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RUSSIA

RUSSIA , former empire in Eastern Europe; from 1918 the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (R.S.F.S.R.), from 1923 the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.); from 1990 the Russian Federation.

Until 1772

origins

The penetration of Jews into the territories now incorporated within the Union began in the border regions beyond the Caucasus Mountains and the shores of the Black Sea. Traditions and legends connect the arrival of the Jews in *Armenia and *Georgia with the *Ten Lost Tribes (c. 721 b.c.e.) or with the Babylonian *Exile (586 b.c.e.). Clearer information on the settlement of the Jews in these regions has come down from the Hellenistic period. Ruins, recordings, and inscriptions on tombstones testify to the existence of important Jewish communities in the Greek colonies on the Black Sea shores, Chersonesus near *Sevastopol, *Kerch, and other places. Religious persecutions in the *Byzantine Empire caused many Jews to emigrate to these communities. At the time of the wars between the Muslims and Persians during the seventh century many Jews emigrated to the Caucasus and beyond, where they established communities which during subsequent generations maintained relations with the centers of Jewish learning in Babylonia and Persia. From the early Middle Ages, Jewish merchants, referred to in Hebrew as holkhei Rusyah, regularly traveled through the Slavonic and Khazar lands on their way to India and China. They traded in slaves, textiles, hides, spices and arms. It was during this period that the accepted term in Hebrew literature for those lands – Ereẓ Kena'an ("Land of Canaan") – appeared (originating in the etymological interpretation of the name "Slavs"), and the merchants were said to be familiar with the "language of Canaan" (Slavonic). It is clear that the conversion to Judaism of the kingdom of the *Khazars during the first half of the eighth century was to a certain degree due to the existence of the many Jewish communities in this region. Jews from the Christian and Muslim countries which bordered upon the Khazar realm were later attracted to the Jewish kingdom. Possibly refugees who escaped from this kingdom formed one of the elements of Russian Jewry in later generations, though their proportion in the composition of this Jewry is still under discussion.

The kingdom of the Jewish Khazars is referred to in ancient Russian literature as the "Land of the Jews," and warriors of the Russian epic poetry wage war against the Jewish warrior, the "zhidovin." According to one tradition, Prince Vladimir of Kiev conversed with Jews on religion before accepting Orthodox Christianity. At the same time, there were Jews living in Kiev. Ancient Russian sources mention the "Gate of the Jews" in Kiev. The Jews lived in the town under the protection of the prince, and when the inhabitants of the town rebelled against Prince Vladimir ii Monomachus (1117) they also attacked the houses of the Jews. Extracts of religious *disputations held in Kiev between monks and clergy and Jews have been preserved in the early Russian religious literature. There were also Jewish settlements in *Chernigov and Vladimir-Volynski. The Jews of Kiev also communicated with their coreligionists in Babylonia and Western Europe on religious questions. During the 12th century, there is mention of R. *Moses of Kiev who corresponded with Rabbenu Jacob b. Meir *Tam and with the Gaon *Samuel b. Ali of Baghdad.

The invasion of the Mongols (1237) and their rule brought much suffering to the Jews of Russia. An important community – *Rabbanites as well as *Karaites – subsequently developed in Theodosia (*Feodosiya, Crimea) and its surroundings, first under Genoese rule (1260–1475) and later under the Tatar khans of Crimea.

from the 14th century

From the beginning of the 14th century, the Lithuanians gained control over western Russia. Under Lithuania the first extensive privileges were granted to Jewish communities in the region at the end of the 14th century. Under Poland-Lithuania the wave of Jewish emigration and large-scale settlement from Poland to the *Ukraine,*Volhynia, and *Podolia from the middle of the 16th century laid the foundations at the close of this century for most of the Jewish communities of the Ukraine and Belorussia, and their Polish-Jewish culture and autonomy (see *Great Poland; *Councils of the Lands). In 1648–49 the *Chmielnicki massacres devastated the Jews of the Ukraine, and some years later the Muscovite armies annihilated the Jews in the cities of Belorussia and Lithuania that they had captured. During the 18th century, the Jews suffered severely during the revolts of the *Haidamacks. With the partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, most of the Jews of Lithuania and the Ukraine, and at the beginning of the 19th century also those of Poland, found themselves under Russian rule. During the 19th and 20th centuries Russian Jewry was, however, essentially an organic continuity of the Jewry of Poland and Lithuania in the ethnic as well as cultural respects.

principality of moscow

In the principality of Moscow, the nucleus of the future Russian Empire, Jews were not tolerated. This negative attitude toward Jews was connected with the negative attitude to foreigners in general, who were considered heretics and agents of the enemies of the state. During the 15th century, Jews arrived within the borders of the principality of Moscow in the wake of their trade from both the Tatar kingdom of Crimea and Poland-Lithuania. During the 1470s, the religious sect known in Russian history as the "*Judaizers" (Zhidovstvuyushchiye) was discovered in the large commercial city of *Novgorod and at the court in Moscow. The Jews were accused of having influenced and initiated the establishment of the sect. When Czar Ivan iv Vasilievich ("the Terrible"; 1530–84) temporarily annexed the town of Pskov to his territory, he ordered that all Jews who refused to convert to Christianity should be drowned in the river. During the following two centuries, Jews entered Russia either illegally or with authorization from Poland and Lithuania on trade, and they occasionally settled in border towns. Repeated decrees issued by the Russian rulers prohibiting the entry of Jewish merchants within their territories, and explicit articles included in the treaties between Poland and Russia emphasizing these prohibitions, testify that this penetration was a regular occurrence. Small Jewish communities existed during the early 19th century in the region of *Smolensk. In 1738 the Jew, Baruch b. Leib, was arrested and accused of having converted the officer Alexander *Voznitsyn to Judaism. Both were burned at the stake in St. Petersburg. In 1742 Czarina Elizabeth Petrovna ordered the expulsion of the few Jews living in her kingdom. When the senate attempted to obtain cancellation of the expulsion order by pointing out the economic loss which would be suffered by the Russian merchants and the state, the czarina retorted: "I do not want any benefit from the enemies of Christ."

At the beginning of the reign of Catherine ii, the question of authorizing the entry of Jews for trading purposes again arose. The czarina, who was inclined toward authorizing their admission, was compelled to reverse her decision in the face of hostile public opinion. Some Jews nevertheless penetrated into Russia during this period, while the authorities did not disturb those living in the territories conquered from Turkey in 1768 (Crimea and the Black Sea shore) and even unofficially encouraged the settlement of additional Jews in these territories. The question of the presence of Jews within the borders of the empire was however decided by historical circumstances, when at the close of the 18th century hundreds of thousands of Jews were placed under the dominion of the czars as a result of the three partitions of Poland (1772, 1793 and 1795).

Within the Russian Empire: First Phase (1772–1881)

The Jews who lived in the regions annexed by Russia (the "Western Region" and the "Vistula Region" in the terms of the Russian administration) formed a distinct social class. In continuation of their economic functions in Poland-Lithuania, they essentially formed the middle class between the aristocracy and the landowners on the one hand, and the masses of enslaved peasants on the other. Many of them earned their livelihood from the lease of villages, flour mills, forests, inns and taverns. Others were merchants, shopkeepers or hawkers. The remainder were craftsmen who worked for both landowner and peasant. Some of them lived in townlets which had mostly been founded on the initiative of the landowners and served as centers for the merchants and the craftsmen, while others lived in villages or at junctions of routes. It is estimated that the occupational structure of the Jews at the beginning of the 19th century was as shown in Table: 19th-Century Jewish Occupations, Russia.

Occupation %
Innkeeping and leases30
Trade and brokerage30
Crafts15
Agriculture1
No fixed occupation21
Religious officials3

The economic position of the Jews steadily deteriorated with their confinement to the *Pale of Settlement (see below), their rapid growth in numbers, and consequent gradual proletarianization and increasing pauperization. The autonomy of the Jewish community was at first recognized. The Jews maintained their traditional educational network.

When they came under Russian rule, many of the communities had become heavily indebted. Economic difficulties, the burden of taxes – in particular the meat tax (see *korobka) – and social tensions drove many Jews to abandon the townlets and settle in villages or on the estates of noblemen. During the period of their transfer to Russian domination, the Jews of the "Western Region" were involved in a grave conflict between the *Ḥasidim and the *Mitnaggedim. Once the Russian government gained control of this region, it became involved in this conflict. Complaints and slander even resulted in the arrest of *Shneur Zalman of Lyady in 1798 and his transfer to St. Petersburg for interrogation. The various ḥasidic "courts" (the most important of which were those of *Lubavichi-Lyady, *Stolin, Talnoye, *Gora-Kalwaria, *Aleksandrow), as well as the yeshivot of the mitnaggedic type in Lithuania (the most important in the townlets of *Volozhin, founded in 1803, *Mir, *Telz (Telsiai), Eishishki (Eisiskes), and *Slobodka; see also *Maggid; *Musar movement) combined to form a flourishing and variegated Jewish culture.

crystallization of russian policy toward the jews

From the beginning of its annexation of the Polish territories, the Russian government adopted the attitude of viewing the Jews there as the "Jewish Problem," to be solved ultimately by their *assimilation or expulsion. During the first 50 years after incorporation within the borders of the empire, the general tendency of the government was to maintain the status of the Jews as it had been under Polish rule, while adapting it to the Russian requirements. A decree of 1791 confirmed the right of residence of the Jews in the territories annexed from Poland and permitted their settlement in the uninhabited steppes of the Black Sea shore, conquered from Turkey at the close of the 18th century, and in the provinces to the east of the R. Dnieper (*Chernigov and *Poltava) only. Thus crystallized the Pale of Settlement, which took its final form with the annexation of Bessarabia in 1812, and the "Kingdom of Poland" in 1815, extending from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea and including 25 provinces with an area of nearly 1,000,000 sq. km. (286,000 sq. mi.). The Jews formed one ninth of the total population of the area. Jewish residence was also authorized in *Courland and, at a later date, in the Caucasus and Russian Central Asia to Jews who had lived in these regions before the Russian conquest.

