«The Russian Federation has a centralized political system, with power concentrated in a president and a prime minister, a weak multiparty political ...»
In 2008 the ombudsman's office reported that approximately 640,000 of the country's persons with disabilities were children. Authorities generally segregated such children from mainstream society through a system that institutionalized them until adulthood. Observers concluded that issues of children's welfare often were ignored, and there were few means of addressing systemic problems of abuse.
Human rights groups alleged that children with disabilities in state institutions were poorly provided for and, in some cases, physically abused by staff members.
"Graduates" of state institutions also often lacked the necessary social, educational, and vocational skills to function in society. According to a 2006 report by the Prosecutor General's Office, half of the more than 600,000 children with disabilities in state care lacked medicines, hearing aids, and wheelchairs. The NGO Children's Rights confirmed in September 2009 that this situation had not changed.
There appeared to be no legal mechanism by which individuals could contest their commitment to a facility for persons with disabilities. The assignment of categories of disability to children with mental disabilities often followed them through their lives. The labels "imbecile" and "idiot," which were assigned by a commission that assesses children with developmental problems at the age of three and signifies that a child is uneducable, were almost always irrevocable. Even the label "debil" (slightly retarded) followed an individual on official documents, creating barriers to employment and housing after graduation from state institutions. This designation was increasingly challenged in the case of children with parents or individual caregivers, but there were few advocates for the rights of institutionalized children.
Youths with disabilities not in institutions faced significant barriers to education, including a lack of access to schools. According to the May 2009 Public Chamber study, only 3 percent of children studied under conditions analogous to mainstream students, and 87 percent of higher education institutions did not accept students
RUSSIAwith disabilities. Education authorities often tried to keep youths with disabilities out of school due to lack of special programs. Parents of children without disabilities often were averse to their children studying with children with disabilities. Rights activists stated, however, that attitudes toward including disabled children in mainstream schools were changing, with such children being admitted to schools in many places around the country, although the numbers are still small.
There have been mixed results in attempts to accommodate children with disabilities in educational facilities. According to Perspektiva, part of the problem is due to the absence of a formal federal-level definition of inclusive education for persons with disabilities and the fact that the law does not contain a clear mechanism to ensure inclusiveness in education. On April 28, the Moscow City Duma passed a law on The Education of Persons with Disabilities in Moscow, which observers contended created some improvements in education for persons with disabilities.
Perspektiva noted that rather than provide special equipment that would allow a visually impaired child to attend class, the school administration in Stavropol recommended that the child receive education at home. In response to a complaint filed by lawyers on behalf of the student's family, the school revoked its initial recommendation and provided the needed equipment as well as a staff member to escort the child to classes.
The mother of a student wheelchair user appealed to the education department in Nizhny Novgorod to provide a wheelchair-accessible environment at the State University. After being denied her request, during the following two years, the parent unsuccessfully petitioned the governor, the Nizhny Novgorod Department of Education, and the regional ministry of education for wheel-chair access at the university before abandoning her efforts, reportedly for fear of attracting harm to her son.
The mother of an 11-year-old wheelchair user was initially unsuccessful in her campaign in Butovo to have the student's new school accommodate his special mobility needs for his classes on the third and fourth floor of the school. It was primarily due to the public appeal and rally organized by the NGO Perspektiva and coverage by the media that authorities eventually built a chair lift in the school.
RUSSIAAccording to government reports, of approximately 450,000 school-age children with disabilities, an estimated 200,000 did not receive any education. Of the 250,000 who received an education, 140,000 attended regular schools, 40,000 studied at home, and 70,000 attended special education schools. Because special education schools constituted only 3 percent of all schools, most children with disabilities could not study in the communities where they lived and were isolated from other members of the community.
The election laws contain no special provisions concerning the accessibility of polling places, and the majority of polling places were not accessible to persons with disabilities. However, the law provides for mobile ballot boxes to be brought to the homes of the disabled.
The mandates of government bodies charged with protecting human rights included the protection of persons with disabilities. These bodies carried out a number of inspections in response to complaints from disability organizations and, in some cases, appealed to the responsible agencies to remedy individual situations. Inspections by the Ombudsman's Office of Homes for Children with Mental Disabilities continued to disclose severe violations of children's rights and substandard conditions. According to the Moscow Department of Education, there are approximately 26,000 children with disabilities in Moscow, but only the special needs of 100 children with disabilities in secondary level education have been accommodated. According to Perspektiva, federal funding for social support of the disabled from 2006-10 was 310 million rubles ($10 million), and a subprogram for rehabilitation of those disabled due to violent conflict was 9.58 million rubles ($333,000). Federal grants to non-governmental organizations serving the disabled in 2010 alone totaled 800 million rubles ($27.8 million), and the Moscow government reportedly spent 36.5 billion rubles ($1.27 billion) between 2007 and 2009 on its Social Integration of Disabled Persons and Other Persons with Disabilities program. The federal government plans to spend 46 billion rubles ($1.6 billion) over five years through its Accessible Environment program to improve access for the disabled.
The law prohibits discrimination based on nationality; however, government officials at times subjected minorities to discrimination. Recent years saw a steady rise in societal violence and discrimination against minorities, particularly Roma, persons from the Caucasus and Central Asia, dark-skinned persons, and foreigners.
RUSSIAThe number of reported hate crimes increased during the year, and skinhead groups and other extreme nationalist organizations fomented racially motivated violence.
