviation "VBO," a Russian-language abbreviation for "possibility of close relations," to which the applicant is expected to reply "yes" or "no." There was no law that prohibits sexual harassment, and women have no recourse when sexually harassed.

Job advertisements often specified sex and age groups and sometimes physical appearance as well. Credible evidence suggested that women encounter considerable discrimination in employment. NGOs continued to accuse the Government of condoning discrimination against women, contending that the Government seldom enforced employment laws concerning women. Employers preferred to hire men, thereby saving on maternity and childcare costs and avoiding the perceived unreliability that accompanies the hiring of women with small children. Employers also tried to avoid the entitlement to a 3-year maternity leave for childcare, which can be used in full or in parts by the mother, father, relative, or trustee providing the actual childcare. During this time, the employer must retain an employee's place of work and continue to fund applicable social benefits. Moscow human resources managers privately admitted that discrimination against women in hiring was common. There also was a trend toward firing women rather than men when employees are laid off. Women were subject to age-based discrimination. While no official statistics were available, government officials estimated that of the 7.5 percent of the workforce unemployed in late August, at least 70 percent were women.

Women continued to report cases in which they were paid less for the same work that male colleagues perform. According to a 2001 report by the International Labor Organization (ILO), women accounted for about 47 percent of the working-age population but on average earned only two-thirds of the salaries of their male counterparts. Professions dominated by women were much more poorly paid than those dominated by men. Women also tended to work in industries where market reforms remained weak and wages low, such as the textile and defense sectors, while men increasingly took jobs in the fast-growing, more profitable, financial and credit sectors where wages were substantially higher.

 

CHILDREN

The Constitution assigns the Government some responsibility for safeguarding the rights of children, and the State endeavored to provide, within its limited means, for the welfare of children. A Family Code regulates children's rights and marriage and divorce issues. The educational system includes both private and public institutions. Children have the right to free education until grade 11 (or approximately 17 years of age), and school was compulsory until the 9th grade. Boys and girls were treated equally in the school system. While federal law provides for education for all children in the country, regional authorities frequently denied school access to the children of unregistered persons, asylum seekers, and migrants because they lacked residential registration.

Under the law, health care for children is free; however, the quality varied, and individuals incurred significant out of pocket expenses. According to a UNICEF survey, children of IDPs from the Chechen conflict suffered disproportionately from chronic anemia and had a low rate of vaccinations due to the collapse of local health and education systems as a result of the conflict.

No reliable statistics existed on the extent of child abuse; however, anecdotal evidence indicated that child abuse was a problem.

The status of many children has deteriorated since the collapse of communism because of falling living standards, an increase in the number of broken homes, and domestic violence. An estimated 50,000 children run away from home each year. The main reasons for this reportedly were family violence, financial problems, or social problems such as drug or alcohol abuse by one or both of the parents. In Moscow approximately 6,000 children per year were brought to the Center of Temporary Isolation of Minor Delinquents (COVINA). These children stayed in COVINA for no more than 30 days. During this period, the child's case was investigated and his or her guardian was located; however, in 90 to 95 percent of these cases, the police simply returned the children to their families or to the institution from which the children ran away. Many officials considered domestic problems private affairs and preferred not to interfere.

Trafficking in children was a problem in year 2002.

Figures for homeless children were unreliable. The Russian Children's Fund estimated in 2001 that there were some 2.5 million homeless children, although other estimates reached as high as 4 million; scientific studies used differing methodologies to count street children. In 2000 the ILO International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (ILO/IPEC) estimated that there were 10,000 to 16,000 working street children in St. Petersburg, although only 1,000 to 2,000 were believed to be homeless. Most still had social ties to their family, school, or orphanage and only lived on the street part-time. Similar studies in Moscow in 2001 indicated that 30,000 to 50,000 working street children lived in the capital. Studies in the two rural districts of Vsevolozhsk and Priyozersk in the Leningrad Oblast were less conclusive, but suggested that the problem of working street children also existed outside the country's industrial centers. In addition, there were approximately 3,000 young persons aged 18 to 24 in Leningrad Oblast, most of them discharged from state institutions and given state housing, who had difficulty maintaining a residence and adapting to noninstitutional life in general. Homeless children often engaged in criminal activities, received no education, and were vulnerable to drug and alcohol abuse. Some young girls on the street turned to or were forced into prostitution in order to survive.

