FY 2007 U.S. Assistance to Eurasia
Country OverviewU.S. FOREIGN POLICY AND FOREIGN ASSISTANCE OBJECTIVES & PRIORITIES
As it continues its long and complicated post-Soviet development, Russia matters enormously for U.S. interests and will for years to come. Russia, the world’s largest energy producer, has achieved seven consecutive years of 7% economic growth. It remains the only nuclear power comparable to the U. S. and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Its political class is more self-assured about Russia’s reemergence as a great power, but is still burdened by the legacy of Russia’s recent past.
As Russia continues to evolve, a number of issues present significant challenges to its development as a secure, free market-based democracy. These include rising corruption, over-centralization of power, the use of the justice system as a political tool, a deteriorating climate for civil society, growing pressure on independent media, a lack of stability and growing extremism in the North Caucasus, alarming rates of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and drug resistant forms of tuberculosis, and friction over relations with states in Russia’s neighborhood. Although the U.S. may not have the strategic partnership with Russia that was once envisioned, the challenge is to advance our mutual interests in strategic areas even as we deal forthrightly with differences in others. This will require a full range of diplomatic and foreign assistance tools.
The top U.S. foreign policy priority vis-à-vis Russia is the safety and security of our population. Russia and the U.S. have unique historical responsibilities as leaders in the effort to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The two countries work together in the War on Terror, in supporting free and stable governments in Afghanistan and Iraq, and in combating drug smuggling, money laundering, trafficking in persons (TIP), and organized crime. Separately, work in the North Caucasus is helping to foster stability through support for civil society and economic growth, thereby addressing the root causes of extremism and intolerance. U.S. Government (USG) assistance programs are a critical component of these cooperative foreign policy efforts.
The U.S. supports the long-term development of democratic institutions and processes in Russia. To this end, USG support for the rule of law, good governance, the independence of the media and the judiciary, and nongovernmental organization (NGO) capacity-building rank among the highest assistance priorities.
For Russia to become a strong and effective partner of the U.S. and to achieve its enormous potential it must address its human resource challenges. The country’s health challenges are enormous; more than a million Russians, for example, may already be HIV positive and the country is suffering from declining life expectancy and falling birth rates as a result of Soviet policies and the immediate aftermath of the transition from communism. Soviet-era health infrastructure badly needs investment if Russia’s next generation is to be globally competitive. Through assistance programs, the USG is addressing Russia’s alarming tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS epidemic, expanding family planning activities, and reducing other public health threats in Russia.
USG assistance programs continue to encourage Russians to focus on neglected key areas, offer new tools and pilot new approaches to stimulate Russians to take advantage of their own resources to find new solutions, and cast a light on ongoing challenges to fundamental freedoms and democracy. This approach has already yielded results in the fight against HIV/AIDS, with Russia collaborating with the United States under the Presidential Bratislava Initiative to combat HIV/AIDS in third countries. Russia’s immense natural and human resources and its weight as a permanent UNSC member and nuclear weapons giant ensure that it will remain both a potentially important partner in pursuit of U.S. interests and a significant obstacle to the achievement of those interests when the USG fails to find cooperative approaches. Given its difficult historical trajectory and traditions, there is no plausible alternative to a continuation of intensive engagement across the spectrum of USG interests.
USG assistance efforts operate in a complicated political environment. The Russian Government (GOR) increased pressure in 2007 on civil society in the run up to the December 2007 parliamentary elections and March 2008 presidential elections, with NGOs facing increased reporting requirements, targeted prosecutions, and suspicion generated by foreign financing. Russia’s executive branch consolidated federal power. The number of nationalist and hate-based crimes increased. While the Internet remained unregulated, major media outlets, especially television, were owned either by the GOR or by those believed to have close ties to the Kremlin. Reporters continued to engage in self censorship. Amendments to the election law favored the ruling party and made it more difficult for political parties to gain a presence in the legislature. Much of the proposed transfer of authorities to local governments did not occur. Violence also increased in the North Caucasus and spread to Ingushetia and Dagestan this past year.
Russia continues to enjoy an economic boom fueled by high oil and gas prices and rising consumer spending. The result is a growing consumer or middle class and increased individual economic freedom. Nonetheless, despite its strong economic growth and the resulting budget surpluses, Russia has not adequately addressed the health and demographic challenges that threaten its future. Its impressive economic growth also masks regional disparities such as widespread poverty in the Russian Far East and the North Caucasus. At times, GOR counterparts view USG assistance programs skeptically; however, the GOR does welcome programs that involve partnerships.
FY 2007 Country Program PerformancePEACE AND SECURITY
The United States has several joint efforts with Russia to combat drug smuggling, money laundering, TIP, and organized crime. USG goals in FY 2007 were to help strengthen Russia's law enforcement capacity to meet the challenges of international drug trafficking into and across Russia, transnational crimes such as money laundering, human trafficking, cyber crime, and intellectual property violations, and to help improve cooperation of Russian law enforcement authorities with U.S. law enforcement agencies. The USG also promoted programs to reduce demand for narcotics and advocated for more effective treatment programs for drug users. USG assistance developed strategic U.S.-Russian civilian business partnerships that provide business training or civilian research opportunities to former weapons scientists in Russia.
The most acute external threats stem from instability in the South in the form of terrorism, narcotics, and radical Islamist ideologies. Separatist movements in the Caucasus provide another source of instability. Another key objective of our assistance program in Russia was to reduce tensions in the North Caucasus and eliminate the root causes of civil conflict and terrorism by improving social conditions, livelihoods, and inter-ethnic understanding. The USG supports the peaceful reconciliation of regional differences and the social, economic, and political integration of the North Caucasus into the Russian Federation.
Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction - USG assistance to combat weapons of mass destruction in FY 2007 supported local Russian science and technology capacity building and entrepreneur development, developed strategic organizational partnerships between U.S. and Russian science and technology entrepreneurs and companies and funded a grant program for scientists. These efforts contributed to U.S. national security by providing a stable and productive working environment and alternative to emigration for Russian former bio-weapons scientists and students. Key components were building sustainability by attracting GOR co-funding, increasing the quality of science by exposing researchers to competitive, merit-based review and fostering lasting collaborations with U.S. researchers.
USG assistance also partially supported four Russian centers that either directly employed or provided civilian research opportunities for former weapons researchers. The centers are largely self-sustaining. Host institutes cover salary and maintenance costs associated with the equipment through cost-shares, local subsidies and fees. USG funding only provides equipment, spare parts, travel grants, and training. The Nizhny Novgorod State University center receives more than 50% of its funding from the GOR and local sources as part of the GOR’s Basic Research and Higher Education Program, which encompasses 20 centers at universities throughout Russia.