Racist propaganda remained a problem during the year, although courts continued to convict individuals of inciting ethnic hatred by means of propaganda. In December, in the wake of the death of an ethnic Russian after a street brawl involving ethnic Russians and persons of Caucasus origin, Moscow experienced widespread racial rioting by thousands of participants that the authorities were often unable to control. Several dozen individuals of Central Asian and Caucasus appearance were attacked and severely beaten in the capital. President Medvedev condemned the nationalist violence. Some high-level government officials initially failed to do so, and some appeared to give legitimacy to the demands of the nationalists, placing the blame on foreign migrants.
A number of studies released in March 2009 by independent NGOs and advocacy groups, such as the Tajik Migrant Workers Union, found widespread problems of unpaid laborers with no legal recourse.
Persons of color complained of unequal treatment at the hands of authorities. In Moscow authorities subjected persons of color, especially those of Central Asian and Caucasus appearance, to far more frequent document checks than others and frequently demanded bribes from those lacking documents.
According to the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy's Task Force on Racial Violence and Harassment, police in Moscow consistently failed to record the abuse of African minorities, and did not charge the alleged attackers with any crime or issue copies of police reports to the alleged victims. In one case this year, a policeman refused to record an attack on a Congolese student in Moscow because the event took place on a Friday, the day in question was a holiday and "this is Russia." On another occasion, the police allegedly told a Cameroonian victim that it was too late in the evening to make a police report and to come back the next day. When the victim returned the following day, the police attempted to twist the events and claim that the victim was actually the attacker.
Twenty-four racially motivated attacks on Africans were reported this year in Moscow, according to the SOVA Center. In one March attack, two unknown men attacked a man from Cameroon with knives, hospitalizing him for three weeks.
In Bashkortostan, authorities required applicants for new identity documents to state their ethnic origins, contrary to the constitution, which states that "no one
RUSSIAshall be forced to identify and state their ethnicity." Some officials appeared to stoke societal antipathy toward migrant workers from Central Asia by making statements imputing greater criminality to migrants than to citizens. In May 2009 Federal Investigative Committee head Aleksandr Bastrykin commented to an interviewer that migrants were to blame for the majority of crimes in society. In December hundreds of members of the Young Guard, a youth wing of the United Russia Party, rallied in Moscow to demand the expulsion of millions of nonethnic Russian labor migrants.
Skinhead violence continued to be a serious problem. Skinheads primarily targeted foreigners, particularly Asians and individuals from the Northern Caucasus, although they also expressed anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic sentiments. According to the Ministry of Interior, neo-fascist movements had approximately 15,000 to 20,000 members, more than 5,000 of whom were estimated to live in Moscow.
However, the ministry stated that if the category were expanded to include "extremist youth groups" in general, the number was closer to 200,000 countrywide. In February 2009 the MBHR estimated that there were as many as 70,000 skinhead and radical nationalist organizations, compared with a few thousand in the early 1990s. Skinhead groups were most numerous in Moscow, St.
Petersburg, Nizhniy Novgorod, Yaroslavl, and Voronezh. The three most prominent ultranationalist groups--the Great Russia Party, the Slavic Union Movement, and the Movement against Illegal Immigration --claimed, respectively, 80,000, 10,000, and 20,000 members. However, membership claims by these underground organizations were difficult to verify.
Police investigation of cases that appeared to be racially or ethnically motivated was frequently ineffective. Authorities were at times reluctant to acknowledge the racial or nationalist element in the crimes, often calling attacks "hooliganism."
Many victims met with police indifference, and immigrants and asylum seekers who lacked residence documents recognized by police often chose not to report attacks. According to the SOVA Center, willingness to recognize crimes as hate crimes varied widely depending on the personal views of the local prosecutor; the center noted that the number of hate crimes prosecuted in Moscow increased significantly after a new prosecutor took office in 2008.
The SOVA Center reported a general increase in the amount of racially motivated violence. According to SOVA data, there were 400 racially motivated attacks during the year, resulting in 37 deaths and 363 injuries, an increase from 19 persons killed and 167 injured in 2009. The SOVA Center stated that during the
RUSSIAyear, 273 persons were convicted for crimes motivated by "aggressive xenophobia," of whom 154 were imprisoned. In most cases the attackers wore skinhead attire or proclaimed nationalist slogans.
According to the SOVA Center, on February 3, Konstantin Dushenov, editor of an ultranationalist newspaper, Rus Pravoslavnaya, was found guilty of inflaming racial hatred and sentenced to three years in jail.
A June 2009 report by SOVA noted that, in addition to their more traditional targets, neo-Nazis were increasing their attacks on law-enforcement personnel. For example, on April 12, Moscow judge Eduard Chuvashov was shot to death in his central Moscow apartment complex. He had presided over high-profile trials of fascists, including the ultranationalist White Wolves gang and the RynoSkachevsky group. The White Wolves had been charged with killing non-white victims and the Ryno group with killing 20 persons and targeting migrants.
On April 30, a Moscow city court outlawed the neo-Nazi Slavic Union group, declaring it extremist.
On May 14, a grenade was thrown into a Muslim-owned store in St. Petersburg. It is suspected that the crime was racially motivated. On May17, a popular ethnically Brazilian Soviet-era actor, Tito Romalio, was attacked and later died. It was suspected that the crime was racially motivated as well.