In the regions annexed from Poland, the Jews were caught up in the dilemma facing czarist rule there. The regime, whose power rested on the nobility, refrained from throwing the responsibility for the miserable plight of the mainly Orthodox peasants onto the Christian landowners, mainly of the Polish Catholic nobility, preferring to blame the Jews in the villages; it accepted the claim of the local nobility and officials allied to it that the Jews were causing the exploitation of the peasants (see G.R. *Derzhavin). The Jewish autonomy and independent culture added to this antagonism, as being alien to the Russian centralist regime and Christian-feudal culture.

These concerns animated the first "Jewish Statute" promulgated in 1804. Its first article authorized the admission of the Jews to all the elementary, secondary and higher schools in Russia. Jews were also authorized to establish their own schools, provided that the language of instruction was Russian, Polish or German. The most important of the economic articles of the statute was the prohibition of the residence of Jews in the villages, of all leasing activity in the villages, and of the sale of alcoholic beverages (see *Wine and Liquor Trade) to the peasants. This struck at the source of livelihood of thousands of Jewish families. The legislation therefore declared that Jews would be allowed to settle as peasants on their lands or on the lands which would be allocated to them by the government. Government support was also promised to factories which would employ Jewish workers and to craftsmen.

In 1817 Alexander i outlawed the *blood libel which had caused terror and suffering to the Jewish communities in the 18th century.

A short while after the publication of the "Jewish Statute," the expulsion of the Jews from the villages began, as did their settlement in southern Russia. It was, however, soon evident that agricultural settlement (see *agriculture) could not rapidly absorb the thousands of Jewish families who had been removed from their livelihoods. The expulsion order was therefore delayed, this being also due to the political and military situation in Russia during the war against Napoleon. Only in 1822 was the systematic expulsion of the Jews from the villages, especially in the provinces of Belorussia, resumed. An unsuccessful attempt was also made to induce the Jews to convert to Christianity by promises of *emancipation and government support for their settlement on the land.

under nicholas i

The reign of *Nicholas i (1825–55) forms a somber chapter in the history of Russian Jewry. This czar, notorious in Russian history for his cruelty, sought to solve the "Jewish Problem" by suppression and coercion. In 1827 he ordered the conscription of Jewish youths into the army under the iniquitous *Cantonists system which conscripted youths aged from 12 to 25 years into military service; those aged under 18 were sent to special military schools also attended by the children of soldiers. This law caused profound demoralization within the communities of Lithuania and the Ukraine (it did not apply to the Jews of the "Polish" provinces). Nobody wished to serve in the army in the prevailing inhuman conditions and the "trustees" responsible on behalf of the communities for filling the quotas of conscripts were compelled to employ "snatchers" ("khapers") to seize the youngsters. The military obligations of the Jews in Russia brought no alleviation of their condition in other spheres, and the expulsions of Jews from the villages continued with regularity. The Jews were also expelled from Kiev, and any new settlement of Jews in the towns and townlets within a distance of 50 versts of the country's borders was prohibited in 1843. On the other hand, the government encouraged agricultural settlement among Jews. The settlers were exempted from military service. Many Jewish settlements were established on government and privately owned lands in southern Russia and other regions of the Pale of Settlement.

During the 1840s, the government began to concern itself with the education of the Jews. Since the Jews had not made use of the opportunity which had been given to them in 1804 to study in the general schools, the government decided to establish a network of special schools for them. The maintenance of these schools would be provided for by a special tax (the "*candle tax") which would be imposed on them. In order to pave the way for this activity, the government sent Max *Lilienthal, a German Jew employed as teacher in the school established in Riga by the local maskilim, on a reconnaissance trip through the Pale of Settlement. During 1841–42 Lilienthal visited the large communities of the Pale of Settlement – Vilna, Minsk, Berdichev, Odessa, and Kiev. He was received with suspicion by the Jewish masses, who regarded the project to establish government schools for Jews as a medium for the estrangement of their children from their religion. In 1844 a decree was issued ordering the establishment of these schools, whose teachers would be both Christians and Jews. In secret instructions which accompanied the decree, it was declared that "the purpose of the education of the Jews is to bring them nearer to the Christians and to uproot their harmful beliefs which are influenced by the Talmud." Lilienthal became aware of the government's intentions and fled from Russia. The government established this network of schools which depended for instruction upon a handful of maskilim and at the head of which were the seminaries for rabbis and teachers of Vilna and *Zhitomir. These institutions, to which the Jewish masses shrank from sending their children, served as the cradle for a class of Russian-speaking maskilim which was to play an important role in the lives of the Jews during the following generations.

In 1844 the government abolished the Polish-style communities but was nevertheless compelled to recognize a limited communal organization whose function it was to watch over the conscription into the army and the collection of the special taxes – the korobka and "candle tax." The community was also responsible for the election of the *kazyonny ravvin ("government-appointed rabbi"), whose function it was to register births, marriages, and deaths and to deliver sermons on official holidays extolling the government. A law was also issued prohibiting Jews from growing pe'ot ("sidelocks") and wearing their traditional clothes.

The next stage of the program of Nicholas i was the division of the Jews of his country into two groups: "useful" and "non-useful." Among the "useful" ranked the wealthy merchants, craftsmen, and agriculturalists. All the other Jews, the small tradesmen and the poorer classes, constituted the "non-useful" and were threatened with general conscription into the army, where they would be trained in crafts or agriculture. This project encountered the opposition of Russian statesmen and aroused the intervention of the Jews of Western Europe on behalf of their coreligionists. In 1846 Sir Moses *Montefiore traveled from England to Russia for this purpose. The order to classify the Jews according to these categories was nevertheless issued in 1851. The Crimean War delayed its application but amplified the tragedy of military conscription. The quota was increased threefold and the "snatchers" were given a free hand to seize children and travelers who did not possess documents, and hand them over to the army. The reign of Nicholas i came to an end with the memory of those days of intensified kidnapping.

under alexander ii

The reign of *Alexander ii (1855–81) is connected with great reforms in the Russian regime, the most important of which was the emancipation of the peasants in 1861 from their servitude to the landowners. Toward the Jews, Alexander ii adopted a milder policy with the same objective as that of his predecessor of achieving the assimilation of the Jews to Russian society. He repealed the severest of his father's decrees (including the Cantonists system) and gave a different interpretation to the classification system by granting various rights – in the first place the right of residence throughout Russia – to selected groups of "useful" Jews, which included wealthy merchants (1859), university graduates (1861), certified craftsmen (1865), as well as medical staff of every category (medical orderlies and midwives). The Jewish communities outside the Pale of Settlement rapidly expanded, especially those of St. Petersburg and Moscow whose influence on the way of life of Russian Jewry became important.

In 1874 a general draft into the army was introduced in Russia. Thousands of young Jews were now called upon to serve in the army of the czar for four years. Important alleviations were granted to those having a Russian secondary-school education. This encouraged the stream of Jews toward the Russian schools. At the same time, Jews were not admitted to officers' ranks.

The general atmosphere the new laws engendered was of no less importance than the laws themselves. The administration relaxed its pressure on the Jews and there was a feeling among them that the government was slowly but surely proceeding toward the emancipation of the Jews. Jews began to take part in the intellectual and cultural life of Russia in journalism, literature, law, the theater and the arts; the number of professionals was then very small in Russia, and Jews soon became prominent among their ranks in quantity and quality. Some Jews distinguished themselves, such as the composer Anton *Rubinstein (baptized in childhood), the sculptor Mark *Antokolski and the painter Isaac *Levitan.

