«The Russian Federation has a centralized political system, with power concentrated in a president and a prime minister, a weak multiparty political ...»
The NGO Children's Rights estimated that 2 percent of the country's children were neglected or lived on the streets. Police attempted to return approximately 70 percent of them to a home or institution. According to Rossiskaya Gazeta, a government publication, the number of children living in extreme poverty fell from
3.1 percent in November 2008 to 1.4 percent in November of 2009. According to Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin, during the year 100,000 children were the victims of serious crimes, a decrease from 126,000 child victims in 2008. An estimated 20,000 minors were missing at the end of the year, including 5,000 small children.
Homeless children often engaged in criminal activities, received no education, and were vulnerable to drug and alcohol abuse. Some children on the streets turned to, or were forced into, prostitution, often to survive. According to a 2010 report by the Foundation for Assistance to Children in Difficult Life Situations, juveniles in 2009 committed 94,700 crimes, a decrease from 116,100 committed in 2008.
Although there was no nationwide telephone hotline for reporting child abuse, the Presidential Administration, in conjunction with foreign governments, provided grants through the National Charity Foundation to local NGOs, such as the National Foundation for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, to train staff on and strengthen local hotlines for child abuse across the country.
In March 2007 the government implemented its flagship child welfare program, Children of Russia. During the year this program continued the construction and renovation of orphanages and centers for disabled children and detention centers for juvenile offenders. The program also focused on the comprehensive rehabilitation and social integration of disabled children in a family environment and supplied children's rehabilitation centers with equipment.
The Foundation for Assistance to Children in Difficult Life Situations was established in 2008 by presidential order. The program has provided more than 1.7 billion rubles ($56.3 million) to cofinance 109 programs in 50 regions and to finance 307 projects in 63 regions.
RUSSIAIn September 2009 President Medvedev established the post of Ombudsman for the Rights of Children and appointed Aleksey Golovan, a well-known human rights activist, to the post. In December the president replaced Golovan with lawyer and Public Chamber member Pavel Astakhov. According to the Moscow Times, authorities dismissed Golovan at the behest of Russian Orthodox groups who objected to his support for a juvenile justice system separate from the one for adults. The responsibilities of the children's ombudsman include following the activities of state agencies at the federal level, ensuring the observance of the rights of children, and writing an annual report similar to that of Ombudsman Lukin.
Regional ombudsmen for children operated in 25 regions with the authority to conduct independent investigations relating to the violation of children's rights, inspect any institutions and executive offices dealing with minors, establish councils of public experts, and conduct an independent evaluation of legislation affecting children. In a number of schools in the Moscow and Volgograd Oblasts, there were school ombudsmen dealing with children and families and identifying potential conflicts and violations of the rights of children.
According to 2007 data from the Moscow Department of Social Security, 12 percent of street children in shelters had run away from orphanages or residential facilities. Law enforcement officials reportedly abused street children, blamed them for unsolved crimes, and committed illegal acts against them, including extortion, illegal detention, and psychological and sexual violence.
Then children's ombudsman noted in a September 2009 interview with Vremya Novostei that approximately 160,000 of the country's orphans lived in orphanages and suffered from "psychological and emotional neglect."
Russia is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. For information on international child abduction, please see the Department of State's annual report on compliance at http://travel.state.gov/abduction/resources/congressreport/congressreport_4308.htm l as well as country-specific information at http://travel.state.gov/abduction/country/country_3781.html.
An estimated 250,000 Jews lived in the country, constituting less than 0.25 percent of the population, according to government sources and various Jewish groups.
RUSSIASome researchers believed that the number was underreported due to the hesitation of some Jews to publicly identify their background.
Although Jewish leaders reported improvements in official attitudes towards Jews, anti-Semitism remained a problem at the societal level. Violent attacks against Jews were infrequent, with only a few episodes occurring during the year.
According to a May 24 report from Jewish.ru, soccer fans from St. Petersburg angry about their team's loss in a game held in Rostov-on-Don beat up Roman Kosarev, a Jew, and shouted anti-Semitic epithets. Authorities began an investigation and promised to bring those responsible to justice. There were no further developments by year's end.
There continued to be reports across the country of vandals desecrating Jewish synagogues and cemeteries and defacing Jewish religious and cultural facilities, sometimes combined with threats to the Jewish community, although the amount of vandalism is generally decreasing. The SOVA Center, an NGO that seeks to combat extremism and nationalism, registered six acts of anti-Semitic vandalism.
There has been a reduction in vandalism due to a decrease in the activities of nationalist groups Russian Way and Resistance, which had been very active in these crimes.
On March 12, anti-Semitic slogans were written in graffiti on the walls of a synagogue in Izhevsk. Two minors were charged in the incident. On April 20, Adolf Hitler's birthday, anti-Semitic graffiti appeared in several parts of Ulyanovsk, according to the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia. AntiSemitic graffiti and leaflets appeared frequently in many regions, including at a Communist Party meeting in Ulyanovsk on May 1.
The SOVA Center also reported desecrations of graves in Jewish cemeteries in Nizhny Novgorod, Makhachkala, and Kaliningrad in 2009. Officials often classified these crimes as "hooliganism." In many cases in which local authorities prosecuted cases, courts imposed suspended sentences. In some cases, however, the hate crime motive was taken into consideration. According to the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights, law enforcement officials were investigating vandalism in Voronezh, where 20 gravestones in a local Jewish cemetery were knocked down on July 27. On October 7, anti-Semitic inscriptions appeared on a Jewish synagogue in Barnaul. At year's end the local police were investigating the incident.