A USG-funded program in FY 2007 helped ensure that current and planned nuclear power plants in Russia are operated as safely as possible. There is international consensus that Russia needs to develop new electrical generating capacity, including new nuclear power plants, so that it can permanently close the high-risk reactors it currently operates. In FY 2007 work continued on developing basic risk-based safety and regulatory requirements consistent with international standards for new nuclear power plants. These requirements will be completed by the end of FY 2008 and will become legally binding. In FY 2007 the USG provided assistance to develop a risk-informed inspection program for existing nuclear power plants. Finally, the USG trained four specialists who will graduate from a nuclear safety Master's degree program by the end of FY 2007. Four additional specialists will follow suit by the end of FY 2008. These specialists will be qualified to perform nuclear safety and security regulatory oversight of nuclear-related activities in Russia.Conflict Mitigation and Reconciliation - A key USG objective in FY 2007 was to reduce tensions in the North Caucasus and eliminate the root causes of civil conflict and terrorism by improving social conditions, livelihoods, and inter-ethnic understanding. The USG supports the peaceful reconciliation of regional differences and the full integration of the North Caucasus into the Russian Federation.
In FY 2007 the USG piloted civic recovery in eleven war-affected communities through a community-driven approach, strengthening the capacity of local government and NGOs, supporting infrastructure projects, and addressing the lack of opportunities for youth. Partnerships between grass-roots groups, civil society organizations, and public service institutions brought together different ethnic groups to improve quality of life by addressing common concerns of livelihoods, at-risk youth, and community cohesiveness. Community-led, labor-intensive infrastructure projects engaged at-risk populations in community. During FY 2007 ten small-scale public works projects were completed, including rehabilitation of roads, playgrounds, sport fields, a home for senior citizens, and the extension of water pipelines. These provided more than 150 temporary jobs benefiting 8,250 people from at-risk populations. Target communities continued to work independently on new initiatives benefiting more than 50,000 people. Community contributions totaled 56% of project costs. Local and regional authorities leveraged a total of $51,500 in additional funds from administrations in Ingushetia, North Ossetia, and Chechnya. The USG also encouraged policy-makers to integrate civil peace building and conflict mitigation into GOR regional programs.
Counter-Narcotics - Trafficking in opiates from Afghanistan (primarily opium and processed heroin) and their abuse were major problems facing Russian law enforcement and public health agencies in 2007. Heroin use contributed to a significant increase in the number of persons infected with HIV/AIDS and/or Hepatitis C, attributable to intravenous drug use.
In FY 2007 the USG provided vehicles, inspection equipment, radios, and computers for an on-going southern border project, which will lead to the establishment of drug interdiction units along the Russia-Kazakhstan border in Orenburg, Chelyabinsk, Omsk, Saratov and Kurgan. The USG continued monitoring and follow-up activities in the northwest customs project that covers St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad, and a southern seaports project which covers Astrakhan, Novorossisyk and Sochi. Russian anti-narcotics and customs authorities used the USG-provided equipment and training in targeted, intelligence-driven operations. USG agencies and their Russian counterparts cooperated well; in tandem with a USG law enforcement agency, Russian operations resulted in several significant seizures, totaling more than 124 kilograms of cocaine and $127,200 in U.S. currency during the first nine months of 2007.
The Ministry of Health estimates that up to six million Russians take drugs on a regular basis, giving Russia one of the highest rates of drug abuse in the world. In FY 2007 the USG funded a program focusing on drug demand reduction and HIV prevention among youth in the Russian Far East (Sakhalin Island and Irkutsk Region) and in Ivanovo Region. Drug addiction rates in these high-risk areas are nearly twice the national average; efforts were directed to the most vulnerable districts and towns in each region. The program consists of peer education and in-school education for young people 15 to 18 years of age in vocational schools, youth clubs, NGO activities, summer camps and other special programs conducted by regional governments to reach teenagers at greatest risk. Materials developed in FY 2007 include a program manual “Teacher Training on Drug Prevention” and guidelines for developing school drug prevention policy.
For the peer education program, in FY 2007 121 trainers and 449 peer educators were trained reaching a total of 16,703 young people in three cities. For the in-school education program, 40 schools participated, 226 teachers were trained and 3,432 young people were taught. These youth drug and alcohol abuse prevention programs have reached thousands of young people throughout three high-risk regions. The Ministry of Education has approved the in-school curriculum for use throughout Russia. The GOR took over the programs in Ivanovo and Irkutsk; a local NGO conducts the program in Sakhalin Island.
Transnational Crime – Financial Crimes and Money Laundering - U.S. and Russian law enforcement are both concerned about the increasing use of shell corporations to facilitate transnational crime; the ability to conceal beneficial ownership poses a threat to both nations’ economic security. The USG and GOR established in 2006 a bilateral working group on shell corporations after discovering a conspiracy to launder $130 million through a U.S. shell corporation. The Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service on the U.S. side met again in 2007 with representatives from the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), Procuracy, Federal Service for Financial Monitoring and RosFin Monitoring to increase cooperation between the FBI and Russian law enforcement and DOJ and the Russian Procuracy on money laundering and other criminal activities effectuated through shell corporations.
In FY 2007 the USG’s continued anti-money laundering training, providing high-profile experts from U.S. financial regulatory agencies and commercial bankers to train and advise Russian counterparts on anti-money laundering and procedures to counter terrorism financing. The USG established strong cooperative relations with the Eurasian Group for Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism, a regional organization uniting financial intelligence units of its member-states including Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and China. A public-private partnership originated from this activity, leveraging approximately $3 million from other sources.
Transnational Crime - Intellectual Property Theft, Corporate Espionage, and Cyber Security - Enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights continued to be a major USG priority in FY 2007 especially in light of the commitments assumed by Russia in connection with its proposed WTO accession. In October 2006, the USG hosted a one-day seminar on the investigation and prosecution of intellectual property crimes for 75 senior Russian prosecutors with responsibility for overseeing the investigation of serious crimes. Through participation in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) programs in St. Petersburg and Moscow, organized by the Experts Committee of the State Duma and European Business Association respectively, the USG initiated a new program focused on addressing criminal activity related to the illegal purchase and sale of stolen credit cards and identity information through the Internet.
Transnational Crime - Trafficking in Persons, Migrant Smuggling - In FY 2007 USG assistance addressed weaknesses in Russia’s TIP prevention, victim protection, and prosecution efforts. In April 2007, the E.U. and the USG provided funding for an intergovernmental organization to open a shelter for TIP victims in a state hospital facility in Moscow and to facilitate the reintegration of resident victims throughout Russia. The USG funded study tours to illustrate developing and managing shelters to protect and rehabilitate trafficking victims and to highlight cooperation between police and NGOs on human trafficking cases in the U.S. The USG, working with the Human Rights Representative for the Sverdlovsk Region, also organized the first sex and labor trafficking conference ever held in the region, assembling representatives from local and federal government, police, Procuracy, trafficking experts and academicians, Diasporas and NGOs to explore anti-TIP practices. The USG also designed programs to address trafficking in Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg, including anti-trafficking conferences and study tours to the United States for police and NGOs. USG experts assisted police and prosecutors to improve their investigation and prosecution of TIP crimes. For example, USG funding supported the efforts of the MVD to develop and distribute a manual and training course for investigators that provides practical and detailed information on gathering evidence on TIP crimes. The USG supported research, seminars, and outreach designed to increase understanding of TIP in all its facets.