This appearance of Jews in economic, political and cultural life immediately aroused a sharp reaction in Russian society. The leading opponents of the Jews included several of the country's most prominent intellectuals, such as the authors Ivan Aksakov and Fyodor Dostoyevski. The attitude of the liberal and revolutionary elements in Russia toward the Jews was also lukewarm. The Jews were accused of maintaining "a state within a state" (the enemies of the Jews found support for this opinion in the work of the apostate J. *Brafman, The Book of the Kahal, published in 1869), and of "exploiting" the Russian masses; even the blood libel was renewed by agitators (as that of Kutais in 1878). However, the principal argument of the hate-mongers was that the Jews were an alien element invading the areas of Russian life, gaining control of economic and cultural positions, and a most destructive influence. Many newspapers, led by the influential Novoye Vremya, engaged in anti-Jewish agitation. The anti-Jewish movement gained in strength especially after the Balkan War (1877–78), when a wave of Slavophile nationalism swept through Russian society.

population growth

One of the factors which influenced the position of the Jews was their high natural increase, due to the high birthrate and the relatively low mortality among children – the result of the devoted care of Jewish mothers as well as of medical progress. The number of Jews in Russia, which in 1850 had been estimated at 2,350,000, rose to over 5,000,000 at the close of the 19th century, notwithstanding a considerable emigration abroad. Governmental commissions appointed to deal with the "Jewish Problem" received instructions to seek methods for the reduction of the number of Jews in the country.

economic position

The natural growth resulted in increased competition in the traditionally Jewish occupations. The numbers of small shopkeepers, peddlers and brokers rose steadily. Many joined the craftsmen's class, a step which in those days was considered a fall in social status. A Jewish proletariat began to develop; it included workshop and factory workers, daily workers, male and female domestics, and porters. At the same time there also emerged a small but influential class of wealthy Jews who succeeded in adapting to the requirements of the Russian Empire and established contacts with government circles. The first members of this class were contractors engaged by the government in the building of roads and fortresses, or purveyors to army offices and units. During the reign of Nicholas i, many Jews engaged in leasing the sale of alcoholic beverages which had become a government monopoly. From the 1860s, Jews played an important role in the construction of railroads and the development of mines, industry (especially the foodstuff and textile industries), and export trade (timber; grain). They were among the leading founders of the banking network of Russia. This class of Jews was prominent in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Odessa, Kiev and Warsaw. This upper bourgeoisie, headed by the *Guenzburg and *Polyakov families, considered themselves the leaders of Russian Jewry. They were closely connected with Jews who had acquired a higher education and had penetrated the Russian intelligentsia and the liberal professions (lawyers, physicians, architects, newspaper editors, scientists and writers). The wealth and the status of this small class was however unable to alleviate the suffering of the destitute masses. After the emancipation of the serfs in 1861, the serious lack of land for the Russian peasants themselves became evident and the government ceased to encourage Jewish settlement on the land. Emigration became the only outlet. Until the 1870s, the migration was mainly an internal one, from Lithuania and Belorussia in the direction of southern Russia. While in 1847, only 2.5 percent of Russian Jews lived in the southern provinces, the proportion had increased to 13.8 percent in 1897. Important new communities appeared in this region: Odessa (about 140,000 Jews), Yekaterinoslav (*Dnepropetrovsk), Yelizavetgrad (*Kirovograd), *Kremenchug, etc. The famine in Lithuania at the end of the 1870s encouraged emigration toward Western Europe and the United States.

haskalah in russia

From the middle of the 19th century, *Haskalah became influential among Russian Jewry. Its first manifestations, combined with signs of assimilation, appeared in the large commercial cities (Warsaw, Odessa, Riga). Among the Russian adherents of Haskalah, there was a trend to preserve Judaism and its values; hence they tended to seek changes based mainly on a thread of continuity. Although there were also circles which stood for complete assimilation and absorption in Eastern Europe (the "Poles of the Mosaic Faith" of Poland, nihilist and socialist circles in Russia), the majority of the maskilim sought a path which would preserve the national or national-religious identity of the Jews, while some of them even developed an indubitable nationalist ideology (Pereẓ *Smolenskin). The herald of the Haskalah in Russia was the author Isaac Dov (Baer) *Levinsohn. In his Te'udah be-Yisrael (Vilna, 1828), he formulated an educational and productivization program. The most distinguished pioneers of Haskalah in Russia were the author Abraham *Mapu, the father of the Hebrew novel, and the poet Judah Leib *Gordon. Even though the maskilim were at first opposed to Yiddish, which they sought to replace by the language of the country, some of them later created a secular Yiddish literature (I.M. *Dick; Shalom Yankev *Abramovitsh (Mendele Mokher Seforim); and others). At the initiative of the maskilim, there also emerged a Jewish press in Hebrew (*Ha -Maggid, founded in 1856; *Ha-Meliẓ); in Yiddish (*Kol Mevasser); and in Russian (*Razsvet, founded in 1860; Den). The Ḥevrat Mefiẓei Haskalah ("*Society for the Promotion of Culture among the Jews of Russia"), founded in 1863 by a group of wealthy Jews and intellectuals of St. Petersburg, was an important factor in spreading Haskalah and the Russian language among Jews.

These books and newspapers infiltrated into the batteimidrash and the yeshivot, influencing students to leave them. Severe ideological disputes broke out in many communities, often between father and son, rabbi and disciples. The government assisted the spread of Haskalah as long as its adherents supported loyalty to the czarist regime (as expressed by J.L. Gordon – "to your king a serf") and cooperated in promoting educational and productivization programs, as well as in its opposition to the traditional leadership. By the 1870s, the activity of the maskilim began to bear fruit. The mass of Jewish youth streamed to the Russian-Jewish and general Russian schools. The general conscription law of 1874 encouraged this process, and thus began the estrangement of the intellectual youth from its people and Jewish affairs – to the despair of the nationalist wing of the Haskalah which resigned itself to this situation. However, the rise of the antisemitic movement within Russian society during the late 1870s (see above) resulted in a nationalist awakening among this youth. This was expressed in the development of a Jewish-Russian press and literature dealing with the problems of the Jews and Judaism (Razsvet; Russki Yevrey; *Voskhod).

Within the Russian Empire: Second Phase (1881–1917)

The year 1881 was a turning point in the history of the Jews of Russia. In March 1881 revolutionaries assassinated Alexanderii. Confusion reigned throughout the country. The revolutionaries called on the people to rebel. The regime was compelled to protect itself, and the Russian government found a scapegoat: the notion was encouraged that the Jews were responsible for the misfortunes of the nation. Anti-Jewish riots (*pogroms) broke out in a number of towns and townlets of southern Russia including Yelizavetgrad (Kirovograd) and Kiev. These disorders consisted of looting, while there were few acts of murder or rape. Similar pogroms were repeated in 1882 (*Balta, etc.); in 1883 (Yekaterinoslav, now Dnepropetrovsk, *Krivoi Rog, Novo-Moskovsk, etc.); and in 1884 (Nizhni-Novgorod, now *Gorki). The indifference to – and at times even sympathy for – the rioters on the part of the Russian intellectuals shocked many Jews, especially the maskilim among them. Revolutionary circles which hoped to transform these disorders into a revolt against the landowners and government also supported the rioters. The new czar, *Alexander iii (1881–94), and his cabinet underlined these trends in their policy toward the Jews. Provincial commissions were appointed in the wake of the pogroms to investigate their causes. In the main, these commissions stated that "Jewish exploitation" had caused the pogroms. Based on this finding, the "Temporary Laws" were published in May 1882 (see *May Laws). These prohibited the Jews from living in villages and restricted the limits of their residence to the towns and townlets. In an attempt to halt the flood of Jews now seeking entry to secondary schools and universities, and their competition with the non-Jewish element, the number of Jewish students in the secondary and higher schools was limited by law in 1886 to 10 percent in the Pale of Settlement and to 3–5 percent outside it. This *numerus clausus did much to accomplish the radicalization of Jewish youth in Russia. Many went to study abroad; others were able to enter Russian schools only if showing outstanding ability. All became embittered and disillusioned with the existing Russian society. In 1891 the systematic expulsion of most of the Jews from Moscow began. The pogroms were indeed halted in 1884 but instead administrative harassment of Jews became worse. The police strictly applied the discriminatory laws, and the expulsion of Jews from towns and villages where they had lived peacefully during the reign of Alexander ii was effected, either under the law or with the help of bribery, to become a daily occurrence. The press (which was subjected to severe censorship) conducted a campaign of unbridled antisemitic propaganda. K. *Pobedonostsev, the head of the "Holy Synod" (the governing body of the Russian Orthodox Church), formulated the objectives of the government when he expressed the hope that "one third of the Jews will convert, one third will die, and one third will flee the country."

This policy was also continued under *Nicholas ii (1894–1918). In reaction to the growth of the revolutionary movement, in which the radicalized Jewish youth took an increasing part, the government gave free rein to the antisemitic press and agitation. During Passover in 1903, a pogrom broke out in *Kishinev in which many Jews lost their lives. From then on pogroms became a part of government policy. They gained in violence in 1904 (in Zhitomir) and reached their climax in October 1905, immediately after the czar had been compelled to proclaim the granting of a constitution to his people. In these pogroms, the police and the army openly supported the rioters and protected them against the Jewish self-defense organizations (see below). Pogroms accompanied by bloodshed in which the army actively participated occurred in *Bialystok (June 1906) and *Siedlce (September 1906). The establishment of the Imperial Duma brought no change to the situation of the Jews. There was indeed a limited Jewish representation in the Duma (12 delegates in the first Duma of 1906 and two to four delegates in the second, third and fourth Dumas), but this representation was faced by a powerful Rightist party – the *Union of the Russian People – and related parties, whose principal weapon in the political struggle against the liberal and radical elements was a savage antisemitism which overtly called for the elimination of the Jews from Russia.