In the St. Petersburg region, local government and police ran various programs for homeless children and cooperated with local NGOs; however, resources were few and overall coordination remained poor. Local and international NGOs provided a variety of services for the homeless. Many Moscow charitable organizations have established productive relations with the city government to address the needs of children with disabilities, as well as other vulnerable groups. Perspektiva worked with children and medical personnel in an orphanage for children with disabilities in Pavlovsk. Bereg ran a shelter and offered training programs to children and social workers. Citizens' Watch conducted seminars on legal and social aspects of the problem.

Attention continued to focus on the status of orphans and those children with disabilities who have been removed from mainstream society and isolated in state institutions. Recent statistics on the number of orphans, institutionalized children, and adoptions during the year were not available. A complex and cumbersome system was developed to manage the institutionalization of some children until adulthood; three different ministries (Education, Health, and Labor and Social Development) assumed responsibility for different age groups and categories of orphans. Observers concluded that rather than focus on the needs of the children, the system revolved around the institutions. The welfare of the children was lost within the bureaucracy, and little clear recourse existed in instances of abuse by the system. Human rights groups alleged that children in state institutions were provided for poorly (often because funds are lacking) and in some cases were abused physically by staff. Life after institutionalization also posed serious problems, as children often lacked the necessary social, educational, and vocational skills to function in society. While there were no comprehensive studies of the effects of the orphanage system, its costs, and the extent of its problems, several groups compiled some important information.

Although comprehensive statistics were not available, the prospects for children and orphans who had physical or mental disabilities remained extremely bleak. The most likely future for severely disabled children was a lifetime in state institutions. The label of "imbecile" or idiot, which was assigned by a commission that assesses children with developmental problems at the age of 3 and which signified "uneducable," almost always was irrevocable, and even the label of "debil"--lightly retarded--follows a person throughout his or her life on official documents, creating barriers to employment and housing after graduation from state institutions. A study conducted by the Rights of the Child program of the Moscow Research Center for Human Rights found that on graduation at the age of 18 from a state institution for the lightly retarded, 30 percent of orphans became vagrants, 10 percent became involved in crime, and 10 percent committed suicide. The existing system provided little oversight and no formal recourse for orphans who have been misdiagnosed as mentally ill or retarded or who are abused or neglected while in state institutions. Facilities to which such children were remanded frequently used unprescribed narcotics to keep children under control.

The Rights of the Child Program has called for the establishment of an ombudsman for the rights of children with the power to enter and inspect children's facilities at any time of day or night without advance notification, and the Ministry of Labor and Social Development continued to work with UNICEF on a pilot program to establish regional children's rights ombudsmen. In 2001 the Moscow city Duma created the position of ombudsman for children's rights. According to the Ministry and the Rights of the Child NGO, there were ombudsmen in the cities of Yekaterinburg and St. Petersburg, and in the regions of Arzamas Volkskiy, Novgorod, Chechnya, Ivanovo, Kaluga, and Volgograd. Ombudsmen may only write a letter requesting an inquiry by law enforcement authorities, assist those whose rights have been violated to understand their legal rights, and make suggestions to legislators (local, regional, and federal) on ways to improve legislation.

Conditions for children in prisons and pretrial detention were problems.

Reportedly troops in Chechnya placed Chechen boys ages 13 and older in filtration camps where some reportedly were beaten and raped by guards, soldiers, or other inmates. The women's action group "White Kerchief" (Belyy platok) reported that some federal forces engaged in the kidnapping of children in Chechnya for ransom.