RUSSIAOn June 22, an explosion next to a synagogue in Tver took place in the middle of the night, damaging the exterior of the building but causing no casualties. The governor of the Tver Region announced that he would take the investigation of the attack under his personal control. As of the end of the reporting period, there was no further information on the attack.
On October 28, a Moscow Court sentenced a 22-year old neo-fascist with links to the Nationalist Socialist Society to life imprisonment for killing 15 persons, some of whom were Jewish. According to the head of the Ministry of Interior' Scientific Research Institute, there are more than 150 neo-Nazi groups in Russia, and the number was rising.
In September 2009 skinheads in Khabarovsk threw Molotov cocktails into a synagogue and into the house of a policeman who had been investigating cases of extremism. Khabarovsk Anti-extremist Department police detained the group, and criminal proceedings were opened against two of the suspects. They faced up to five years' imprisonment for the synagogue attack and up to life imprisonment for the attack on the police officer.
Anti-Semitism on television or in other mainstream media was infrequent and was more likely to appear in low-circulation newspapers or in pamphlets. However, according to the Moscow Bureau of Human Rights (MBHR), anti-Semitic material on Russian-language Internet sites increased during the year.
There were several instances in which the government successfully prosecuted individuals for anti-Semitic statements or publications. On March 12, a court in Izhevsk gave a one-year suspended sentence to neo-Nazi Russian National Unity member Andrey Mokrushin for painting swastikas and anti-Semitic threats on the walls of a local Jewish community center, according to the Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union. On February 3, a court sentenced the editor of the anti-Semitic newspaper Orthodox Rus to three years in a prison colony for inciting ethnic and religious hatred for distributing an anti-Semitic film, Russia with a Knife in the Back.
On May 27, a court fined a Novosibirsk man 1,000 rubles ($33) for distributing the Nazi propaganda film Eternal Jew. On July 9, a Tyumen court dismissed incitement charges against college professor Svetlana Shestakova for a series of lectures in which she claimed that Jews ritually kill Christian children. The court
RUSSIAdropped the charges due to the expiration of a statute of limitation, according to the Union of Councils of Former Soviet Jews.
On June 30, the editor of the newspaper Russian Truth was fined 450,000 rubles ($14,720) for inciting ethnic hatred in a 2006 publication entitled Why don't people like the Jewish mafia?
The government has publicly criticized nationalist ideology and expressed support for legal action in response to anti-Semitic acts. However, the Liberal Democratic Party organized a July 10 Duma roundtable called "On the Question of Recognizing the Genocide of the Russian People," which resulted in a declaration blaming the "international Zionist financial mafia for genocide against the Russian people."
Federal authorities, and in many cases regional and local authorities, facilitated the establishment of new Jewish institutions. Vladimir Putin, both as president in 2008 and subsequently as prime minister, publicly criticized anti-Semitism and supported the establishment of the Museum of Tolerance by the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia. Work continued on a 2.7 billion ruble ($89 million) complex on land donated by the Moscow city government to house the museum as well as Jewish community institutions, including a school and a hospital.
Trafficking in Persons For information on trafficking in persons, please see the Department of State's annual Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/g/tip.
Persons with Disabilities Several laws prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities or mandate their equal treatment; however, the government generally did not enforce these laws. Citizens with disabilities continued to face discrimination and denial of equal access to education, employment, and social institutions. The situation for persons with disabilities reportedly worsened following the replacement of government inkind subsidies for such items as transportation and medicine with cash payments in
2004. Some affluent regions, such as Moscow, preserved benefits for persons with disabilities at preexisting levels, while most other regions provided a limited number of benefits, such as free transportation. According to information provided
RUSSIAby a leading NGO working on disability rights, persons with mental disabilities were severely discriminated against in both education and employment. In addition, the conditions of guardianship imposed upon them by courts deprived them of practically all personal rights.
In May 2009, the daily Moskovskiy Komsomolets reported that there were 13 million persons with disabilities. In 2006 the human rights ombudsman stated that in the previous 10 years more than 120,000 persons have become disabled as a result of military actions and war injuries, and according to the NGO Perspektiva, the number continued to grow as a result of new conflicts. Persons with disabilities generally were excluded from the social and political life of their communities and isolated from mainstream society. However, there were several Duma deputies with disabilities, and lobbying in favor of persons with disabilities to improve legislation occurred. A joint study released in May 2009 by the Public Chamber and EU representatives found that 20 percent of respondents considered persons with disabilities to be burdens on society. Forty percent of the disabled surveyed reported that they experienced social problems, in particular insults and hostility.
At the same time, disability rights activists believe that some attitudes were changing for the better. An August 27 rally in Moscow, in which many wheelchair users and celebrities participated, attracted three times as many participants as the same rally did in 2009; the rally was supported by many officials and was covered by all major television and radio stations, newspapers, and blogs.
Conditions in institutions for adults with disabilities were often poor, with unqualified staff and overcrowding. The residents were mainly "graduates" of similar institutions for children. Institutions rarely attempted to develop the abilities of residents, who were frequently confined to the institutions and sometimes restricted in their movement within the institutions themselves.
Federal law on the protection of persons with disabilities requires that buildings be made accessible to persons with disabilities, but authorities did not enforce the law, and in practice most buildings were not accessible. A reporter for Noviye Izvestiye estimated in a September 2009 article that 10 to 30 percent of Moscow's buildings were inaccessible to persons with disabilities. Likewise, only 8 percent of the city's 36,000 street crossings were completely equipped for the disabled. Although accessibility requirements were imposed in 1995, efforts to realize them have been undertaken in earnest only in the last three to five years.