It was these circles which produced the "Protocols of the *Elders of Zion" which served, and still serve, as fuel for antisemitism throughout the world. In this atmosphere, a proposal for a debate in the Duma on the abolition of the Pale of Settlement was shelved, while a suggestion to exclude the Jews from military service was not accepted for the sole reason that the government could not dispense with the service of about 40,000 Jewish soldiers. Characteristic of this period was the law issued in 1912 which prohibited the appointment as officers not only of apostates from Judaism, but also of their children and grandchildren. In 1913 the government held a blood libel trial in Kiev involving Mendel *Beilis: the antisemitic propaganda was intensified and the government mobilized its police and judicial cadres to obtain his conviction. A strong defense was mustered, including the Jews O. *Grusenberg and Rabbi J. *Mazeh, which succeeded in disproving the libel: the jury, consisting of 12 Russian peasants, acquitted the accused.

The pogroms, restrictive decrees and administrative pressure caused a mass emigration of Jews from Russia, especially to the United States. During 1881 to 1914 about 2,000,000 Jews left Russia. This emigration did not result in a decrease in the Jewish population of the country as the high birthrate recompensed the losses through emigration. The economic situation improved, however, because the pressure on the sources of livelihood did not grow at its former pace and also because the emigrants rapidly began to send financial assistance to their relatives in Russia. Several attempts were made to organize and regulate this continual emigration, the most important by the Jewish philanthropist Baron Maurice de *Hirsch who reached an agreement in 1891 with the Russian government on the transfer of 3,000,000 Jews within 25 years to Argentina. For this purpose, the *Jewish Colonization Association (ica) was established. Even though the project was not realized, ica was very active in promoting Jewish agricultural settlement both in the lands of emigration and in Russia itself.

jewish population at the close of the 19th century

The comprehensive population census of 1897 provides a general picture of the demographic and economic condition of Russian Jewry at the close of the 19th century. In the census 5,189,400 Jews were counted; they constituted 4.13 percent of the total Russian population and about one-half of world Jewry. Their distribution over the Russian Empire appears in Table: Russian Jewish Population, 1897.

Region Number of Jews % of total population
1 93.9% of the Jews of Russia.
2 Excluding the Jews of Bukhara.
Ukraine, Bessarabia2,148,0599.3
Lithuania, Belorussia1,410,00114.1
Russian Poland1,316,57614.1
Total in Pale of Settlement 4,874,63611.51
Interior of Russia, Finland208,3530.34
Caucasus58,4710.63
Siberia, Russian Central Asia47,9410.352
Total Russian Jewish Population 5,189,4014.13

In certain provinces of the Pale of Settlement, the percentage of Jews rose above their general proportion (18.12 percent in the province of Warsaw; 17.28 percent in the province of Grodno). The overwhelming majority of the Jews in the Pale lived in towns (48.84 percent) and townlets (33.05 percent). Only 18.11 percent lived in villages. The Jews of the villages nevertheless numbered about 890,000. A decisive factor in the social pattern of Russian Jewry was its concentration in the towns and townlets. The townlet (see *shtetl) – a legacy of the social structure of ancient Poland – was a center of commerce and crafts for the neighboring villagers and its population was mostly Jewish. There Jewish tradition, cohesion, and folkways were well preserved, serving as the basis and starting point for both the conservative and innovative forces in Jewish culture. In the larger cities, the majority of the Jews also resided in the same locality and led their own social life.

The largest Jewish communities in Russia in 1897 appear in Table: Jewish Communities in Russia, 1897.

City Number of Jews % of total population
Warsaw219,12832.5
Odessa138,93534.4
Lodz98,67631.8
Vilna63,83141.5
Kishinev50,23746.5
Minsk47,61752.3
Bialystok41,90363.4
Berdichev41,61778.0
Yekaterinoslav (Dnepropetrovsk)40,93736.3
Vitebsk34,42052.4

There were also many medium-sized towns in which the majority of the population was Jewish.

economic structure

This concentration of the Jews, and their intensive and variegated cultural life, made them a clearly distinct nation living in the Pale of Settlement. Their occupations and professional structure also gave a specific character to their society. In 1897 the Jews of Russia could be divided according to their sources of livelihood as shown in Table: Jews' Sources of Livelihood, Russia, 1897.

Occupation %
Commerce38.65
Crafts and industry35.43
Domestics and daily workers6.61
Liberal professions and administration5.22
Transport3.98
Agriculture3.55
Army1.07
Without regular source of livelihood5.49
Total100.00

In the Pale of Settlement Jews formed 72.8 percent of those engaged in commerce, 31.4 percent of those engaged in crafts and industry, and 20.9 percent of those engaged in transportation. At the close of the 19th century, the Jewish proletariat increased and numbered some 600,000. Approximately half of them were apprentices and workers employed by craftsmen, about 100,000 were salesmen, about 70,000 were factory workers, and the remainder daily workers, porters, and domestics. The desire of this proletariat to improve its material and social status, and its contacts with the revolutionary Jewish intelligentsia during the generation which preceded the 1917 Revolution, became an important factor in the lives of the Jews of Russia.

ideological trends

The last 20 years of the czarist regime were a time of tension and renaissance for the Jews, especially within the younger circles. This awakening essentially stemmed from conscious resistance to, and rejection of, the oppressive regime, the degraded status of the Jew in the country, and the search for methods for change. One response to the oppressive policy of the czarist government was to join one of the trends of the Russian revolutionary movement. The radical Jewish youth joined clandestine organizations in the towns of Russia and abroad. Many Jews ranked among the leaders of the revolutionaries. The leaders of the Social Democrats included J. *Martov and L. *Trotsky, while Ch. *Zhitlowski and G.A. *Gershuni figured among the founders of the Socialist Revolutionary Party of Russia. With the growth of national consciousness in revolutionary circles at the close of the 19th century, a Jewish workers' revolutionary movement was formed. Workers' unions which had been founded through the initiative of Jewish intellectuals united and established the *Bund in 1897. The Bund played an important role in the Russian revolutionary movement in the Pale of Settlement. It regarded itself as part of the all-Russian Social Democratic Party but gradually came to insist upon certain national demands such as: the right to cultural autonomy for the Jewish masses, recognition of Yiddish as the national language of the Jews, the establishment of schools in this language, and the development of the press and literature. The Bund was particularly successful in Lithuania and Poland, where after a short time it raised the social status of the worker and the apprentice, and implanted in them the courage to stand up to their employers and the authorities.

Another response of the Jews to their oppression in Russia found expression in the Zionist movement. Zionism originated in the *Ḥibbat Zion movement which came into being after the pogroms of 1881–83 (see also Leon *Pinsker). A few of the hundreds of thousands of Jews who left for overseas turned toward Ereẓ Israel and established the first settlements there. Ḥovevei Zion societies in Russia propagated the idea of this settlement and raised funds for its maintenance. The movement gained great impetus with the appearance of Theodor *Herzl, the convention of the First Zionist Congress in Basle, and the founding of the World Zionist Organization (1897). Because of the political regime of Russia, the central institutions of the Zionist Organization were established in Western Europe, even though the mass of its members and influence came from Russian Jewry. Zionism won adherence among all Jewish groups: the Orthodox and maskilim, the middle class and proletariat, the youth and intelligentsia. It encouraged national thought and culture among the masses. The Zionist press (*Haolam; Razsvet, etc.) and Zionist literature in three languages – Hebrew, Yiddish and Russian – gained wide popularity. The movement was illegal and the attitude of the government ranged from one of reserve, seeing that the movement could divert the Jewish youth from active participation in the revolutionary movement, to one of hostility. Zionist congresses and meetings were held openly (Minsk, 1902) and clandestinely. The failure of Herzl to obtain a charter from the Turkish sultan and the debate over the Uganda *project resulted in a grave crisis within the Zionist movement in Russia. Herzl largely based his case for accepting the Uganda project on the urgent need for a "Nachtasyl" for the suffering Russian Jews, but it was the majority of the Russian Zionists, led by M. *Ussishkin and J. *Tschlenow, who on principle opposed the Uganda proposal. Some of the proposal's supporters later resigned from the Zionist movement and founded territorialist organizations (see *Territorialism), the most important of which was the *Zionist Socialist Workers' Party (ss). Immigrants and pioneers from Russia formed the greater part of the Second Aliyah and it was from their ranks that the founders of the labor movement in Ereẓ Israel emerged.

Within a relatively short period, the revolutionary movement and the Zionist movement brought a tremendous change among Jewish youth. The battei-midrash and yeshivot were abandoned, and dynamism of Jewish society now became concentrated within the new political trends.