USG-funded activities in the Russian Far East addressed prevention of gender-based violence and human trafficking. U.S. consular officers received training in identifying potential TIP victims seeking visas. Parallel programs addressed common misperceptions regarding domestic violence and increased citizens’ access to legal representation, in particular by training ten legal professionals to act as ‘traveling lawyers’ in rural areas. The USG provided a grant in FY 2007 that enabled an NGO in the Altay Region to train local police and government officials how to recognize and cooperate to prevent human trafficking over the nearby Russia-Kazakhstan border. The NGO also worked with local administrations on improving treatment for victims of trafficking.
As a result of USG assistance, Russia has increased investigations of human trafficking cases four-fold in the last three years; prosecutions have also significantly increased. USG assistance has markedly increased official and public awareness of the TIP problem, the special needs of TIP victims throughout Russia, and the need for referral mechanisms and police-NGO partnerships. U.S. law enforcement reports greater cooperation and assistance from Russian police and prosecutors on TIP cases. The Duma created a Human Trafficking Working Group that sponsored activities such as a human trafficking referral mechanism conference in Suzdal, Vladimir Oblast, which brought together NGOs, law enforcement staff, and local and federal governmental representatives to discuss closer cooperation between police and NGOs. The regional government in the Russian Far East sponsored a major international TIP conference to address trafficking in the Russian Far East. The MVD and Federal Migration Service routinely refer victims to the European Union and USG-supported shelter. The shelter has received and rehabilitated 125 victims since its opening. The shelter provides critical data to law enforcement on the nature and scope of trafficking in Russia, helping the police to investigate and prosecute TIP cases in Russia. USG-funded research has provided justice sector personnel with a better understanding of criminal TIP networks, routes/methods, and vulnerabilities in order to assist them in dismantling trafficking rings.
In FY 2007 the USG hosted conferences on child pornography cases including one in October in Moscow and one in June in St. Petersburg. The events brought the State Duma, police, prosecutors, academicians, and NGOs together to discuss legislative reform needed to make the Russian laws on child pornography more effective, enhance cooperation with Internet providers, and provide for effective investigation of child pornography in Russia, with the goal of bringing Russia’s legislation and investigations into compliance with international norms and best practices. The USG also funded a study tour comprised of Duma deputies, Procuracy, Presidential Administration representatives, and NGOs to the U.S. to discuss the need for effective child pornography legislation and strategies for investigating and prosecuting child pornography cases. The delegation met with Congress, the FBI Global Innocent Images Task Force, the Department of Homeland Security’s Security Cyber crime Unit, DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Russian investigations of child pornography cases have increased ten-fold in the last five years since the USG began to work with Russian police and Procuracy on these cases. In 2002 the Russian authorities initiated 30 investigations, and, in 2006, more than 350. Prosecutions have more than doubled and U.S. law enforcement reports greater cooperation from the Russian police on child pornography. At the end of FY 2007 Russian law enforcement and internet industry representatives made a public plea to the Duma to make Russia’s child pornography laws more effective, particularly against Internet pornography, and to increase the sentences imposed for the manufacture and distribution of child pornography.
GOVERNING JUSTLY AND DEMOCRATICALLY
Rule of Law and Human Rights - U.S. assistance in this area focused on strengthening Russia’s justice sector through exchanges, training and the introduction of procedures that enhanced transparency, access to information, and reduced incentives for corruption. In the area of human rights, USG assistance provided small grants and training to indigenous human rights groups in support of their monitoring and awareness activities.
In FY 2007 USG efforts to strengthen Russia’s justice sector included assistance to bolster partnerships between U.S. and Russian judicial organs. USG judicial assistance programs received the pro bono services of U.S. judges and court personnel, both for working in Russia and in the U.S. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Commercial Court, a USG exchange program alumnus, pushed for publication of court decisions online and for financial disclosure by judges. With the support of USG assistance, the Judicial Department of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation borrowed from the U.S. judicial system to make judicial administration a recognized profession. In addition, a working group of U.S. and Russian court professionals developed new procedures for Russia’s 2,500 district courts to improve public and litigant access to information, recordkeeping and statistics, and customer service. The commercial court system and general jurisdiction court system contributed significant funding to USG programs. In FY 2007 over 1,400 judges and court personnel participated in USG-sponsored programs to develop professional skills, reinforce judicial ethics, and improve court management and administration. In addition, key judges from the Russian courts attended an international workshop on intellectual property featuring British, Swiss, Czech, and U.S. expertise on combating piracy of software, films, and pharmaceuticals.
The USG also promoted public awareness of legal rights, improved legal education, and strengthened lawyers’ expertise on issues ranging from constitutional litigation to the recently amended NGO law. The USG helped the Chambers of Advocates (bar associations) better regulate the profession and provide continuing legal education to lawyers. USG-sponsored partnerships between legal communities in ten U.S. states and Russian regional counterparts encouraged initiatives such as publication of court decisions and helped inform carefully targeted audiences of important developments in Russian and international legal practice. These partnerships conducted 31 events (e.g. trainings and mock trials) in Russia involving a total of some 600 participants, on issues ranging from juvenile justice to organized crime and domestic violence.
In FY 2007 USG assistance funded three trial advocacy training programs for approximately 100 Russian prosecutors and sponsored a U.S. study tour for eight Russian prosecutors. USG assistance programs worked with the Presidential Administration to draft legislation regulating the use of cooperating witness testimony in court proceedings. The USG and the Moscow State Law Academy co-sponsored a major conference on the fifth anniversary of Russia’s Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP) which brought together approximately 150 experts in the areas of criminal law and criminal procedure. The USG also funded a training program for private attorneys on the representation of victims at jury trials and the development of a new program to educate prospective jurors on their rights and responsibilities. In addition, USG assistance helped organize or provide USG participants for programs involving litigation before the European Court on Human Rights (ECHR) on the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes and on conditions of pre-trial detention. The USG continued funding a program to develop the defense bar, providing training to 255 defense attorneys in the area of trial advocacy, utilizing ECHR and other international standards. In addition, USG-funded training provided advocates with practical skills and access to information to help them challenge violations of their clients’ rights using both domestic and international statutes. Training participants received a manual that provides practical exercises, case studies and examples of the various codes that are relevant to this training.
With USG assistance, Russian prosecutors changed the way they prepare for trials and present evidence to juries, now preparing witnesses to testify and using demonstrative exhibits much more frequently. Russia has also changed the way that it trains prosecutors in trial advocacy, now supplementing traditional lecture based courses with interactive, skill-based training. In addition, as a result of USG programs, Russian prosecutorial training institutes have replaced academic theorists with practicing prosecutors as trainers. Russian prosecutors used the skills acquired in USG-funded training programs to obtain convictions in court. Prosecutors in St. Petersburg credited USG-funded programs for their success in several high profile murder cases including cases involving racially motivated murders.