According to a December report by the U.N. special representative for children and armed conflict, Chechen rebels used children to plant landmines and explosives.

 

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS

The law does not specifically prohibit trafficking in persons, and although other provisions of the law may be used to prosecute traffickers, trafficking in women and children was a problem. There were no reliable estimates of its scope, but observers believed that trafficking was widespread. There were reports that the corruption of government officials facilitated trafficking.

Although no specific legislation addresses trafficking, several articles of the Criminal Code may be used to prosecute trafficking effected by force. For example, the law provides for a punishment of up to 5 years' imprisonment for the unlawful violation of the country's borders by a "group of persons in prior arrangement or by an organized group either using violence or the threat of violence." The law prohibits forcing a person into sexual activity, drawing a person into prostitution by force or threat of force, and organizing and maintaining a house of prostitution. The law punishes those who use forged documents to smuggle persons across a border; crossing the country's borders without required documentation is punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to 2 years; however, under the law, it was extremely difficult to prosecute a trafficker who persuades an adult victim to leave the country with him voluntarily, even for purposes of prostitution. It is much easier to prosecute a trafficker of minors, although the age of consent is 14. Prostitution is not a crime, although a 2001 revision of the Administrative Code made prostitution and pimping administrative violations. Fraud was the most frequent basis for prosecuting traffickers; however, the Government rarely investigated or prosecuted cases of trafficking of adults. Using fraud laws, Republic of Kareliya authorities attempted to prosecute individuals who trafficked young women to the United States. Republic authorities were unable to establish that the company concerned knew that the women would be defrauded once they were in the United States. The authorities consider that most of the illegal activity such as forced labor, sexual abuse, and deprivation of wages, takes place outside the country's borders and therefore is not within their jurisdiction.

Law enforcement bodies took the trafficking of children more seriously. In 2001, with the help of foreign law enforcement agencies, authorities were able to break up three major domestic child pornography rings during the year, which the police believed victimized hundreds of children.

The Russian Federation was a country of origin for trafficking in persons, particularly in the trafficking of women. Women reportedly were trafficked to European Union countries, the Middle East, Asia, and the United States. For example, reportedly 15,000 women and children were trafficked into "sex slavery" in China. Some believed that fraud statutes could be used as a basis for the prosecution of those who arrange for the contracting and transportation of the victims but also that an international cooperative law enforcement investigation would be required to establish such a link, an effort beyond the capacity of many local law enforcement organs. Efforts to prosecute such cases in Kareliya ended in acquittals. The country also served as a transit and destination country for women trafficked from the Caucasus and Central Asia to Western Europe. There were reports that women from Tajikistan, Ukraine, and other countries of the former Soviet Union were trafficked to Russia. There also were reported cases of Korean women trafficked to the country. NGOs alleged that organized crime increasingly was involved in trafficking in women and children, but reliable data were not available.

According to U.N. statistics, 63 percent of the registered unemployed were women, and many women were single parents facing a sharp decrease in social services since the end of the Soviet welfare state. These factors rendered increasing numbers of women from all educational backgrounds vulnerable to traffickers. Advertisements offering high-paying jobs abroad to young and attractive women were extremely common. MVD officers reported that most traffickers were criminal groups recruiting under the guise of employment agencies. Many traffickers placed ads in newspapers or public places for overseas employment; some employed women to pose as returned workers to recruit victims; some placed Internet or other ads for mail order brides; some were recruited by partners or friends. Women responded to such advertisements, usually paying their traffickers a fee for the service, for visa assistance, for their tickets, and often for other expenses. Upon arrival they are deprived of their travel and identification documents, and often all other personal effects, and forced to work in prostitution and other industries. Victims also were threatened with violence and told they were in violation of local law in order to frighten them away from local law enforcement agencies. They were isolated linguistically and removed from their social and family support systems, rendering them totally dependent upon their traffickers.

