FY 2010 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: Russia
Performance Report Highlights: Russia
FY 2010 Foreign Assistance Goals
The United States seeks a stable, democratic, and reliable partner in Russia to address crucial global issues. In support of this goal, the U.S. Government (USG) continued to implement programs that promote cooperation with Russia in areas of common interest, strengthen ties between Russian organizations and their American counterparts, and catalyze Russia to apply its vast resources and human capital to tackle domestic and international problems. At the same time, USG engagement maintained its focus on promotion of human rights, democracy, civil society, and rule of law in Russia through support to organizations that encourage informed civic participation and partnership with government institutions working to adopt and implement policies and practices consistent with the responsibilities of a democratic state.
Total FY 2010 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: $71.50 million*
(*Foreign Operations funding appropriated for FY 2010, not including centrally managed, regional Foreign Operations funding that is not budgeted for specific countries.)
Highlights of FY 2010 Performance by Area of Focus
Peace and Security
-- The USG supported training and dissemination of anti-drug education to more than 38,000 students in the most vulnerable areas of Russia. In addition, USG support enabled 5,200 counseling sessions on HIV prevention and treatment which reached 1,700 chronic substance abusers with counseling on sexual behavior, HIV and addiction treatment issues. Of these clients, about half (750) provided contact data and informed consent for follow-up monitoring after they were released from substance abuse facilities. Preliminary results show increased retention in care at the AIDS Center for HIV-positive clients, as well as significantly higher rates of remission from substance abuse.
-- Russian prosecutors recently began using new legislation on “cooperating witnesses,” which was drafted and passed with the support of USG technical experts. In a recent computer-hacking case in St. Petersburg that involved the theft of $9 million from customer bank accounts in a single day, one defendant concluded a cooperation agreement and helped investigators understand the whole scheme, identify other participants and locate and recover the lost funds.
-- USG funding supported rehabilitation centers for trafficking victims in Moscow and in Primorskiy Kray. A total of 73 Russian and 56 non-Russian victims received services at the centers, as well as help in voluntarily returning to and reintegrating into their home regions or countries.
-- The USG supported increased economic opportunities for residents of Russia’s North Caucasus region, thus reducing incentives for involvement in conflict and illicit activities. For example, one USG partner worked with over 3,500 people employed in the agriculture sector to develop rural credit and non-credit cooperatives that issued over 500 loans valued at more than $22.5 million. Another partner worked in close cooperation with the government and municipalities of Kabardino-Balkaria Republic (KBR) and with microfinance institutions to create 28 credit-consumer cooperatives and 13 municipal funds supporting small to medium enterprises in the KBR. Over the course of three years, that project expanded the KBR microfinance loan portfolio from $300,000 to $10,000,000, expanding the number of credit cooperatives from two to thirty, with coverage of all districts of the KBR. The cumulative assets of microfinance institutions were used to support over 2,000 small and micro entrepreneurs and over 200 start-up businesses. The project helped create more than 1,000 jobs and sustain some 2,500 jobs in the small towns and rural settlements of the Republic.
Governing Justly and Democratically
-- With support from the USG and an Oblast Court in one region, a Mediation Center was established to mediate cases referred by local judges. This form of alternative dispute resolution will, over time, reduce case backlogs and improve court efficiency -- this is believed to be the first such center in Russia.
-- According to official statistics, justices of the peace now handle approximately 44% of all criminal cases, 75% of all civil cases and 95% of all administrative cases in Russia. Russian citizens most frequently interact with the court system on the justice-of-the-peace level. In Leningrad Oblast and Rostov Oblast, the USG supported Justice of the Peace courts and staff to help them comply with Federal Law 262, which made publication of court decisions mandatory as of July 1, 2010. This support included training in the mechanics of posting decisions, as well as events to bring the court staff and press together to introduce this new practice.
