FY 2008 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance
PERFORMANCE REPORT HIGHLIGHTS: RUSSIA
FY 2008 Foreign Assistance GoalsUnited States Government (USG) assistance to Russia is designed to encourage the Russian Federation to become a stable, democratic, and reliable partner for the United States in addressing global issues. In support of this goal, the USG is implementing programs that promote cooperation with Russia in areas of common interest, that challenge Russia to adopt policies and practices necessary for its emergence as a responsible player on the international stage, that support organizations and activists who promote democracy and human rights in Russia’s increasingly challenging environment, and that catalyze and leverage Russia’s financial resources and human capital to address important issues. USG assistance programs in the North Caucasus focused on conflict mitigation, interethnic tolerance, economic opportunity, youth engagement, health, and community development to reduce violence and instability. In the Peace and Security area, assistance programs worked to promote military-to-military cooperation between U.S./NATO and Russian armed forces and complement broader USG efforts under the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program to enhance nuclear cooperation and reduce WMD proliferation threats. The USG continued to encourage the creation of a national action plan coupled with the establishment of a federal government office to coordinate anti-trafficking in persons (TIP) efforts as well as anti-money laundering (AML) projects to improve fraud detection and AML capacities in hundreds of banks. In order to promote democracy, USG foreign assistance worked to strengthen the capacity of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to: advocate on behalf of citizen interests; increase civic participation and contribute to public policy debate; promote transparency and public oversight over government; strengthen judicial independence; promote rule of law; bolster independent media; and build democratic political processes; including building the capacity of indigenous election monitors, civic activists, and democratic political parties. In the health sector, USG assistance focused on drug demand reduction and HIV/AIDS programs, combating tuberculosis (TB), and improving maternal health and child welfare.
Total FY 2008 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: $81.24m*
(*Foreign Operations appropriated assistance, excluding centrally managed Foreign Operations funds that are not budgeted for specific countries.
Highlights of FY 2008 Performance by Area of Focus
Peace and Security
In FY 2008, USG assistance:
- Provided training and technical support to ensure the safety and security of nuclear materials, and reduced proliferation threats through cooperative engagement of scientists, technicians, and engineers with WMD and applicable expertise through USG assistance to the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC). To increase border security and export control, USG funding provided training to Russian government entities, as well as technical assistance to improve the country’s nuclear regulatory regime. Training and technical support was provided in licensing and inspection procedures, analytical methods including risk-informed regulation, emergency response and infrastructure development, and developing regulatory guidelines.
- Resulted in the effective use of drug detection, communication, and information processing equipment provided in past years. Because the Government of Russia has allocated substantial funding to its anti-narcotics and anti-smuggling efforts, direct U.S. assistance to these units is no longer a high priority. In the area of transnational criminal activities, previous U.S. assistance resulted in the passage of anti-money laundering legislation that complies with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force, the establishment of an effective money laundering/terrorist financing intelligence unit, and the creation of a U.S.-Russia working group on shell corporations. In FY 2008, over 900 people from 47 institutions participated in 19 U.S.-funded projects. Additionally, the Central Bank of Russia was equipped with the latest technologies for fraud detection and tracking, transaction testing, and related enforcement actions; and legal and technical input was made to an amendment of anti-money laundering legislation.
- Continued to work with the Presidential Administration and Parliament to draft and implement legislation regarding child pornography and child sexual exploitation. Investigations and prosecutions of child sexual exploitation cases have increased significantly, from 35 in 2005 to more than 350 last year. With support from the USG and the EU, a rehabilitation center for trafficking victims assisted more than 275 trafficking victims during its first year of operation. Two additional shelters are opening with USG support.
- Supported conflict mitigation programs in the North Caucasus. For example, in Chechnya and Ingushetia, 148 youth participated in professional training and 50 took part in business development training. One hundred seventy youth representing more than 25 ethnicities took part in summer programs. Microfinance projects targeted over 20 credit cooperatives and other microfinance institutions with membership of over 300 people (about 60 percent women). Improvements in the microfinance environment directly reduced the number of individuals in key "at-risk" groups, while creating long-term job and income opportunities. U.S.-supported community-based development projects brought together representatives of different ethnicities and government officials to identify and solve challenges facing their communities. In FY 2008, three public works projects benefited 2,700 people from at-risk groups.
Governing Justly and Democratically
In FY 2008, USG assistance:
- Provided training to approximately 200 prosecutors to develop the skills necessary to win jury cases. Many prosecutors have credited this training for success at specific trials, including high profile murder trials, and the program continues to enjoy the support of the General Procuracy, which despite the current political climate, has committed to continuing them. USG assistance provided 10,470 hours of training to 370 defense attorneys in FY 2008.