According to credible media reports, some employers forced workers from countries of the former Soviet Union--such as Uzbekistan--to work without pay. Employers or the individuals who brought the workers into the country withheld the workers' passports or other documentation and threatened them with exposure to law enforcement or immigration authorities if they demanded payment. At times the recruiter demanded part or all of the worker's wages to avoid deportation.

There were reports that children were kidnapped or purchased from parents, relatives, or orphanages for sexual abuse, child pornography, and the harvesting of body parts. When police investigated such cases, they sometimes found that these children were adopted legally by families abroad; however, there were confirmed cases of children trafficked for sexual exploitation. National law enforcement authorities believed that there was a brisk business in body parts, but international law enforcement and other organizations found no evidence to support this claim. Trafficking also was alleged to occur within the country's borders in the form of transport of young women from the provinces to the major cities to work as strippers and prostitutes. The more remote and impoverished the region the more vulnerable persons were to enticement. Many believed that these young women became involved voluntarily in prostitution; however, police confirmed that there was an element of coercion involved in prostitution that involved organized criminal groups. Men also reportedly were trafficked for their physical labor.

There were reports that individual government officials took bribes from individuals and organized trafficking rings to assist in issuing documents and facilitating visa fraud. Law enforcement sources agreed that often some form of document fraud was committed in the process of obtaining external passports and visas, but they were uncertain to what extent this involved official corruption rather than individual or organized criminal forgery and fraud. There were reports of prosecutions of officials involved in such corruption. The penalty for violating border laws with fraudulent documents was up to 3 years. The penalty for taking bribes was 3 to 7 years. Those who were charged with more than one crime received heavier sentences.

Government officials at the highest level, and most law enforcement agencies, acknowledged that a trafficking problem exists. Law enforcement bodies took no specific measures to prevent the export of women for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The belief that women were aware of the risks involved but choose to go anyway was pervasive. Criminal prosecution generally followed cooperation with international law enforcement structures. The MVD believed that the problem of trafficking in persons was primarily the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and consular services abroad. In October 2001, President Putin transferred responsibility for migration and immigration issues, including trafficking, to the MVD. Interior Minister Gryzlov oversaw a commission to develop programs for addressing problems including trafficking. The MVD, the FSB, and the Procuracy sought to cooperate with foreign governments on ways to combat trafficking, and law enforcement agencies participated in foreign-funded training programs; however, these agencies were not optimistic about reversing the trend through law enforcement alone. They all stated that better legislation was necessary before any law enforcement response was possible.

NGOs claimed that Russian consular officials abroad refused to help trafficked women. The MFA confirmed that it had no policy on assistance to victims of trafficking and was working to create appropriate guidance. Victims rarely filed complaints against the agencies that recruited them once they returned to the country, reporting that fear of reprisals often exceeded their hope of police assistance. Law enforcement authorities acknowledged that they rarely opened a case following such complaints because often no domestic law was broken, and law enforcement authorities are evaluated according to the number of cases they close.

There were no government initiatives to bring trafficking victims back to the country. Unless deported by the host country, women had to pay their own way home or turn to international NGOs for assistance. Women reported that without their documentation, which was often withheld by traffickers, they received no assistance from Russian consulates abroad. The Government did not provide direct assistance to trafficking victims. Victims of trafficking could turn to a crisis center or other NGOs that render assistance to female victims of sexual and other kinds of abuse. Many of the more than 55 crisis centers and anti-trafficking NGOs throughout the country provided information on trafficking and some provided assistance. NGOs that were members of the "Angel Coalition" claimed to have rescued a few women and have assisted several trafficking victims to reintegrate upon return to the country. These NGOs received varying degrees of support from regional and local governments. Some were invited to brief local officials and law enforcement personnel, and some provided training to local crisis centers and hospital staff. The Duma Committee on Legislation also sought the input of NGOs in its project to develop anti-trafficking legislation. Some foreign-funded crisis centers, such as the Anna Crisis Center in Moscow and the Women's Center in the Republic of Kareliya, provided psychological consultations for trafficking victims. In September a new center, partially funded by the Lutheran Church, opened in St. Petersburg to provide help to victims of trafficking. NGOs continued their activities in the areas of public education and victim support. For example, during the year, with the assistance of Winrock International, 28 NGOs in 12 cities of the Far East and Siberia provided economic empowerment training to 900 women in an effort to prevent trafficking.