When the new wave of pogroms broke out in Russia in 1903, Jewish youth reacted by a widespread organization of self-defense. Defense societies of the Bund, the Zionists, and the Zionist-Socialists were formed in every town and townlet. The attackers encountered armed resistance. The authorities, who secretly supported the pogroms, were compelled to appear openly as the protectors of the rioters. The principal motives for the self-defense movement were not only the will to protect life and property but also the desire to assert the honor of the Jewish nation.

cultural developments

The nationalist awakening was also expressed by an astonishing development of Jewish literature in Hebrew, Yiddish and Russian. A continuation of the Haskalah literature, it reached its peak during the generation which preceded the 1917 Revolution. The most outstanding authors of that period were: *Aḥad Ha-Am, M.J. *Berdyczewski, M.Z. *Feuerberg, the Hebrew poets Ḥ.N. *Bialik, Saul *Tchernichowsky, Z. *Shneour, and others, as well as the Jewish Russian poet S.S. *Frug, and the Yiddish writers *Shalom Aleichem, I.L. *Peretz, and Sholem *Asch. There also arose a generation of researchers and historians, the most important of whom was S. *Dubnow, who wrote his History of the Jews and based his historical and world view on *Autonomism. Systematic research into Jewish folklore was started upon (S. *An-Ski). A Jewish encyclopedia in Russian was published (Yevreyskaya Entsiklopediya; 1906–13). The existing and new societies – Ḥevrat Mefiẓei Haskalah, *ort, *oze, ica – became frameworks for the activity of members of the Jewish intelligentsia who sought to extend the scope of these societies as far as possible. Jewish newspapers circulated in hundreds of thousands of copies. The mass of Jews read the daily press in Yiddish (Der Fraynd; *Haynt; Der *Moment; etc.); Hebrew readers turned to the Hebrew press (*Ha-Ẓefirah; *Ha-Ẓofeh; Ha-Zeman); others read the Russian-Jewish press. In St. Petersburg the foundations were laid for a Higher School of Jewish Studies by Baron D. *Guenzburg, and in Grodno a teachers' seminary, which trained teachers for the Jewish national schools, was opened under the patronage of the Ḥevrat Mefiẓei Haskalah.

An important point at issue that developed between the Zionists and their opponents was the character of Jewish culture. The Bund and Autonomist circles considered that the future of the Jews lay as a nation among the other nations of Russia; they sought to liberate it from religious tradition and to develop a secular culture and national schools in the language of the masses – Yiddish. The Zionists and their supporters stressed the continuity and the unity of the Jewish nation throughout the world and regarded Hebrew as the national language of the Jewish people. They considered the deepening of Jewish national consciousness and attachment to the historical past and homeland – Ereẓ Israel – to be the primary aim and mainstay of Jewish culture. This controversy grew acute after the Yiddishists had proclaimed Yiddish to be a national language of the Jewish people at the *Czernowitz

Yiddish Language Conference in 1908. The "language dispute" was fought with bitter animosity and caused a split within the Jewish intelligentsia of Eastern Europe.

world war i

Russian Jewry, while regarding World War i with some fear, felt that their participation in the defense of Russia would bring about the abolition of their second-class status. The course of events did not, however, justify this anticipation. The mobilization affected about 400,000 Jews of whom approximately 80,000 served at the front. The battle lines passed through the Pale of Settlement in which millions of Russian Jews lived. In the region of the Russian front and its nearby hinterland, there was a military regime under the control of a group of antisemitic generals (Prince Nikolai Nikolayevich; Januszkiewicz). With the first defeats of the Russian army, the supreme command found it expedient to impute responsibility for their reversals to the Jews, who were accused of treason and spying for the Germans. Espionage trials were held and hostages were taken and sent to the interior of Russia. This was followed by mass expulsions of Jews from towns and townlets near the front line. These reached their height with the general expulsion of the Jews from northern Lithuania and Courland in June 1915.

In July 1915 the use of Hebrew characters in printing and writing was prohibited. The Hebrew and Yiddish press and literature were thus silenced. The attacks on the Jews aroused public opinion in Europe and America against the Russian government whose serious military and financial situation compelled it to take Western opinion into account, as this was hindering Russia from obtaining loans in the Western countries. In the summer of 1915, most of the restrictions on Jewish residence were abolished de facto, though not de jure, and thousands of Jewish refugees from Poland and Lithuania streamed toward the interior of Russia. From the outset of the war, Jewish communal workers established a relief organization for Jewish war victims known as *yekopo. In conjunction with the existing Jewish societies, it assisted the refugees by providing shelter, food, and employment for them and by the establishment of schools for their children. Communal workers of every class participated in this activity, which awakened the feeling of national unity within the masses. The suffering and persecutions led Jews to attempt to evade military service and desert from the hostile army, and in the difficult conditions caused by the mass of refugees and defeat, speculation in food and other commodities became rife among Jews. The non-Jewish population and the army reacted by intensified hatred toward them.

The extensive conquests of Germany and Austria in 1915 brought approximately 2,260,000 Jews (40% of Russian Jewry) under the military rule of the advancing armies, thus freeing them from czarist oppression while separating them from the Jews who remained under the czar. In 1917 there were 3,440,000 Jews in the region which remained under Russian control; of these, about 700,000 lived outside the former Pale of Settlement. These upheavals brought about cultural and social changes. The conscription of great numbers of Jewish youths into the Russian army and the suppression of the Jewish press and the literature accelerated the process of Russification among the Jews there. In contrast, the Jewish masses of Poland, Lithuania, the eastern Ukraine, and Belorussia, which formed the most deep-rooted element, as well as the great Jewish cultural centers of Warsaw and Vilna, were torn from Russian Jewry. This also affected the greater part of the Ḥasidim.

the february revolution (1917)

The nine months following the February Revolution of 1917 constituted a brief springtime in the history of Russian Jewry. The Provisional Government abolished all the restrictions affecting the Jews on March 16, 1917, as one of its first measures. Jews were immediately given the chance to hold office in the government administration, to practice at the bar, and rise in the army ranks. All at once opportunity opened up to them for free development in every sphere of life, both as citizens of the state and as a national group. The hatred of the Jews, which had served as a political weapon in the hands of the ancient regime, became incompatible with the Revolution and was forced underground.

Naturally the Jews supported the Revolution and participated in the active political life which began to flourish in the country. There were Jews in all the democratic and socialist parties at all levels, from the leadership to the rank and file. The leaders of the Constitutional Democratic Party (Kadets) included the jurist M. *Vinawer; among the Socialist Revolutionaries there was O. *Minor, who was elected mayor of Moscow, and I.N. *Steinberg, who later became commissar for justice in the first Soviet government headed by *Lenin. Other leaders included, among the Mensheviks, J. *Martov, and F.I. *Dan; and among the Bolsheviks, L. Trotsky, Y.M. Sverdlov, L.B. *Kamenev, and G. *Zinoviev. Many Jews led the revolutionaries in the provinces, which were poor in intellectual forces. Despite their numbers in the general revolutionary movement, these revolutionaries were only a minute section of the vast numbers of Russian Jews who remained attached to their national and religious culture and society. This adhesion was expressed by the tremendous progress made by the Zionist movement in 1917. In May 1917 the seventh conference of the Zionists of Russia, representing 140,000 members, was held in Petrograd. Youth groups under the name of *He-Ḥalutz, who prepared themselves to settle in Ereẓ Israel, were formed in many towns and townlets. The Zionists also promoted an intensive cultural activity. The Ḥovevei Sefat Ever ("Lovers of the Hebrew Language") society founded under the czarist regime, became the *Tarbut society. In Moscow a Hebrew daily, Ha-Am, was published and Hebrew publishing houses financed by the wealthy arts patrons Stybel (Stybel Publishing) and Zlatopolsky-Persitz (Omanut Publishing) were established. Training colleges for teachers and kindergarten teachers were founded, as well as elementary and secondary schools. The first steps were taken for the establishment of a Hebrew theater, *Habimah. In all the elections which were held during that year by the general and Jewish institutions, the Zionists and related groups headed the Jewish lists, leaving the Bund and other Jewish parties far behind.

In November 1917 information on the *Balfour Declaration reached Russia and it was acclaimed with immense enthusiasm by the Jews throughout the country. Large-scale Zionist demonstrations and meetings were held in Odessa, Kiev, Moscow, and other communities. All the Jewish parties united in joint activity to prepare the All-Russian Jewish Convention, which was to establish a political-cultural autonomous organization and central representation of all the Jews in Russia. A powerful national awakening was manifested among the hundreds of thousands of Jewish soldiers who served in the Russian army. Thousands of them enrolled in the military colleges and obtained officers' rank. At meetings and conventions of soldiers, debates were held on the establishment of a Union of Jewish Soldiers, one of whose principal objectives would be the organization of self-defense on a military basis, to prevent and suppress pogroms. This union was headed by Joseph *Trumpeldor. Indeed, as the Provisional Government weakened and anarchy became widespread, antisemitism lifted up its head, and here and there pogroms characterized by looting and assaults on Jews were perpetrated by undisciplined soldiers and mobs. The necessity for an organization which could stand in the breach was felt.