USG assistance supported the launch of a new initiative to improve citizens’ access to legal representation through development of a draft law on civil legal aid. The draft law was created through an open and participatory process which included diverse stakeholders from the GOR, bar associations, NGOs and international organizations. The USG also supported a gender justice program which educated Justices of the Peace on domestic violence. The USG also supported the ability of legal clinics and regional civic coalitions to strengthen the rule of law. USG-sponsored legal clinics, assisted by over 1,000 law students, provided over 14,000 legal consultations including some with court representation. Through this program, the USG provided legal support to refugees and immigrants in the North Caucasus. USG-supported NGOs conducted 8,800 legal consultations, including 170 legal consultations on applications to the ECHR, and handled over 970 court cases.
Another organization used USG support to develop a national association of labor lawyers, now numbering 140. This group established relationships with federal-level media outlets including four federal television channels, newspapers, and Internet resources, increasing the profile of labor issues in the media. The ECHR ruled on another four labor cases filed by the group and accepted an additional 30 for consideration, drawing both international and Russian attention to labor rights issues in Russia.
The USG provided small grants and training to NGOs to support human rights monitoring and awareness activities. For example, with the support of USG resources, a youth human rights group conducted a series of public-information campaigns, organized a series of debates on the death penalty, and conducted seminars on increasing public oversight of law enforcement agencies. Another campaign focused on the freedoms of assembly and association, during which participants worked with other organizations to monitor violations of people’s right to hold public meetings and demonstrations. Recommendations for amendments to current Russian legislation on freedom of assembly and association were also distributed. The grantee also provided technical and organizational support to developing organizations in the regions, as well as a number of training seminars for young NGO leaders. USG assistance provided training to rising young human rights leaders in eight regions on how to organize social marketing campaigns, using polling research and media techniques, on issues such as the relations between youth and law enforcement.
USG assistance supported NGOs championing the rights of disabled children to an equal education. Nine new regions joined a network of regional organizations to address the problem. Twenty-six schools began including children with disabilities. An amendment to the Law on Education to provide for inclusive education was presented to the parliament. NGO lawyers brought seven court cases on disabled children’s education and won two.
Good Governance - USG assistance in FY 2007 supported regional and local governments and communities in selected regions, notably the Russian Far East and North Caucasus, in their efforts to improve local self-governance and service delivery, strengthen transparency and accountability, increase citizen participation in decision-making, and promote constructive interaction with civil society.
The USG supported GOR budget and fiscal reform efforts which resulted in the adoption of five national policies regulating the delineation of spending authority for all levels of government, eliminating many unfunded mandates, and implementing the use of performance-based budgeting. The USG assisted 24 sub-national governments in fiscal decentralization, efficient local government spending, and reduction of disparities in access to and quality of public goods and services. USG programs also built the capacities of local governments to plan, manage, deliver and account for local public goods and services. These efforts enhanced the skills needed to operate transparently and to deliver services effectively in response to the expressed wishes of the population, including in the Russia Far East and North Caucasus. In order to address the Russian national priority of housing, in FY 2007 the USG assisted the GOR in adopting nine federal laws and regulations promoting competitive procurement of social and utility goods and services, improving housing management procedures, and providing housing subsidies for low-income populations. In total, USG resources supported the ability of 43 regional and local government entities to introduce 25 new practices improving service provision, train over 5,000 community and public leaders, and assist in implementing 14 national policies to develop democratic and market-oriented growth.
The USG provided assistance to decrease corruption in the public sector, including through training for 186 local officials on legislation and mechanisms for combating municipal corruption. Another project trained nearly 400 students and practitioners across the Russian Far East on investigating and prosecuting organized crimes and corruption. USG assistance worked with the Administration of the Primorsky Krai to develop a regional anti-corruption program, advised the Sakhalin Oblast Procuracy on the potential prosecutorial efficacy of draft regional legislation on combating corruption, and worked with the Head of the Far East Federal District’s MVD University on the efficacy of legislative and procedural methods of combating corruption. USG assistance worked with the Saratov Oblast Procuracy and Oblast Duma deputies during the writing and official review of a new anti-corruption law. The USG also continued to support an anti-corruption center in Saratov, whose researchers were instrumental in developing the Saratov Oblast’s new anti-corruption law, which was passed in the first quarter of FY 2007. In FY 2007 the USG continued to support an anti-corruption center in Vladivostok that had a direct influence in the ouster and arrest of corrupt government officials. The center’s website reaches nearly one million readers annually.
The USG provided small grants and training to Russian NGOs to improve government transparency and accountability. For example, one recipient used USG funding to facilitate public access to government information and to encourage the development of clear legislation regarding information freedom. In FY 2007 and in the two preceding years, the grantee lobbied all 85 agencies of the GOR to develop websites to make essential information available to the public, as is required by Russian law. The NGO worked with these agencies and other government bodies to help them develop websites that comply with federal regulations. As a result of these and other efforts by civil society, only one government agency did not have a website by the end of FY 2007. Pressure from the grantee also contributed to the creation of an official website for the Presidential Special Projects Office, which coordinates multi-agency projects. Additionally, the NGO continued litigation against the practices of several government agencies that refuse to publicize essential information.
Political Competition and Consensus Building - In FY 2007 USG assistance worked to strengthen Russian civic institutions that play a vital role in assuring an open, transparent, well-informed, and responsive political process where citizens elect their leaders and can hold them accountable for addressing their needs and concerns. Program implementation in this sector was hampered due to the extreme sensitivity of Russian officials toward internationally funded work and fear of outside political interference.
USG assistance supported the efforts of an indigenous NGO to field observers in nine regions during regional parliamentary elections in October 2006 and March 2007, and to monitor the work of local legislators in 30 regions. The USG supported the expansion of the NGO’s network into 40 regions and the implementation of voter education and election monitoring for the parliamentary election in December 2007 and the presidential election in March 2008. The NGO’s chapters worked with five regional administrations to introduce legislative initiatives, such as establishing regional citizens’ councils, in order to create new channels for more active citizen and NGO participation in government decisions about public budgets, initiatives and programs. As federal elections neared, the USG sponsored initial training sessions with key regional coordinators and election trainers responsible for preparing local election observers who were deployed across 34 regions during the 2007 parliamentary and 2008 presidential elections. Through USG funding, another NGO launched a national program to train regional monitors to track the misuse of administrative resources in seven regions. Another program worked to strengthen the capacity of political party observers through a national train-the-trainer and distance learning program.
The political environment during FY 2007 significantly limited the work of USG assistance to strengthen political party competition. Russian election law prohibits foreign entities from providing assistance to individual political parties or candidates. Despite a difficult environment, USG-funded activities provided training on advanced communication strategies and effective campaigns for party members, NGO leaders, businesspeople, and other community figures. The purposes of this training were to help them become more involved in the social and political processes of their communities by developing leadership, advocacy, negotiation, project management, communication, and personal development skills. The training sessions, conducted in six regions for more than 500 participants, taught political parties and civic organizations to improve strategies for outreach, message development, constituent communication, and media relations. USG-supported efforts reached more than 1,700 youth through more than 20 conferences, seminars, and youth leadership academies. The program encouraged youth to launch their own initiatives on issues they care about, such as corruption, employment, and tolerance. USG assistance also provided communication and coalition-building training to more than 2,000 youth at a conference and cultural festival.