 

DRUG TRAFFICKING

In the mid-1990s, narcotics addiction and sales play a growing role in the disruption of Russian society. This trend has been promoted by an adverse economic situation, a general lack of high-level control over the use and movement of narcotic substances, and the continued laxity of border controls. Between 1993 and 1995, the annual amount of seized drugs increased from thirty-five to ninety tons; experts believe that Russia has the largest per capita drug market of all the former Soviet republics.

According to the Russian government's Center for the Study of Drug Addiction, in early 1996 at least 500,000 Russians were dependent on illegal drugs. With use increasing at an estimated rate of 50 percent per year, the total number of users was estimated at 2 million in 1995. Drug traffickers, supplied mainly with opium from Central Asia and heroin from Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, have targeted Russia as a market and as a conduit to Western markets. In the early 1990s, cocaine use appeared among affluent young Russians, and beginning in 1993 the interception of cocaine shipments in St. Petersburg indicated that South American producers had entered the Russian market. Criminal organizations are believed to control most trafficking and distribution in Russia. Some local Russian distributors are closely linked with criminal groups in Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Ukraine. Russian soldiers and officers in Afghanistan and later in Central Asia became active in smuggling the narcotics easily available in those countries into Russia. Reportedly, members of the Russian 201st Motorized Infantry Division, stationed in Tajikistan, have established a profitable enterprise that is tacitly accepted by Russian and Tajikistani authorities. The Moscow State Institute of International Relations has reported the existence of a regular smuggling route going fromTajikistan to Russia's Black Sea port of Rostov-na-Donu via Turkmenistan, and from there to Western Europe. One explanation of the Russian attack on Chechnya, published in the independent newspaper Nezavisimaya gazeta , was that it was a reprisal against Chechen president Dzhokar Dudayev for demanding more protection money for narcotics shipments through Chechnya to Rostov-na-Donu.

Narcotics production in Russia also is rising. In 1993 the government seized 215 laboratories, many of them small-scale amphetamine producers who used stolen government equipment. Newly privatized chemical laboratories are more difficult to monitor than were Soviet-era state facilities. Opium poppies and marijuana are grown in southern Russia, although cultivation is illegal. In 1995 an MVD official estimated that about 1 million hectares of wild cannabis was growing and easily available in Siberia; opium cultivation also is believed to be increasing.

In 1994 the Yeltsin administration formed an interministerial counternarcotics committee, involving twenty-four agencies, to coordinate drug policy. In 1995 a three-year antidrug program was approved to support interdiction and drug treatment facilities. The program also was intended to criminalize drug use, extend sentences for drug trafficking, and establish a pharmaceuticals-monitoring process. In 1995 the full-time staff of the anti-drug-trafficking department of the MVD increased from about 3,500 to 4,000. The State Customs Committee increased its drug control staff by 350 and added fifty field offices, and the Federal Border Service created an antidrug force. The Moscow City Council instituted drug education programs in some city schools in 1993, and several private organizations have sponsored national programs to curb demand. The government has not aggressively addressed the rehabilitation of drug addicts or the reduction of demand, however; in 1995 an estimated 90 percent of Russia's drug addicts went untreated.