The Jews of the Ukraine, where in 1917 about 60 percent of all the Jews living under Russian rule were to be found, faced in the summer of this year the tendency toward separatism that began to manifest itself there. A Central Ukrainian Council (Rada) was formed which at first demanded autonomy for the Ukraine and later (in January 1918) complete independence. The Jewish masses in the Ukraine did not regard Ukrainian separatism with favor. They felt no affinity with Ukrainian culture and retained in mind the tradition of hatred toward the Jews and the massacres of the 17th century (Chmielnicki) and the 18th (the Uman massacre) by Ukrainians. The Jews there regarded themselves as an integral part of Russian Jewry. The Jewish parties, Zionist and socialist, were, however, inclined to collaborate with the Ukrainians, both because of the doctrinal principle of supporting non-Russian nationalism and out of political considerations. The Ukrainians on their side were most anxious to acquire the support of the large Jewish minority which lived with them. Extensive internal national autonomy was promised to the Jews. A National Jewish Council was established, and at the end of 1917 an undersecretary for Jewish affairs (M. *Silberfarb) was appointed in the Provisional Government of the Ukraine. He became minister after the proclamation of Ukrainian independence.

the civil war

After the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917, the whole of Russia was plunged into a civil war which lasted until the beginning of 1921. The Jews of the Ukraine were especially affected by this war. Various armies were clashing in the area: the Ukrainian army under the command of S. *Petlyura and the bands of peasants connected with him; the Red Army, which came from the north but which organized and incorporated within its ranks many Ukrainian units; the counterrevolutionary "volunteers' army" (the "White Army") under the command of A. *Denikin; and independent units headed by local leaders (Grigoryev; Makhno; and others). These armies were composed mostly of soldiers who had fought on the battlefields of World War i and in general formed a wild mob mainly seeking after loot and bloodshed. As they passed through the towns and settlements, they abused and assaulted defenseless Jews. At times they contented themselves with the imposition of a "contribution" of money, clothes, and food, or with looting and murder on a limited scale. On other occasions, however, especially when in retreat, these armies and bands perpetrated general pillage and massacre among the Jews.

The first acts of bloodshed against the Jews were carried out by units of the Red Army during their retreat before the Germans in the northern Ukraine during the spring of 1918. However, the Red Army command had already adopted a clear policy of suppression of antisemitism within the army ranks. Systematic propaganda against antisemitism was conducted and the rare army units or individual soldiers who attacked the Jews were severely punished. Even though units of the Soviet army also later erupted into violence against the Jews (especially at the time of the retreat of the Red Army before the Poles in 1920), the Jews nevertheless came to regard the Soviet regime and the Red Army as their protectors. On the other hand, manifest antisemitism reigned within the units of the Ukrainian army and the peasant bands affiliated to it. At the beginning of 1919, during the retreat of the Ukrainian army before the Red Army, the regular army units systematically massacred the Jews with bestial savagery in Berdichev, Zhitomir, *Proskurov (leaving about 1,700 dead within a few hours), and other places. The Jewish autonomous organs in the Ukraine and the Jewish minister in the Ukrainian government could not obtain the punishment of the army commanders responsible for these pogroms. This convincingly proved to all the regular and irregular units of the Ukrainian army that lawlessness was licensed in regard to Jews. The policy of grain confiscation from the peasants adopted by the Soviets in those years encouraged anti-Soviet movements among the peasants. The Jews, inhabitants of the towns and townlets, were identified with Soviet rule, and the bands of peasants occasionally perpetrated systematic massacres of Jews when they gained control, often for a very short while, of the localities where Jews were living (Trostyanets, Tetiyev, etc.). During the summer of 1919, the White Army began to advance from the Don region toward Moscow. This army, which was composed of battalions of officers and Cossacks, was saturated with antisemitism and one of its slogans was the old slogan of czarist antisemites: "Strike at the Jews and save Russia!" Its way northward became a succession of pillage, rape, brutality, and slaughter which reached its climax in the massacre of the Jews at Fastov (with 1,500 dead). Their attacks on the Jews were even more severe at the time of their disorderly retreat southward at the end of 1919. It is difficult to assess the losses suffered by Ukrainian Jewry in these pogroms. S. Dubnow estimated that 530 communities had been attacked. More than 1,000 pogroms were perpetrated in these communities. There were more than 60,000 dead and several times this number of wounded. In the western Ukraine and Belorussia, the suffering of the Jews was caused mainly by the Polish army. Although pogroms did not take place, the Jews were terrorized and hundreds were executed without trial as "suspects" of Communist affiliation (Pinsk 1919, etc.). The Ukrainian and Russian "volunteer" units (under General Balachowicz-Bulak) which fought with the Poles also attacked the Jews.

During those years, Jewish self-defense units were formed in many places in the Ukraine. These efforts were, however, local. They were successful in several large towns and in a few townlets only. At the beginning of the civil war, a "Jewish Fighting Battalion" led by a nucleus of demobilized soldiers and officers was formed in Odessa. This battalion obtained many arms and saved the Jews of Odessa from pogroms. The defense units of the small towns managed to protect the Jews from small local bands, but were powerless when confronted by army units or large bands of peasants. Occasionally the attackers took cruel vengeance against the inhabitants for the resistance offered by their youth when they entered the locality (the *Pogrebishche massacre). During the last two years of the civil war, as Soviet rule strengthened, these self-defense organizations at first received political and military support. However, since nationalist and Zionist elements prevailed in them, they were disbanded later during the suppression of non-Bolshevik elements in 1921–22.

Under the Soviet Regime

By 1920 the borders of Soviet Russia took shape. A considerable number of Jews who had formerly been included within the borders of the Russian Empire remained in the states which had broken away from it (Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Bessarabia, incorporated into Romania). Only about 2,500,000 Jews remained within the limits of Soviet Russia. The fate of the Jews within the borders of Soviet Russia was to a large extent determined by the theory and practice of the Communist Party. Its outlook was defined and crystallized during the 20 years which preceded the Revolution. Like all the other socialist and liberal parties, the Bolshevik Party repudiated antisemitism, while the civic emancipation of the Jews, as that of the other Russian peoples, formed part of its program. It took some time until the party recognized Jews as a nationality. Under the influence of assimilated Jews, who carried weight in the circles of the socialist leadership of Europe and Russia, the Bolsheviks were inclined to regard integration and assimilation as the only "progressive" solution of the Jewish problem. This outlook was sharpened during the bitter discussion at the beginning of the century between the Bolsheviks and the Bund. Leaning upon Marx, K. Kautsky, and O. *Bauer, Lenin declared that "there is no basis for a separate Jewish nation," and in regard to a "national Jewish culture – the slogan of the rabbis and the bourgeoisie – this is the slogan of our enemies."

Stalin declared in his pamphlet, Marksizm i natsionalny vopros (Marxism and the National Question, 1913), that a nation is a "stable community of men, which came into being by historic process and has developed on a basis of common language, territory, and economic life"; since the Jews lack this common basis they are only a "nation on paper," and the evolution of human society must necessarily lead toward their assimilation within the surrounding nations. These theories of the fathers of Communism increasingly influenced Soviet policy toward the Jews, though in the beginning the Soviets were compelled by the actual conditions to deviate from their theories and to allow the existence of Jewish political and cultural institutions (the *Yevsektsiya (see below); Yiddish schools and publications, etc.). These deviations, however, proved in the long run to be of a temporary character, after which the line – of imposed assimilation of the Jews – was implemented with even more energy and firmness.

By its war on antisemitism and pogroms, the new regime gained the sympathy of the Jewish masses whose lives depended on its victory. Jewish youth enthusiastically joined the Red Army and took part in its organization. Many Jews reached the higher military ranks and played an important role in the formation of the Red Army. Leon Trotsky, who organized the military coup of the October Revolution of 1917, was the creator of the Red Army, which included among its prominent commanders a number of Jews (of whom the most celebrated were General Jonah *Yakir and Jan Gamarnik). In the Soviet air force there was General Y. *Shmushkevich. In 1926, 4.4 percent of the officers of the Red Army were Jews (two and a half times higher than their ratio to the general population). Jews took an important part in the restoration of the country's administration, which had collapsed after a large section of the Russian intelligentsia and former officialdom emigrated from Soviet Russia or refused to serve in it.

However, the new regime brought complete economic ruin to the Jewish masses, most of whom belonged to the "petty bourgeoisie" of the towns and townlets. The abrogation of private commerce, confiscation of property and goods, and liquidation of the status of the townlet as the intermediary between the peasants and the large towns–all these deprived hundreds of thousands of Jewish families of their livelihoods. About 300,000 Jews succeeded in leaving the Soviet-controlled territories for Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Romania. The declaration of Lenin on the failure of the economic policy of the period of "war Communism," the introduction of the New Economic Policy (nep), together with the conclusion of the civil war and the restoration of order in the country, brought some relief to the Jews, but their economic situation was broken and hopeless.