The USG supported a series of opinion polls designed to measure citizen’s values, voting behavior, and attitudes towards political parties and government. Findings were presented to NGOs, the Central Elections Commission, and political party leaders to shape voter education programs and party platforms responsive to voters’ concerns. Prior to the start of the federal election campaign in September 2007, the USG worked with local party leaders, NGOs, businesses, and youth leaders to better assess and respond to citizen needs while more effectively communicating with the public.
Civil Society - Despite a restrictive political context and challenging legal requirements, Russia maintains a vibrant civil society. In FY 2007 the USG used assistance to help NGOs develop their financial base, enhance organizational capacity, engage with citizen constituencies, increase advocacy skills, and improve the legal environment in which NGOs operate.
The USG funded NGO advocacy campaigns to address deficiencies in the draft NGO law and provided legal consultations to thousands of NGOs. The amendments to the NGO law enacted last year introduced complicated reporting requirements and a complicated registration process. With USG assistance, a Russian association of lawyers rendered legal assistance to 2,300 NGOs to assist them in complying with new reporting requirements. Russian NGOs have also benefited from USG assistance to successfully advocate for the adoption of amendments to the Federal Law on Endowments that have expanded use of targeted capital for non-profit organizations.
The USG also provided support to NGO coalitions, business associations, advocacy groups, and watchdog organizations to conduct 520 advocacy campaigns. These efforts advanced democracy by focusing on issues such as transparency in public procurement, the inclusion of the interests of labor and entrepreneurs, and reform in the priority sectors of healthcare, housing, and education. With the support of USG assistance, a Russian association of 30 independent economic think tanks provided independent expertise on pension reform and workforce development.
USG resources were also used to provide small grants, technical training, and internships to more than 1,500 indigenous NGOs, helping to strengthen civil society by encouraging Russians to form networks and address public issues in their local communities. For example, one small grant awarded in FY 2007 went to an NGO in Perm dedicated to documenting the Stalinist repressions in the Soviet Union and promoting truthful teaching about the gulag in Russian schools. The grant recipient worked with teachers from 57 schools in the region to develop a teachers’ guide, and produced a CD with materials for use in the classroom. Information about the gulag and the Stalinist repressions are now included in high school civics education courses in the region. Almost 75% of USG-funded and administered small grants were distributed to NGOs working outside Moscow and St. Petersburg in FY 2007, serving as an important instrument for democratic progress in the provinces.
USG programs increased citizen participation in local decision-making, particularly in the regions. In the Russian Far East, 33 cities and settlements with a total population of 280,000 benefited from local community development projects related to waste management, energy efficiency, and small business development. Under a new strategic partnership with the Krasnoyarsk Region Administration, USG funding significantly expanded opportunities for civil society organizations to influence administrative decisions in the context of ongoing local self-governance reform. NGOs trained by USG-supported NGO resource centers participated in 11 public hearings and 24 public councils in Southern Russia and the Samara region to ensure transparency of the municipal budgets. Another USG program supported the establishment of a Homeowners’ Cooperatives Chairmen’s Club in Perm and the development of a housing education program in Volgograd, which is now being replicated in other pilot territories. Due to this work, the Ministry of Regional Development modified its 2007-2008 operational plan on housing and communal sector development to minimize barriers impeding proliferation of homeowners’ cooperatives.
USG-funded activities in FY 2007 also encouraged social engagement of youth, created mechanisms that enable young people to participate in decision making, and develop support infrastructure for youth initiatives. For example, USG assistance was used to establish networks of community and school resource centers and regional youth resource centers. The project development skills acquired by participant schools enabled ten of them to compete and be selected for an award of 1 million rubles to develop project proposals under a national education project. The USG also supported the expansion of a new state youth strategy in consultation with the Ministry of Education and Science, the Federal Education Agency, NGOs and public organizations.
More than 9,000 people completed USG-funded civic education activities. The civic education program integrated democratic values in the school curriculum in Karelia and five regions in the Russian Far East. Youth engagement programs involved more than 5,500 people in community service, youth leadership, student self-governance, and tolerance activities. In addition 530,000 schoolchildren completed a course on the basics of ethics and citizenship.
Russians’ access to independent information faces numerous hurdles. The limited diversity of news coverage is exacerbated by self-censorship often practiced by reporters. In order to strengthen independent media, USG assistance helped regional companies become economically viable, produce high-quality programming, conform to high journalistic standards, and utilize the latest technology.
The USG provided over 1,220 newspapers, television and radio stations with technical guidance on legal protection, technology development, access to information, management, advertising sales, promotion and design, professional journalism and news production, and exposing youth to the journalism profession. This assistance helped independent media outlets expand their viewer-, reader- and listener-ship while improving the quality of their products. For example, the advertising revenues of participants of the USG’s print media program grew by an average of 59 percent and their publications’ page count increased by an average of ten pages. USG media programs also assisted independent outlets and industry associations to defend themselves and build public support among citizens, expanding political independence, editorial excellence, and public service.
In addition to direct technical assistance, USG programs worked to improve the substantive content in newspapers, television and radio stations, facilitate networking, and strengthen journalistic standards through professional contests and joint projects. At an annual festival for regional radio stations, nearly 840 professionals representing over 300 stations from 167 cities competed for prizes in five different categories. More than 800 regional TV companies participated in seven media campaigns, covering topics such as support to children, people with disabilities, HIV/AIDS, and drug prevention. With the support of USG assistance, more than 350 regionally produced stories were shared via a video exchange program through a fee-based service with a potential audience of 70 million people. A USG-sponsored “Best Regional Newspaper Competition” attracted over 140 independent newspapers from 54 regions and represented an important step in improving journalistic standards and encouraging the formation of regional networks of professionals.
A USG-funded and administered speaker program promoted Russian understanding of U.S. society, institutions, cultural and political motivations as well as policy goals by interacting with key Russian opinion leaders, journalists, and policy analysts, as well as a wider public audience. In FY 2007 this program organized an American Film Festival which engaged young Russians on a variety of difficult topics, including transparency in elections, the War on Terror, the global economy and environmental policy. The festival attracted 10,000 attendees and reached millions of people through extensive coverage on national and regional media as well as the Internet. The speakers program also helped to support a two-day international conference devoted to the bicentennial of U.S.-Russian relations, which highlighted the vital importance of a healthy U.S.-Russia dialogue. One of the major goals of the conference was to revitalize the study of the U.S. in Russia and to encourage and attract young scholars to the field. As a result, the Russian Academy of Science announced it would fund such a gathering of scholars and practitioners as a biannual event. The speakers program also supported an address given by Dr. Francis Fukuyama – The End of History Revisited – focusing on the relationship between economic development and democracy, a critical issue in modern Russia.
Other assistance worked to build mutual understanding by increasing access to accurate information about the U.S. In FY 2007 through the American Corners program, which reaches over 177,000 visitors and conducts over 3,000 activities in Russia annually, USG assistance supported the development and provision of training on web-based management and communications to coordinators from 32 cities throughout Russia. USG assistance also supported the efforts of past program alumni to form local networks and stay engaged in their communities. For examples, USG resources were used by alumni of a USG state legislature internship program to conduct legislative education and practice institutes in Pskov and Barnaul, simulating the actions of local legislatures in addressing community issues.