-- The USG provided technical support for pre-trial detention and economic crimes legislation that was adopted in December 2009. The reforms include: (1) elimination of pre-trial detention in first-offense criminal tax investigations, (2) removal of tax liability for businesses that have paid applicable tax arrears, (3) transfer of jurisdiction over criminal tax investigations from the police to the Prosecutor’s Office, and (4) the requirement that criminal tax investigators be bound by the tax-related judgments of civil and administrative courts. This new legislation was used by Russian lawyers to secure the release from incarceration of dozens of businesspeople, and it also improved Russia’s overall business environment.
-- With USG support, Russian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have carried out many important activities to advance human rights, including successful advocacy on behalf of amendments to current labor legislation which are supported by Duma deputies; amendments to the federal law on the public oversight system; and the adoption of a law on “Inclusive Education of Persons with Disabilities in Moscow.” Human rights partners also provided thousands of legal consultations, monitored human rights violations, disseminated information through mass media and public events, and funded numerous specialized publications.
-- The USG provided small grants to Russian organizations to improve their handling of human-rights cases in domestic and international courts, and to increase awareness about violations of human and legal rights, including of servicemen, civilians in the North Caucasus, and NGO and political activists. For example, one grantee monitored, analyzed, and published information on the press and the activities of nationalist, xenophobic, and extremist movements in Russia; monitored anti-extremist legislation to ensure its compatibility with the civil liberties outlined in the Russian Constitution; and provided educational and mentoring activities to youth and the general population through a series of publications and outreach activities. Another grantee received support for a project to digitize and safeguard its physical archives, which contain personal letters, newspaper articles, and official government documents concerning acts of political repression in the Soviet Union. By the close of its project, the grantee’s staff had scanned 7,000 biographical records, material concerning 7,400 persons, and 107 complete biographical files containing between five to twenty documents on a single individual.
-- USG funding resulted in 32 positive modifications to enabling regulations for public participation in governance and anti-corruption initiatives, and input on 26 federal laws or amendments promoting decentralization. Similarly, USG funds helped to establish a coalition of business associations in the North Caucasus; the coalition is now self-sustaining and working in partnership with governments of the North Caucasus republics. Under the same program, one business coalition developed a methodology for identifying opportunities for corruption that arise due to discrepancies between local, regional and federal regulations. Regional Chambers of Commerce will now disseminate it throughout Russia, as part of Ministry of Economic Development’s broader efforts to improve the business environment in Russia.
-- In the Russian Far East, USG funding leveraged an additional $480,000 from regional and municipal authorities and private businesses to provide clean drinking water for 15,000 people in seven communities on the Amur River that were affected by a devastating chemical spill in 2006. Similarly, USG efforts involving 50 municipalities and their residents with a combined population of 900,000 resulted in an average reduction of their energy consumption by 15%. The municipalities used the savings to pay for small infrastructure projects identified jointly by local officials and residents.
-- To increase civil society-to-government dialogue, USG-supported regional resource centers have created mechanisms and improved public involvement in local governance. For example, one such center established public councils in more than 40 municipalities of Krasnodar region to exercise public oversight of the regional militia and call attention to migrants’ rights. Programs operating in Samara and across Siberia conducted surveys and competitions to inform and improve mechanisms of citizen-government interaction.
-- USG-funded television cooperatives enabled Russian crews to film segments in America on entrepreneurship, the role of women in small business development, and connections between Russian and American culture. These segments were aired for a national audience and contributed to a sharp increase in positive views of the United States. According to statistics from the Levada Center, the percentage of Russians with positive views of the United States more than tripled since 2008, from 18 to 56%.