The Russian government has signed a number of international conventions on narcotics (responsibility for some of which it inherited from the Soviet Union), including the 1988 United Nations Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Russia will not be in full compliance with the convention, however, until it has stricter controls on production and distribution and tougher criminal penalties for possession of drugs. The United States government has offered Russia advice and training courses on various aspects of narcotics control. A mutual legal-assistance agreement with the United States went into effect in early 1996, and the Federal Border Service has memorandums of understanding on narcotics cooperation with the United States Coast Guard and with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

A new, comprehensive law on narcotics and psychotropic substances went into effect in Russia on April 15, 1998. The number of drug related crimes grew by seven percent in the first nine months of 1998, compared to the similar period in 1997, according to statistics from the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD). Poppy straw and cannabis products dominate drug trafficking cases, but domestic consumption of cocaine, heroin, amphetamines and synthetics has increased. Heroin seizures increased more than three-fold in 1998, while cocaine seizures declined by 82 percent. There is insufficient information to determine how much of the money illicitly filtering through Russia's financial services system is derived from narcotics trafficking. Russia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Russia is a conduit for illicit drugs such as Asian heroin and South American cocaine, largely destined for Western European markets. It is also a minor producer of illicit amphetamines, cannabis and opium poppy, mostly supplying domestic consumption. The country's immediate neighbors add to the supply of cannabis, opium and opium derivatives in the domestic market. Law enforcement efforts have been targeted to tamp the increasing use of heroin and cocaine in recent years.

Ethnic Russian criminal groups control most narcotics trafficking and distribution in the country, with the active participation of members of ethnic groups from around the New Independent States (NIS) and other countries. Control over various types of drugs is divided among different groups who have established proprietary niches, often to avoid disputes. In general, Afghans, Tajiks and other Central Asians traffic in heroin, opium and opium derivatives in European Russia and Western Siberia; Vietnamese and Chinese traffic drugs through Eastern Siberia. Ukrainians focus on cannabis; Nigerians and other Africans predominate in cocaine; and Azerbaijanis in synthetic drugs.

Privatization of chemical laboratories has provided the opportunity for some or part of such facilities to be used for illicit purposes. For example, in April 1998 two persons were convicted in a Moscow court for producing illicit drugs two years earlier in a part of a laboratory rented from the Russian Chemical Technical University.

Russia has focused its counternarcotics efforts on law enforcement. The new drug law and the criminal code, which went into effect in 1997, have substantially enhanced police powers to act against illicit drug trafficking. A greater emphasis appears to have been placed on drugs destined for domestic consumption, particularly originating from Central and Southeast Asia.

In April 1998, a new comprehensive law on narcotics and psychotropic substances went into effect. Based on the law, the purchase and possession of drugs without intent to distribute was criminalized. Russian law now provides for punishment of up to three years imprisonment for "large" quantities, defined as 0.1 gram to 500 grams of marijuana, 0.01 to 1 gram of cocaine or up to 0.005 grams of heroin. Purchase and possession of drugs with intent to distribute similar quantities is punishable by three to seven years imprisonment and confiscation of property. Regarding "specially large" quantities, greater than the amounts specified above, and involving the element of conspiracy or organization, the law provides for punishment of 7 to 15 years incarceration.

Although extradition mechanisms are lacking, Russia cooperates with other countries in bringing international traffickers to justice. In October, for example, Russian authorities deported an alleged South American trafficker to the United States for prosecution.

The number of drug related crimes grew by seven percent in the first nine months of 1998, compared to the similar period in 1997, according to statistics from the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD). The largest increase, approximately 100 percent, involved cases of "specially large quantities". In the first nine months of 1998 (compared to a similar period in 1997), Russian authorities seized 126.6 kilograms of heroin, up 338 percent; 9.4 kilograms of cocaine, down 82 percent; and 16,560 kilograms of marijuana, up 6 percent.

Two major operations illustrate Russia's law enforcement counternarcotics efforts. In April, the MVD in the northern city of St. Petersburg conducted a 10-day operation, "Doping 98". As a result authorities seized 5.15 kilograms of narcotics and brought up 579 criminal cases. One of Russia's largest drug seizures of the year occurred in September in the southern part of the country. Working with security forces from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, MVD narcotics control department and FSB officers seized 155 kilograms of opium, 1.6 kilograms of heroin and about 12 kilograms of hashish in three trucks originating from Tajikistan.