Increasing Russia's integration into global economic systems, especially through the WTO, will help Russia become more prosperous and stable. A prosperous Russia is more likely to support the sustained development of democratic institutions, to strengthen rule of law, to promote regional stability, and to join in counterterrorism efforts. In addition, the improved environment for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will support the development of the middle class, typically one of the strongest constituencies for democratic institutions, NGOs, and independent media. Increased trade will inevitably bring with it an increase in people-to-people contacts, and with that, an increase in mutual understanding over the long term.
Economic Opportunity - FY 2007 activities supported U.S. foreign policy priorities in strategic areas of Russia — the Russian Far East and the North Caucasus — to strengthen Russian legacy institutions and address economic and social instability in the North Caucasus. Hundreds of people and their families in the North Caucasus were involved in economic and social activities to alleviate the root causes of terrorism and regional instability. USG programs created over 40 rural credit cooperatives in the North Caucasus that provided hundreds of people and their families with sustainable jobs and income opportunities. USG assistance funds supported new jobs and income opportunities in distant and distressed regions of Russia, alleviating poverty and income disparity, and effectively responding to economic hardships that serve as a precursor to extremism.
In FY 2007 technical assistance was provided to the micro-finance sector to ensure the stability of key legacy institutions. The objectives were to increase their capacities to: operate as financially viable stand-alone organizations; leverage substantial private sector resources; and, expand their outreach to distant locations creating additional employment and income opportunities.
USG support to legacy institutions enabled them to create strategic partnerships with the Russian Government and business communities. One institution continued to develop its strong national institutional framework, promoting partnerships with ministries, legislators, associations of credit cooperatives, associations of banks, as well as foreign microfinance leaders. Several other institutions in the Russian Far East leveraged over $3 million of private sector funds and expanded to distant areas creating jobs and income opportunities. These institutions developed and used models for creating and advancing inclusive financial markets to new Russian regions, Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachayevo-Cherkessiya in the North Caucasus, and Krasnoyarsk Region in Siberia.
Trade and Investment - In FY 2007 participants were selected from the Russian Far East and Siberia to attend business internships in the U.S. Upon their return to Russia, they used what they learned in the U.S. to expand their businesses, generate more revenue, and implement accounting and quality control systems. As an additional benefit, participants saw, through their meetings with U.S. NGO and association representatives, the benefits of active civil society. Alumni of the program from past years have returned home and established new organizations and/or taken on leadership roles in existing civil society organizations. Economic access for U.S. businesses has expanded through further technical assistance programming in industries such as oil and gas, transportation infrastructure, healthcare, construction, and tourism (hotel management). Many Russian participants have established relationships with U.S. host companies, and have drawn on their technical capabilities to improve their operations. Past program participants have also purchased American equipment, improving their efficiency and outputs.
In 2007 a program participant started her own large recreational complex in Promorskiy Krai, using as an example the Lake Tahoe recreational complex. She also created a non-commercial partnership to unite about 200 tour companies in Primorye to start a unified Internet site on tour opportunities in the area. Another program alumna received an award from Moscow Government “For innovative technologies in education.” The alumna placed 12 children into adopted families, and provided special lectures for parents of adopted children on child psychology. Another program participant used his U.S. experience to update a St. Petersburg medical portal where patients look for information about clinics and doctors. Another alumnus used his new-found knowledge to develop his telecommunications business. The Franchising Director of a Moscow-based fast-food chain took the experiences from her training to lead her company into opening seven new restaurants in 2007. Other alumni of the program are now working in scientific institutions that partner with large U.S. companies.
A USG-funded training program for specialists in agriculture sent Russians to the United States for training in FY 2007. In 2007 an alumnus of the program from 1998 was named Chairman of Russia’s Special Audit Union, a self-regulating organization that carries out a number of regulatory and training functions under new amendments to the Law on Agricultural Cooperatives. The alumnus is also a member of the Russian-American Lending Program Supervisory Council and has turned a regional credit cooperative system into one of best in Russia. Other program alumni have also been successful in leading their organizations from very modest beginning to multi-million dollar rural finance machines. A participant in a past veterinary inspection program was promoted to Deputy Head of the Ministry of Agriculture and will serve as a vital contact on veterinary matters such as the trade of meat and genetically modified products between the U.S. and Russia.
INVESTING IN PEOPLE
USG assistance programs were designed to work with Russia’s public and private leadership to focus high-level attention on the HIV/AIDS situation throughout the country and to develop and implement strategies to overcome the policy, stigma and discrimination, institutional and social barriers to HIV/AIDS programs. USG objectives in FY 2007 included to: increase HIV/AIDS prevention activities focusing on high-risk groups; expand joint HIV/AIDS biomedical research and disease surveillance to harness considerable scientific resources of both the U.S. and Russia; improve quality of and access to treatment, care and support programs including volunteer testing and counseling; and build health care human capacity through the joint Presidential Bratislava summit initiative working with lab specialists and HIV clinicians. USG programs seek to improve in Russia's ability to increase the public health response to prevent the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the closely linked multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (TB) epidemic, and contain Avian Influenza to minimize likelihood of spread to humans.
Health – HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis - The USG’s HIV program made significant progress in FY 2007 helping to strengthen civil society by partnering with ten new local NGOs, and expanding HIV prevention outreach to 11,000 sex workers and over 27,000 vulnerable youth. The GOR contributed significant resources to HIV/AIDS again in 2007, allocating up to $240 million for the national program and helping Russia exceed its 2007 national targets for treating 30,000 patients with anti retroviral therapy. The GOR’s emphasis on prevention programs has been more limited, with only 5% of national funds focused on prevention; however, USG partners have played a significant role in filling the gap. USG assistance efforts reached over 38,000 high risk youth and at risk populations with HIV prevention messages in the two target areas, Orenburg and St. Petersburg. Prevention programs reached out to 7,900 injecting drug users using peer-driven interventions, including street and venue-based outreach, distributing HIV materials and establishing telephone hotlines for counseling on drug abuse and HIV. Unfortunately, the transnational drug supply remains strong and is fueling the epidemic, especially in border regions such as Orenburg – one of the target HIV regions. Working through in-school and peer-to-peer programs at technical schools, USG partners trained 1,154 youth educators through a cascading training, who in turn reached 21,500 youth at vocational schools, children’s homes, youth clubs, and summer camps for disadvantaged children. USG partners also expanded prevention activities targeting prisoners upon their release with activities including peer-to-peer counseling for injecting drug users, reaching 1,200 prisoners. Also with USG assistance, the U.S. military conducted its fourth U.S.-Russian military conference on HIV/AIDS, this year expanding to an international focus with over 13 countries sending military representatives to discuss HIV in the military.
As the proportion of people living with HIV/AIDS in need of treatment continued to increase in Russia, USG-supported assistance focused on building the capacity of health professionals to provide anti retroviral therapy services in the two target regions, training over 400 providers. USG partners supported efforts to provide over 2,500 HIV/AIDS patients with anti retroviral therapy, representing almost 10 percent of all HIV patients receiving treatment nationwide. Patient treatment adherence rates at USG-supported facilities in St. Petersburg reached 90 percent and 60 percent in Orenburg, well beyond the national average of 50 percent.