-- The USG worked with partners in Russian Government (GOR) ministries to build emergency response capacity through training and exercises. Five representatives of Russia’s Ministry for Affairs of Civil Defense, Emergencies and Disaster Relief (EMERCOM) and its Air Mobile Rescue Team participated in a five-day program in the United States in conjunction with a Joint Memorandum of Understanding on Emergency Response. The goal of the program was the expansion of the use of international standards and best practices in Russian disaster response and humanitarian institutions. An additional 25 staff of EMERCOM and other Russian ministries took part in USG-sponsored training in international food program management, which included discussion of intergovernmental cooperative efforts in food aid and humanitarian assistance and included participation of representatives of the USG, EMERCOM, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). U.S. and Russian disaster response experts conducted a joint table-top exercise simulating earthquake response, from disaster declaration to international deployment to coordination of search and rescue and humanitarian assistance, and demobilization. Experts from the Fairfax County (Virginia) Search and Rescue Team that took part in the response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti discussed lessons learned from that endeavor with their Russian colleagues who had also served in the response to the Haiti earthquake.
Investing in People
-- USG partners helped to disseminate HIV-prevention messages, particularly to members of vulnerable populations. These messages reached over 6,100 intravenous drug users, approximately 8,000 sex workers, almost 1,000 men who have sex with men, and over 3,600 members of other vulnerable populations. USG partners provided technical assistance to improve care for people living with HIV/AIDS and further supported NGOs and health care providers offering HIV care services to over 65,000 people living with AIDS. With the support of USG-funded technical assistance, St. Petersburg authorities adopted a policy to institutionalize social services for HIV-positive women and children and allocated government funds to support these services.
-- In FY 2010 the tuberculosis (TB) treatment success rate in seven USG-supported regions was higher than the Russian average and the default rate in seven sites was lower (from 1% to 6%, versus 9% nationwide). Two USG-supported regions (Orel and Belgorod) achieved over 80% success rates -- the best TB treatment success rates in Russia. USG funds have catalyzed additional resources and political commitment for TB from regional governments in target regions. At the federal level, GOR funding for TB has increased from $100 million in 2005 to about $1 billion in 2009, and TB is included in the National Priority Project “Health.”
-- USG-assisted regions in central Russia were able to reduce complications such as respiratory disorders, hypothermia and asphyxia in newborns by 50%. More specifically, asphyxia in newborns was cut in half in eight participating hospitals (from 7.1% to 3.5%); the risk of hypothermia decreased by 80% in 10 hospitals; and neonatal respiratory disorders were cut in half in target hospitals. Also, teen consultations and contraceptive use increased by 175% in Tambov, with abortions among teens falling 50% and births among teens dropping by 16% there.
-- As the result of USG programs, the number of children deemed at risk of institutionalization in the regions of focus fell by rates as high as 37%, while the number of local family-based placements increased by as much as 120%. Models developed with USG support were incorporated into the governmental child welfare program for 2010-2012. Tomsk Oblast and Altay Kray completed the introduction of case management into their child welfare institutions, and a system of governmental grants for NGOs in child welfare was set up in most pilot regions. The partnership between the USG and the Government of Krasnoyarsk Kray set up early rehabilitation services for disabled children residing in families and orphanages in five cities there.
-- USG-supported Russian environmental NGOs encouraged the Governor of Khabarovsk to issue a decree to designate 38,000 hectares along the Koppi River as a protected area. On Sakhalin, USG support contributed to the establishment of a seventh watershed council, which are established to protect water and riparian-zone resources generally, and wild salmon specifically.
-- The USG and the Russian Federal Forest Agency signed a Protocol of Intent on Future Cooperation in Forest Management, which identified a number of possible areas of cooperation, including climate change adaptation and mitigation through improved forest management; forest fire prevention, pest and disease management; illegal logging; forest monitoring and inventory; building forest roads; bioenergy development; and voluntary forest certification.
-- Five U.S. aircraft delivered firefighting and protective equipment to Russia to assist efforts to minimize the impact of the devastating summer wildfires of 2010. This included personal protective equipment, water tanks, and backpack pumps to assist EMERCOM, and hand tools and other equipment for the Aerial Fire Service (AviaLesoOkhrana). The total value of this assistance was approximately $4.5 million. The USG also provided the IFRC and the Russian Red Cross $50,000 in humanitarian assistance to help victims of the fires.