Minister of Internal Affairs Stepashin, appointed by President Yeltsin in May, has made counternarcotics law enforcement one of the MVD's highest priorities. The focus has been to strengthen the MVD's capabilities in this area as a federal ministry and in cooperation with local authorities. The interior minister is tasked by the president to coordinate all of the country's counternarcotics activities. Inadequate resources hamper the MVD's counternarcotics efforts.

There have been no reported cases of narcotics-related corruption that facilitates the production, processing, or shipment of narcotics and psychotropic drugs and other controlled substances or that discourages the investigation or prosecution of such acts. A draft law on corruption is stalled in the State Duna. The office of the procurator general has become more active in the pursuit of corruption cases not related to narcotics and a number of high ranking government and military officials face prosecution.

Russia is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 Single Convention and its 1972 protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. In 1995, the Russian border service concluded an agreement with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to reinforce trilateral counternarcotics cooperation on the borders with Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. A customs union consisting of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus also was established in 1995. Russia is a party to the 1992 Kiev treaty on cooperation in inter-regional drug investigations.

In July 1998, the U.S. drug enforcement administration and the MVD signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on counternarcotics cooperation. A 1995 MOU between the Russian Federal Border Service and the USG includes provisions for maritime drug interdiction. The annex of the executive agreement on mutual legal assistance on criminal matters of 1996 addresses traffic in illicit drugs and psychotropic substance as well as money laundering.

The U.S. and Russia have a Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement and negotiation of a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) continued in 1998. There is no extradition treaty in force between Russia and the United States. Russia is a party to the WTO's international convention on mutual administrative assistance for the prevention, investigation, and repression of customs offenses "Nairobi convention" annex on assistance in narcotics cases. A U.S.-Russia customs mutual assistance agreement (CMAA) is in force.

Although there are no official statistics on the extent of opium cultivation, the USG has no evidence to suggest that more than 1,000 hectares of opium are cultivated. In the first nine months of 1998, Russia eradicated eight hectares of wild and cultivated opium. Despite the 1.5 million hectares of wild cannabis, we have no evidence that 5,000 or more hectares are being harvested. In the first nine months of 1998, Russian authorities eradicated 62,000 hectares of wild cannabis and 55 hectares of cultivated cannabis. We have no evidence of how much may be being harvested.

Heroin from South Asia flows through Central Asia into Southern Russia for domestic consumption or further through Ukraine and Poland into Western Europe. The MVD considers the Krasnodar region and the customs point at Bratsk major hot points. The lack of effective border controls with China and Mongolia facilitates international drug trafficking through that region. Nigerian and South American drug traffickers exploit international air links, routing cocaine through Moscow and other major Russian cities.

Drug abuse prevention and treatment remain limited. The April narcotics law provides for compulsory treatment of drug abusers who come to the attention of the authorities. The law also restricts drug abuse treatment to government institutions and facilities.

The principal U.S. goal is to assist Russia in integrating counternarcotics efforts into international efforts against drug trafficking and to strengthen Russian institutions to address the problem domestically. The full staffing of the DEA country office, established in 1996, has facilitated cooperative efforts. DEA also has provided forensics and basic and advanced drug investigation training to representatives of the MVD, the federal security service, customs and federal border guards. This program, along with training provided by other U.S. law enforcement agencies, has reached more than 5,000 Russian law enforcement officials through courses and seminars in Russia, the U.S., and the international law enforcement academy in Budapest.

A U.S.-Russia bilateral counternarcotics assistance agreement remains stalled pending passage of tax legislation. The draft agreement provides for the receiving country to grant duty and tax exemptions for the assistance. This provision falls outside existing Russian legislation and the GOR therefore cannot commit to such an obligation. The appropriate legislation is pending before the Russian legislature.

The Road Ahead Bolstered by the passage of a new drug law, Russia has given high priority to counter narcotics efforts and can be expected to continue its excellent cooperation on drug matters with the U.S. and the international community. The U.S. will continue to provide training aimed at strengthening institutions and law enforcement efforts.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Internet research assisted by Josh Berke

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