U.S.-GOR partnerships under the Bratislava Initiative on HIV/AIDS launched in 2005 by Presidents Bush and Putin continued to demonstrate the positive impact of joint work on HIV and infectious diseases. In FY 2007 though USG assistance, the AIDS Training and Education Center in St. Petersburg expanded the postgraduate program on HIV/AIDS. The program trained Russia medical staff from 13 regions, along with medical faculty from Uzbekistan, Ukraine, and Moldova. USG programs facilitating the deployment of Russian lab specialists to third countries were expanded to Namibia and Ethiopia. The Ministry of Health and Social Development (MOHSD) indicated that it will adopt the HIV/AIDS curricula for all medical professionals and disseminate it nationwide. The medical school also hosted a group of international medical faculty, including infectious disease doctors from Uzbekistan, Belarus and Moldova.
USG programs also expanded the number of grants focused on care through ten new grants to faith-based organizations. Programs for patient case management included new efforts to link social support, and new partnerships were launched with four NGOs to work closely with rehabilitation centers working with HIV positive substance abusers. The GOR adopted for the first time a national care package for HIV-infected people, developed in collaboration with USG partners – reaching over 22,900 individuals in FY 2007. The USG also supported programs to prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to child at delivery. USG-supported assistance enabled 2,378 HIV-positive pregnant women to receive anti-retroviral therapy to prevent HIV transmission to their infants.The on-going challenge of growing rates of TB and drug resistant TB persist; TB is the cause of death in 60 percent of all HIV cases. In FY 2007 USG programs trained 160 clinicians on TB/HIV management and over 300 HIV positive patients were screened and provided preventive treatment for TB infection in Orenburg alone; in St. Petersburg TB screening increased to cover 30 percent to 40 percent of HIV patients.
The USG provided a grant in FY 2007 that enabled an NGO in Sverdlovsk region to conduct a series of training sessions for journalists in the region who report on and write about HIV/AIDS. The training included face-to-face meetings with people carrying the HIV virus and brought together the government and the non-governmental sectors in frank discussions of how to combat the spread of HIV in the population as well as how to deal with HIV-positive people in the workplace, schools, and homes.
Another HIV/AIDS activity worked with the GOR to strengthen Russia’s medical research capacity and foster greater reliance on evidence-based medicine in the battle against Russia’s HIV/AIDS epidemic. To provide for a sustainable research capacity necessary to understand the disease and guide prevention and treatment efforts, the USG co-funded a grant competition with the Russian Federal Agency for Science and Innovation (RosNauka), and a U.S.-based foundation to establish two HIV/AIDS Research Public Health Centers of Excellence and conduct training in international standards for bioethics. During FY 2007, 80 Russian medical researchers and health care specialists were trained on bioethics, including the sensitive ethical considerations involved in clinical trials for candidate HIV/AIDS drugs, vaccines and microbicides. One Russian researcher also received a grant to take part in HIV/AIDS training during FY 2007.
An estimated one in five Russians has latent TB and an alarming 10 percent of all new cases are multi-drug resistant. In cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), USG-funded TB programs promoted innovative treatment and TB diagnosis models in eight program target regions and improved TB detection and treatment rates in all regions. The program expanded management of TB/HIV co-infection, increased civil society involvement in TB control efforts, developed replicable models and demonstration sites in treatment and care, and improved laboratory performance and infection control. The USG provided technical assistance to Russia in the preparation of the Global Fund Round 7 proposal on TB. In FY 2007 USG assistance established: a treatment program for multi-drug resistant TB (DOTS Plus) in the Orel region that reached 200 new patients with a treatment success rate of 76 percent (as compared to the national rates of 59 percent); five USG-supported regions received WHO Green Light Committee approval for DOTS Plus, including Orel; 2,297 health professionals received training in TB-related issues; 1,297 received DOTS Plus training; a new Center of Excellence for treating TB and multi-drug resistant TB was opened in Orel, a first in Russia; the DOTS Plus model of TB care and treatment was replicated by the Global Fund Round 4 grant program in targeted regions; and the USG-supported Khakasia Republic TB laboratory was ranked the highest nationwide in TB laboratory proficiency testing.
In FY 2007 USG assistance strengthened the capacity of healthcare providers in the Russian Far East to address diseases such as Hepatitis C and opportunistic infections such as TB. USG-funded programs conducted activities to work with postgraduate educational centers in the Russian Far East and Siberia to improve the quality of postgraduate medical education. Six-hundred and forty-five Russian practitioners participated in these sessions, which introduced best practices and internationally recognized clinical standards. Training sessions covered: the diagnosis and treatment of HIV related co-infections such as Hepatitis B and C; important public health issues such as adherence to treatment; the use of multi-disciplinary teams; substance abuse; the proper design and use of laboratory facilities for diagnosis and management; and modern bio-safety standards for clinical laboratories. Educational activities were carried out with the assistance of expert physicians and scientists from academic centers in the U.S., in cooperation with principal Russian regional medical institutions and postgraduate medical institutes. Russian-language teaching materials were widely distributed.
Health – Avian Influenza - Avian Influenza (AI) reached Russia in 2005. By August 2006, 18-20 regions were affected and the number of domestic birds found dead or culled exceeded 1.2 million. In response, the USG initiated a project in FY 2007 to develop modern preparedness and response mechanisms in Russia to control the spread of AI. The project improved Russian capacity for AI surveillance, laboratory detection and services, and infection control within hospitals. The USG's AI activities complemented GOR programs. Key achievements of USG support included: the development of a National Program on pandemic influenza preparedness and response and regional contingency plans; 14 facilitators delivered five courses in the Central, Far East, Southern (North Caucasus), and North-West Federal Districts; training of 168 epidemiologists, physicians, veterinarians, laboratory staff, Ministry for Emergency Situations personnel, and media from 23 regions; development of training materials on molecular diagnostics of AI and recommendations for establishing a laboratory network; training of 14 specialists/trainers and 60 virologists from 37 regional laboratories in the diagnosis of AI; piloting of a course on patient management and infection prevention and control for avian/pandemic influenza with 28 clinicians and epidemiologists; and, establishment of a WHO Collaborating Center on AI at the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology.
Health - Family Planning and Reproductive Health and Maternal and Child Health - The GOR used USG programs on family planning as models as it implemented its National Health Priority Project, developing regional and national guidelines to address key issues of infant and maternal morbidity and mortality. New pilot regions included in the maternal health project showed impressive results; decreasing abortion rates, increasing use of modern contraceptives, and reducing maternal and infant morbidity and mortality.
USG assistance supported the expansion of family planning activities to five new regions, increasing coverage to 12 million families. These activities reduced the abortion rate in pilot regions and expanded the use of modern contraceptives. The number of women of reproductive age using modern contraception reached 33%, an increase of 2-3% in all pilot regions due to over 20 training sessions on family planning, antenatal care, family-centered maternity care and breastfeeding. The program was expanded to rural areas in three regions – Tyumen, Vologda and Omsk – which piloted programs and conducted training sessions for health professionals.