With economic ruin, the new regime also brought spiritual ruin to the Jews. When the Bolsheviks seized power, they were compelled to recognize the fact, even if as a temporary phenomenon, of the existence of millions of Jews who were attached to their language and their national tradition. A Jewish commissariat headed by the veteran Bolshevik S. *Dimanstein was established between 1918 and 1923 to deal with Jewish affairs. "Jewish Sections" (Yevsektsiya) were also set up in the branches of the Communist Party. Jewish members of the party who were prepared to work among their fellow Jews were organized in these sections. The function of the Yevsektsiya was to "impose the proletarian dictatorship among the Jewish masses." The older Jewish members of the Communist Party were mostly assimilationists who did not want any contact with their people. However, as the success of the Bolsheviks and the efficiency of their terror measures became increasingly evident, they were joined by sections of Jewish socialist parties (the Bund, the *United Jewish Socialist Workers' Party, the *Po'alei Zion) as well as by individual Jews. These brought with them ideas on the fostering of a secular Jewish culture in Yiddish and envenomed hatred toward the Jewish religion, the Hebrew language, the Bible, and the Zionist movement. The Communist Party put them in control of the Jewish population centers, at the same time stressing that their activity was only a temporary measure for as long as it would be required.

The first activity of the Yevsektsiya was the liquidation of the religious and national organizations of the Jews of Russia. In August 1919 the Jewish communities were dissolved and their properties confiscated. The general antireligious policy took the form, in relation to the Jews, of persecution of traditional Jewish culture and education, of prohibiting the religious instruction of children, the closure of ḥadarim and yeshivot, and the seizure of synagogues which were converted into clubs, workshops, or warehouses. A violent campaign against the Jewish religion and its leaders was conducted and heavy taxes were imposed on the rabbis and other religious officials in order to compel them to resign from their positions. In these activities the Yevsektsiya encountered the opposition of the religious masses, who based themselves on the promise of freedom of religious worship, which was officially proclaimed and later included in the Soviet constitution, and struggled for their right to pursue their way of life by legal or illegal methods (through "underground" ḥadarim, yeshivot, etc.). The imprisonment and expulsion from the Soviet Union of Rabbi J. *Schneersohn, the leader of Chabad Ḥasidism, in 1927 marked one phase in the suppression of Jewish religion. Even after this, "underground" religious activity continued, and its influence was manifested when hundreds of ḥasidic families left the Soviet Union and went to Ereẓ Israel after World War ii.

War was also proclaimed against Hebrew; its study was prohibited, and the publication of books in Hebrew was suspended (though until 1928 it was still possible to print religious books and Jewish calendars). In June 1921 a group of Hebrew authors led by Ḥ.N. Bialik and S. Tchernichowsky left Russia. Several years later, the Hebrew theater Habimah left the Soviet Union. It had attained a high artistic standard and for several years had been protected from the Yevsektsiya by several of the greatest Russian cultural personalities, led by M. Gorki. The remaining Hebrew authors (Abraham Friman, Ḥayyim *Lenski, Elisha *Rodin, and others) were cruelly persecuted and many of them sent to forced labor camps.

The Zionist movement revealed great vitality. The Soviets viewed Zionism as a threefold danger. It strengthened the vitality of Jewish nationalism. It diverted the Jewish intelligentsia, whose talents the regime required, toward activities beyond the borders of the Soviet Union. It maintained relations with the World Zionist Organization, then an ally of Britain, which ranked among the countries hostile to the Soviet Union. The Zionist movement went underground. Most of its members were youths and boys who were active in the Zionist parties (Ẓe'irei Zion; zs), youth movements (*Ha-Shomer ha-Ẓa'ir; Kadimah; and others) and within the framework of He-Ḥalutz which trained its members for aliyah. Many Zionists were imprisoned, sent to labor camps, or exiled to outlying places in Soviet Asia. For several years, the Soviets authorized the existence of He-Ḥalutz in certain regions of the country, but this authorization was abrogated in 1928. Thus organized Zionism was silenced by the end of the 1920s.

The independent societies and publishing houses (Ḥevrat Mefiẓei Haskalah, the Historical and Ethnographic Society, and others) continued to exist until the late 1920s. Some of their activists succeeded in leaving the Soviet Union (S. *Dubnow; S. *Ginsburg). Individuals remained in the Soviet Union (I. *Zinberg). In 1930 the Yevsektsiya was also disbanded. The first stage in the liquidation of the national life of the Jews in the Soviet Union had been completed.

"jewish proletarian culture."

To replace the Jewish culture which had been destroyed, the Jewish Communists attempted to develop a "Jewish proletarian culture," which was to be, according to Stalin's slogan, "national in form and socialist in content." This culture was based on the promotion of the Yiddish language and its literature, while the writing of Hebrew words in Yiddish was changed to phonetic transcription, so as to cut the link with Hebrew (examples: כאוויירים instead of עמעס ;חברים instead of אמת). A Yiddish press was established, with three leading newspapers; Der Emes (1920–38) in Moscow, Shtern (1925–41) in the Ukraine, and Oktiabar (1925–41) in Belorussia. Numerous literary and philological periodicals, youth newspapers, and a trades unions press were published every year. A Yiddish theater network was established. It was headed by the Jewish State Theater under the direction of A. *Granovski (until 1929) and afterward the actor S. *Mikhoels. These presented adaptations of Jewish classics, by authors such as Mendele Mokher Seforim, Shalom Aleichem, and I.L. Peretz, as well as Yiddish translations of Soviet propaganda pieces and plays. In Minsk and Kiev, "Faculties of Jewish Culture" were established in the universities. They essentially promoted research into the Yiddish language and its literature, Jewish folklore, and Marxist historiography of the history of the Jews in Russia and of the Jewish labor movements. The works of these institutes, as well as the whole of Jewish literature, were subject to the supervision of the Yevsektsiya, headed by M. *Litvakov, who kept watch to prevent "nationalist and rightist deviations." During the short period from the middle 1920s to the middle 1930s when this Soviet Yiddish culture flourished, it appeared to many adherents of Yiddish in the world that with the assistance of a great power a new Yiddish literature would emerge in the Soviet Union. Jewish authors and scholars who had left the country during the first years after the Revolution, as well as Jews from other countries, began to arrive in Moscow, Kiev, and Minsk (among them the authors: D. *Bergelson, P. *Markish, M. *Kulbak, and the scholars: N. *Shtif, M. *Erik, and Meir *Wiener).

Yiddish was also given an official status by the establishment of governmental tribunals in which proceedings were held in Yiddish. The greatest efforts were, however, invested in the development of a network of Yiddish schools. Many such schools were opened in the towns and townlets of the Ukraine and Belorussia. During the first years, an attempt was even made to compel Jewish parents to send their children to these schools. Secondary schools and training colleges for teachers were also established. At the height of this period, in 1932, 160,000 Jewish children (over one third of the Jewish children of elementary school age) attended these institutions. From this year, however, a decline set in. Jewish parents refused to send their children to schools whose Jewish character, apart from the language of instruction (which was the de-Hebraized Soviet Yiddish), was limited to the study of a few chapters of Yiddish literature, with even these interpreted in a manner that offended the religious and national values of the Jewish people. A further cause for the decline of this network of schools was the small number of Yiddish secondary schools and the lack of Yiddish higher educational institutions. By the late 1930s, these schools began to disappear until they were liquidated, largely of their own accord, in almost every corner of the Soviet Union.

Cultural assimilation gradually gained in momentum among the Jews as they became integrated within the life of the new Soviet society. The majority of the Jewish children attended Russian schools. Jewish youth was attracted to the larger cities where the Yiddish language was nonexistent. Even the Jewish-Russian press, which served as an obstacle to assimilation, and the Jewish societies and organizations were absent there. Mixed marriages became a frequent occurrence. In 1935 over 60,000 Jews studied at the higher schools (over 10 percent of the country's students). An expression of the assimilation of the Jews and their activity in Soviet literature could be seen from their large participation in the first conference of Soviet writers in 1934, at which there were 124 delegates of Jewish nationality (about 20 percent of the delegates). Only 24 of them wrote in Yiddish; the others mainly in Russian. These included some of the most prominent authors of Soviet Russian literature, such as: I. *Ehrenburg, B.L. *Pasternak, I. *Babel, and S. *Marshak. The Jews also played a central role in the development of other spheres of Soviet culture, especially the cinema (S. *Eisenstein; M. Romm).

economic reshuffle

The most decisive factor in the history of the Jews of the Soviet Union was the economic reshuffle which took place in their midst during the 1920s and 1930s. The brief nep period (1921–27) aroused vain hopes among the Jews, who occupied a place of considerable importance in the urban economic class of shopkeepers and independent craftsmen ("nepmen"). However, when the success of the nep period was at its height, severe supervision was imposed on this class, and the burden of taxation brought its impoverishment and destruction. The situation was especially difficult in Jewish townlets whose former economic basis had been destroyed. A widespread class of the destitute and unemployed was created; its members were also deprived of civic rights (lishentsy in Soviet terminology), such as the right to employment, public medical care, and the right of their children to study in secondary and higher schools. With the liquidation of the nep and the introduction of the first Five-Year Plan (1927–32), the situation of these masses deteriorated even further. Thousands of families subsisted on the meager assistance which they received from Western Jewry, through public organizations (the American Jewish *Joint Distribution Committee (jdc), ort, ica), through organizations of emigrants from towns or townlets (*Landsmannschaften), or individual relatives. Notorious in this period was the "Extortion of Dollars" campaign of the Soviet secret police, with the use of coercion and torture against Jews suspected of "hoarding dollars." During the late 1920s, according to official statistics, about one third of the Jews belonged to the economic classes which were destined to disappear and were deprived of the above-mentioned rights. The authorities sought to solve this problem in three ways: by agricultural settlement; by migration to the interior regions of Russia, which had been closed to the Jews under the czarist regime; and by concentration in the large towns and industrial regions of the Ukraine and Belorussia, where new classes of government officialdom and industrial enterprises had developed.

