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Country Information Russian Federation





INDEX

at a glance

destination Russia

civilization and culture

(glossary)

 


AT A GLANCE

Area

17 075 200 square kilometres

Population

140 million (July 2009)

Capital city

Moscow (10,5 million inhabitants 2008)

Official language

Russian

Gross national product per capita

US$ 15 800 (2008) (PPP)

Population growth

- 0.47 % (2009)

Life expectancy

66 years (men: 59,3 years, women: 73,1 years) (2009)

Infant mortality

10,6 per 1000 live births (2009)

Rate of illiteracy

0.5 per cent (2007)

 


DESTINATION RUSSIAN FEDERATION

Tourism

Tourism in Russia is not yet as important as the government would like. In According to UNWTO in the year 2005 approximately 20 million guests came into the country and paid 4,4 billion Euro. Two-thirds of these came from the former Soviet Republics. Although the Russian Ministry would like to see an increase in the numbers of foreign visitors, there are constraints such as tight visa requirements and inadequate hotels and service provisions. Also Moscow is known as the biggest, most expensive and dirtiest city of Europe.


 

Commercial sexual exploitation of children in tourism

Although tourism is still limited in Russia, the sexual exploitation of children by foreigners is very much a problem, and is firmly under the control of organised crime. According to estimates only in the area of Moscow 20,000 to 30,000 children are victims of prostitution. Once a child is in the hands of the Mafia, there is little chance of escape, and eight-year-old victims are not a rarity. Street children often suffer this fate either because they  find themselves in a desperate situation or because force is exerted on them. Drug addicts may turn to prostitution as a way of paying for new drugs. Adults exploit the dire situation of street children - they offer them a place to stay, but they then expect sexual services in return.

 

Russian women and children are trafficked in large numbers to other countries where they are sexually exploited and forced into prostitution. Criminal organisations are estimated to earn some US $ 7 billion annually by supplying brothels in other countries with Russian women, and as many as 1 million Russians have been taken to other countries and sexually exploited there. 

 

There has been a marked increase in the sexual exploitation of minors for the production of pornographic films, which are also spread over the Internet. According to reports by the German news magazine Spiegel Online there has been a gradual erosion of taboos since the early 1990s, both regarding levels of violence and also the age of the children involved.


 

Law

Russia ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on August 17, 1990 and undertook to protect children against all forms of sexual exploitation. Sexual acts on minors can be punished with prison sentences of four to ten years, and sexual acts on children below the age of 14 can be punished with eight to fifteen years in prison.


 

HIV / Aids

According to estimates from UNAIDS and the World Health Organization, at the end of 2007 approximately 940.000 people in Russia were infected with HIV, including 240.000 women. How many children were infected, could not be estimated. In the same year 35.000 Russians died following infection with HIV. There are 0,7 per cent of the population (1,1 per cent of people aged 15 to 49 years) infected with HIV. Russia has one of highest rates in Europe. The number of new infections increased rapidly (from 2003 to 2005 approximately 140.000). That have been the highest growth rate in Europe. A very high increase could have seen at children. Between 2005 and 2007 the number of Russians infected by HIV stagnated, but HIV is still a big problem in Russia.


 

Local Contacts

 

MIRAMED INSTITUTE - MOSCOW

Koteinicheskaya Naberezhnaya 1/15

Korpus B, Apartment 52

Moscow 109240 Russia

Phone/Fax: +495 915-46-14

Email: vsuprunov@miramed.org

Website: http://www.miramedinstitute.org

 

stellit

190020, Russia, St.Petersburg,

Bumazhnaja str. 9

office 617

Telefon: +7 (812) 445 2893

Fax: +7 (812) 445 2894

Email: info@ngostellit.ru

Website: http://www.ngostellit.ru

 


CIVILIZATION AND CULTURE

History

Like Belarus and the Ukraine, Russia traces its roots back to the Kiev Rus, a feudal Slav power based in Kiev. In the 13th century, Novgorod was the only principality to escape the domination of the Mongol Golden Horde, and it only near the end of the 15th century that the princes of Moscow gradually overthrew the Mongols. In the following centuries the Russian empire consolidated under Ivan IV and later under Peter the Great and Catherine, and grew to spread from the Baltic to the Pacific Ocean. After repulsing Napoleon's invasion in 1812, Russia gained parts of the Duchy of Warsaw, and it annexed Georgia, Armenia, and Caucasus territories in the following decades. The strains and privations brought about by industrialisation alongside the heritage of serfdom were worsened by the First World War, and finally led to the overthrow of the tsarist regime in 1917. Following the October Revolution and five years of civil war, the Soviet Union was founded in 1922. When Stalin came to power he eliminated his rivals in show trials and his rule of terror led to the deaths of many millions. Although the USSR fought with the Allies in World War II, subsequent tensions with the West led to decades of Cold War.

After a period of crisis in the 1980s, the Soviet Union broke up in 1991. The re-named Russian Federation became the leading member of the Commonwealth of Independent States.


 

State and society

The Russian Federation comprises 21 former Soviet Republics. The President is also commander of the armed forces. He is elected directly for four years and nominates the prime minister and important ministers. He is able to pass decrees with legal force. The parliament consists of the State Duma (450 deputies) and the Federations Council (178 deputies, with two representatives per territory).

 

With more than 100 different nationalities, Russia is one of the largest multinational states in the world. Some 80 per cent of the population are Russian, 4% Tartars and 3% Ukrainians. All other groups make up less than 1 per cent of the total population. In addition to Russian, 100 other languages are spoken. 72 per cent of the Russian population are Russian-Orthodox and ten per cent are Muslims. There are a number of other religious communities each making up less than 1 per cent of the total population.

 

A significant proportion of the population is affected by unemployment and a lack of prospects. The social consequences are evident in the high divorce rate and the levels of domestic violence 83 out of 100 marriages in Russia end in divorce, 60 % of children suffer from domestic violence. Children often end up in state institutions, many of which are in a truly desolate state. There is also little in the way of effective preventive social work to reverse this trend.

 

Women have been particularly hard hit by the economic problems in recent years. Women represent 70 per cent of those registered unemployed, and they receive some 30 per cent less pay than men doing the same work. Prostitution is the only way some women see to earn a living for themselves and for their children. 

 

Domestic violence and disrupted family structures are the main reasons why 50 000 children leave home every year for a life on the streets. According to official surveys, there are currently some 150 000 street children in Russia, but aid agencies say that the real figure could be many times higher. Numerous children are addicted to drugs and are sexually exploited, as a result of which many of the street children are infected with HIV.


 

Economy

Despite enormous natural reserves, Russia is currently beset with economic problems. Some 50 million Russians live below the nominal existence minimum of 980 Roubles (US $ 33) per month. A decade after the end of the Soviet Union, Russia is confronted with social, legal, structural, military, and environmental problems, with conflicts between parties, difficulties with the transition to a market economy, inflation, unemployment and rising prices, with housing problems, organised criminality, and corruption.

After the implementation of a series of key reforms, the economy has been showing signs of improvement, and is growing again (by about 7% in 2003).


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