- Provided approximately 5,000 legal consultations to 3,400 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), trained 250 attorneys, advised 350 experts and government representatives, and advanced 15 legislative initiatives to improve the regulatory environment and help NGOs to operate within it. To enhance the public perception of NGOs, USG assistance trained nearly 1,100 NGO professionals, developed Russia’s first national NGO code of ethics, signed by 229 NGOs, and launched a federal-level awareness campaign to promote volunteerism and charity through NGOs. In addition, USG assistance provided more than 20,000 youth with training and other opportunities to take part in civic education and community action programs. Another 860,000 youth participated in civic and business education programs, now poised to receive all future funding from private and public sector sources.
- Improved collaboration and networking among human rights groups. In targeted areas public campaigns organized by U.S.-supported NGOs became better accepted by the general public. Increasingly, human rights organizations successfully defended themselves and their constituencies through the court system, with 1,135 cases filed. The Moscow Helsinki Group and its 60 member organizations provided approximately 10,000 individual legal consultations and another 13,500 legal consultations were provided to citizens by specialized rights groups. More than 15,000 citizens and youth participated in human rights education activities.
- Increased the transparency, accountability, and effectiveness of regional and municipal governments. USG assistance supported the development of five national-level regulations to promote fiscal reform, provided expert technical assistance to 30 sub-national governments on policy development, and trained approximately 1,100 regional and municipal official on public financial management. USG-funded programs also strengthened the role of civil society in improving local self-governance. Working in collaboration with regional and local authorities, NGOs promote eight statutory changes in Samara Oblast and ten statutory changes in Southern Russia and the North Caucasus republics in order to improve channels for public involvement and oversight.
- Supported efforts to monitor the use of administrative resources during the Federal elections through Transparency International-Russia, whose field monitors in key regions provided daily reports during the election campaigns, resulting in 23 detailed case studies of irregularities and abuses and 15 technical recommendations to authorities about actions to end misuse of public resources in elections. Transparency International’s press conferences and technical reports on the nature of electoral administrative resources generated substantial attention in at least 65 media publications. As a recognized leader in anti-corruption initiatives, Transparency International-Russia was later invited by the Russian government to take part in the preparation and discussion of anti-corruption draft legislation initiated by the new Medvedev Administration.
Investing in People
In FY 2008, USG assistance:
- Supported Russian NGOs, faith based groups and public health facilities and social services to develop HIV/AIDS prevention programs, reaching 20,500 persons from at-risk populations, including injecting drug users (IDUs), sex workers, and high-risk youth. As a result of USG-supported technical assistance, 17,000 people were counseled and tested for HIV/AIDS.
- Helped build local Russian capacity to respond to avian influenza (AI). In FY 2008, almost 200 specialists from regions across Russia and several countries in the region were trained in AI preparedness and infection control. In addition, through USG support, 3,000 personal protective equipment kits (PPEs) were provided to several healthcare institutions, labs, and post-graduate medical schools in the North Caucasus, Central Russia, and Moscow.
- Supported reproductive health and family planning programs providing regional and national protocols which address key causes of infant and maternal morbidity and mortality. For example, 2007 was the first year in more than a decade that births outnumbered abortions nationwide. In FY 2008 the program supported the roll out of family planning and reproductive health to five new regions, reaching a total of 20 regions across Russia. The percent of women of reproductive age using modern contraception increased by 13 percent in pilot regions, raising the levels to 46 percent (above the national standard of 40 percent).
- Resulted in tuberculosis treatment outcomes that exceeded the Russian nationwide average, with seven of the USG supported regions reporting treatment success rates above the national average of 59 percent. Other significant achievements in FY 2008 included: the training of over 1,000 health professionals, Red Cross, and prison staff members in prevention and treatment related issues; the participation of more than 1,000 community volunteers in TB control activities; and the establishment of modern infection control systems at seven leading provincial TB facilities.
- Strengthened the capacity of healthcare providers in the Russian Far East to prevent, detect and manage HIV/AIDS-related opportunistic infections and TB/HIV co-infection. More than 300 hundred Russian practitioners, including general care providers, infectious diseases specialists, and TB specialists, participated in these training sessions, which introduced best practices and internationally recognized clinical standards.
- Funded technical assistance programs that resulted in governments in the target regions developing innovative child welfare programs that include: early identification of families at risk of child abandonment and preventive services to help keep these families intact; case management in municipal social centers to work with at-risk families; screening, training and monitoring foster families to ensure the quality of family placements; telephone “helplines” for emergency assistance for vulnerable children; the introduction of healthy lifestyles curriculum in schools; and rehabilitation for disabled children, victims of war, and street children. As a result of the U.S.-funded interventions supported and co-funded by the government, USG target regions now account for 33 percent of all children reunited with their families in Russia. More than 20,000 children remained with their biological families and the number of foster parents in target regions increased by 85 percent.
USG Supports Introduction of Pro Bono Legal Services to Russia – In FY 2008, a USG-supported initiative helped create a new pro bono law mechanism for Russia. The Pro Bono Clearinghouse enables Russian and international law firms to accept referrals of legal matters on behalf of non-governmental organizations. More than a dozen law firms have joined the clearinghouse and several dozen cases have been referred so far. The project also provides training on specific legal issues affecting NGOs, such as registration and taxation, to participating lawyers.