USG programs successfully leveraged funds and other support from the pilot regions. The Vologda and Tyumen regions conducted their own family planning training courses using regional funds. The Vologda, Tyumen, and Irkutsk regions now provide free contraceptives with regional government funds. USG partners developed and disseminated 11 mother-child health protocols at the national and regional level and these protocols were adopted by MOHSD.
With USG assistance, a survey of family planning and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV was conducted and family planning guidelines for HIV+ women were developed. The GOR included these best practices in its guidelines on HIV prevention. The Omsk Regional Government provided $6 million to roll out these best practices to the entire region. With USG assistance, a campaign was undertaken in 9 regions and included training health professionals and media outreach with 57 TV programs, 162 radio spots, and 283 newspaper articles. The campaign reached 43 percent of 18-35 year olds (25,000 people). About 60 percent credited the campaign their adoption of modern contraceptives and 43 percent with avoidance of sexually transmitted infections.
The USG and MOHSD developed and promoted youth-friendly reproductive health clinics and finalized guidelines for the organization of youth-friendly reproductive health services. Programs in Orenburg and Sakhalin, the two regions that proposed the best plans for youth-friendly services in a competitive process, were initiated in FY 2007. Both regions finalized plans for creating youth-friendly reproductive health centers.
To help reduce the number of neglected and abandoned children and decrease alcohol and substance abuse rates in Russia, the USG supported activities to improve child welfare services and strengthen programs aimed at life skills development and advocacy. USG activities were expanded to ten regions to disseminate innovative child abandonment prevention services focused on family preservation and reunification, alternatives to institutional care for orphans, and community integration for disabled children and orphanage alumni; develop standards for social services and establish pilot systems for early crisis intervention; promote alcohol and substance abuse prevention programs; and strengthen assistance to war victims.
A USG-supported project to assist Russian orphans started to roll out previously tested models on child abandonment prevention and deinstitutionalization in 5 new regions. This included two regions in the Russian Far East that were selected based on the commitment of government resources, with up to a 3:1 leveraging ratio. A large-scale child welfare reform continued in Tomsk, where USG-funded programs developed best practices and disseminated them across the region to new localities. Standards were developed and tested to improve mainstreaming services for disabled children, early crisis interventions, and support for family-based alternatives to institutionalization. A regional system of supervision for social workers was set up through a non-governmental training center to support the development of professional child welfare specialists in all 16 municipalities of the region. This work was supported and co-funded by the regional government whose funding exceeded previous USG contributions. The first national clearinghouse on abandonment prevention was established by a USG-funded implementer to provide information on child welfare innovations and training resources and to initiate the networking of service providers across Russia. Almost 700 social workers were trained and over 24,000 children, including 8,297 disabled children, were served, meeting FY 2007 targets.
The USG supported UNICEF to continue playing its coordination role in bringing together the efforts of the government of Chechnya and organizations addressing the needs of psychosocially affected children and their family members. The development of a Plan of Action for 2008-2012 was a key achievement and the draft plan was approved by all pertinent GOR departments. In response to the GOR’s request, UNICEF agreed to play an advocacy role in implementing the new plan. The original program provided psychosocial assistance to traumatized children and parents in Chechnya through a network of 18 psychosocial centers for children, and provided for the emotional rehabilitation of crisis-affected children in North Ossetia (Beslan).
FY 2007 Measures of Country PerformanceThe following data are based on the Monitoring Country Progress in Europe and Eurasia system developed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to measure and track progress in the region. The system uses four different indices to monitor progress, drawing on readily available standardized country-level data on economic reform, economic structure and performance, democratic reform, and human capital. The primary data sources are the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the World Bank, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and Freedom House. The data for each of the four indices are converted and standardized to a 1-to-5 scale, with a “5” representing the best performance of the Eastern Europe and Eurasia region, and a “1” the least advanced in the region.
Russia’s Democratic Reform* Scores in 2006 compared to Romania and Bulgaria in 2002
The graph to the left shows Russia’s democratic reform scores in 2006* (the grey shaded area) as compared to the average of Romania’s and Bulgaria’s democratic reform scores in 2002 (the bold line) when they were invited to join NATO and received favorable indications of future EU membership.
*Actual 2007 scores not yet available
Russia’s Democratic Reform Scores in 2006 compared to its Reform Scores in 1999
The graph to the left shows Russia’s democratic reform scores in 2006* (the grey shaded area) as compared to its democratic reform scores in 1999 (the bold line).
*Actual 2007 scores not yet available
*Democratic reforms include the electoral process (the extent to which elections are free, fair and competitive), civil society (primarily NGO development), the independence of media, public governance and administration, rule of law (primarily judicial reform), and the scope of corruption as well as anti-corruption income.
Russia’s 1st Stage Economic Reform* 2007 Scores Compared to Bulgaria and Romania in 2002
The graph to the left shows Russia’s stage one economic reform scores in 2007* (the grey shaded area) as compared to the average of Romania’s and Bulgaria’s economic reform scores in 2002 (the bold line) when they were invited to join NATO and received favorable indications of future EU membership.
Russia’s 1st Stage Economic Reform 2007 Scores Compared to its Scores in 1999
The graph to the left shows Russia’s stage one economic reform scores in 2007* (the grey shaded area) as compared to its economic reform scores in 1999 (the bold line).
Russia’s 2nd Stage Economic Reform 2007 Scores Compared to Bulgaria and Romania in 2002
The graph to the left shows Russia’s stage two economic reform scores in 2007* (the grey shaded area) as compared to the average of Romania’s and Bulgaria’s economic reform scores in 2002 (the bold line) when they were invited to join NATO and received favorable indications of future EU membership.
Russia’s 2nd Stage Economic Reform 2007 Scores Compared to its Scores in 1999
The graph to the left shows Russia’s stage two economic reform scores in 2007* (the grey shaded area) as compared to its democratic reform scores in 1999 (the bold line).
*Economic reforms include “first stage” reforms of privatization, stabilization, and liberalization (domestic price liberalization and trade liberalization), and “second stage” reforms in the financial sector, infrastructure (physical and energy), corporate governance and competition policy.
Russia’s Progress on the USAID Country Progress Indices between 1998 and 2007
(1) Economic reforms index include “first stage” reforms of privatization, stabilization, and liberalization (domestic price liberalization and trade liberalization), and second stage reforms in the financial sector, infrastructure (physical and energy), corporate governance and competition policy.
(2) The economic structure and performance index tracks indicators such as the size of the private sector as % of GDP, export share of GDP, and the size of the small and medium enterprise sector as % of GDP, economic growth, inflation, debt, and foreign direct investment.
(3) The Democratic reforms index include the electoral process (the extent to which elections are free, fair, and competitive), civil society (primarily NGO development), the independence of media, public governance and administration, rule of law (primarily judicial reform), and the scope of corruption as well as anti-corruption efforts.
(4) USAID tracks progress on the Human capital index by analyzing trends in health (life expectancy, under five mortality rates, and public expenditures on health), education (secondary school enrollment rates and public expenditures on education) and per capita income.