agricultural projects

During the 1920s, many of the leaders of the Soviet government came to regard agricultural settlement as the high road to the solution of the Jewish problem. A steady movement toward agricultural settlement of Jews had already started near the Jewish townlets during the period of war Communism in the years of the civil war, when occupation in agriculture at least promised a piece of dry bread. In 1924 the government created the Commission for Jewish Settlement (Komzet) and a year later a Society for the Promotion of Jewish Settlement (Ozet) was founded. Several Soviet leaders, led by M. Kalinin and Y. *Larin, viewed this settlement not only as an economic solution for the Jews but also as a means of assuring their national existence. Some members of the Yevsektsiya accepted these projects with enthusiasm and devoted themselves to their realization. These circles aimed to establish Jewish settlement in successive blocs which would form autonomous national areas and would eventually find their place among the national units of which the Soviet Union was composed. As a basis for such a concentration, the regions of prerevolutionary Jewish settlement in southern Russia were chosen, where 40,000 Jewish farmers already lived, as well as the Crimean peninsula, in the northern parts of which there were still areas available for settlement. Over a number of years five autonomous Jewish agricultural regions were established: *Kalinindorf (Kalininskoye) in 1927, Nay Zlatopol in 1929, Stalindorf (Stalinskoye) in 1930, in the Ukraine; Fraydorf in 1931, and Larindorf in 1935, in the Crimea. Jewish settlement organizations of the West, especially ica and the jdc, were associated in these activities. Ozet became the legal focus for Jewish activities, and in its newspaper Tribuna (Russian, 1927–37) the problems of the "productivization" of the Jews and their agricultural settlement were discussed. Communists of Russia and abroad considered this activity to be, among others, the Soviet alternative to Zionism.

It soon became evident that there was not sufficient space in the Ukraine and Crimea for Jewish settlement on a large scale. In 1928 the government decided to direct this settlement to a distant and sparsely populated region in the Far East–the region of *Birobidzhan, on the banks of the Amur River on the Chinese border. In order to encourage settlement in Birobidzhan, a political as well as an international Jewish character was given to this enterprise. Jews throughout the world were called upon to lend a hand in the establishment of a Jewish territorial unit within the framework of the Soviet Union. On May 7, 1934, the district of Birobidzhan was proclaimed a Jewish Autonomous Region which was to cover an area of 36,000 sq. km., whose official language would be Yiddish. Settlement in Birobidzhan took place in difficult pioneering conditions. In August 1936, the government announced that "the Jewish Autonomous Region was from now on to become the cultural center of Soviet Jewry for all the working Jewish population." This proclamation aroused opposition within the circles of Jewish activists in the European part of the Soviet Union. It appears that misgivings were also felt in government circles toward the outspoken national character which the settlement of Birobidzhan received. In August 1936, a drastic change occurred in the attitude of the government toward Birobidzhan. The leadership of the region, which was in the hands of former members of the Jewish socialist parties, was liquidated. From then, the Jewish aspect of the region began to wane. Officially Birobidzhan retained its name and status of a Jewish autonomous region, and the only newspaper still published in Yiddish in the Soviet Union is the Birobidzhaner Shtern. At present, however, Birobidzhan has only symbolic importance in the lives of the Jews of Russia. Its number of Jewish inhabitants, which in 1936 rose to 18,000 (about 24 percent of the total population of the region), declined to 14,169 in the census of 1959, forming 8.8 percent of the region's population and about 0.66 percent of the Jewish population of the Soviet Union. Less than 40 percent of them declared Yiddish to be their mother tongue.

By the late 1930s, the hopes which many Jews in Russia and abroad had pinned on agricultural settlement evaporated. The collectivization of farming during the early 1930s, which was frequently bound up with a policy of "internationalization" (i.e., the inclusion of non-Jewish peasants in Jewish kolkhozes), resulted in the departure of many Jewish settlers. The industrialization and development of the towns attracted many members of the settlements to the large towns. With the German invasion, all the Jewish settlements of the Ukraine and Crimea were destroyed and they did not recover after the war.

Numbers Immigration into the region
1928400900
19291,2001,000
19302,6001,500
19313,5003,250
19327,0009,000
19336,0003,000
19348,0005,250
193514,0008,350
193618,0008,000
193719,0003,000
194520,0001,750
194830,00010,000
195914,269

absorption into the soviet structure

In practice, the problem of Jewish integration within the economic structure of the Soviet Union was solved by many Jews moving to the interior of Russia and their absorption in Soviet officialdom and industry. Migration toward the interior of Russia, which had already begun as a result of the expulsions from the war zones in 1915 and with the outbreak of the Revolution of 1917, continued uninterruptedly, as indicated by the general censuses which were held in the Soviet Union in 1926 and 1939 (see Table: Migration toward the Interior of Russia, 1926 and 1939).

1926 1939
Region Number of Jews (thousands) % of total population Number of Jews (thousands) % of total population
Russian S.F.S.R.599.022.494831.4
Ukraine1,574.559.01,53350.8
Belorussia407.015.237512.4
Caucasus51.51.9842.8
Soviet Central Asia40.01.5802.6
Total2,672100.03,020100.0

The movement of Jews to Moscow and Leningrad was most evident (see Table: Movement of Jews to Moscow and Leningrad).

Number of Jews
Town 1897 1926 1940 (approx.)
Moscow8,473131,000400,000
Leningrad17,25184,412175,000

Hundreds of thousands of Jews took up employment as factory workers or were absorbed in administrative occupations (especially as clerks in consumers' cooperatives and in accountancy). The division of the Jews' social status in 1939, according to official sources, appears in Table: Jews According to Social Status, Russia, 1939.

Occupation %
Clerks40.6
Workers30.6
Cooperative craftsmen16.1
Individual craftsmen4.0
Peasants in kolkhozes5.8
Others2.9
Total100.0

Jews were heavily represented in the Soviet intellectual class. At the close of the 1930s, 364,000 Jews (of whom 125,000 were accountants) belonged to this class. Thus, in Soviet society, the Jews also remained an exceptional element in their social composition. Commerce, which had held the central place in the lives of the Jews before the Revolution, was replaced by administrative occupations and professions in technology and sciences. In Stalin's purges of the late 1930s, which were directed against the members of the old Communist guard, many members of the Yevsektsiya were liquidated and the main Jewish newspaper and the Ozet society were closed down. Apart from this, however, these purges did not bear an anti-Jewish character and were a part of the general policy of the party. At the end of the 1930s, Jews still played an important role in administration, science, and Soviet art. However, no Jewish national or communal organization existed whatsoever. Assimilation took giant strides. Mixed marriages became commonplace. Yiddish-Communist culture was gradually disappearing, but there was still a class of Jewish activists, authors and teachers who held their ground in this atmosphere of extinction, and proclaimed, in accordance with the optimistic official line in the Soviet Union, the great "success" achieved by Marxist-Leninist policy in the solution of the Jewish problem and the "renovated Jewish people" (dos banayte folk) which had emerged in the Soviet Union.

During World War ii (1939–1945)

On June 22, 1941, the German army invaded Soviet territory. The 22 months preceding the invasion witnessed a steady decline of the remnants of national Jewish life: Jewish institutions and newspapers which had survived the purge of the late 1930s functioned in an atmosphere of fear and oppression, and Jewish educational institutions closed down, often at their own initiative. Among the younger generation the process of assimilation was accelerated. (In June 1942 the Jewish commander of the Soviet air force, Lieutenant General Yaacov Shmushkevich, twice a Hero of the Soviet Union, was arrested and eventually executed, but this must be regarded as part of Stalin's general purges rather than an attack upon the Jews.)

soviet annexation of territories: 1939–40

The most significant event of this period, in Jewish terms, was the addition of over two million Jews, residents of the territories that had been annexed by or incorporated into the Soviet Union (see Table: Distribution of Jewish Population in the Soviet-Annexed Territories).

Area Date of Annexation Number of Jews Location of Large Communities
Eastern Galicia and western BelorussiaSept. 19391,220,000Bialystok, Pinsk, Grodno, Rovno, Lvov
Refugees from western PolandSept. 1939300,000
Lithuania and the Vilna areaJune 1940250,000Vilna, Kovno
Latvia and EstoniaJune 1940100,000Riga
Bessarabia, northernJuly 1940300,000Kishinev, Chernovtsy
Bukovina
Total2,170,000

As a result of the annexations, the Jewish population of the Soviet Union totaled approximately 5,250,000. There were areas in the new territories which had a dense Jewish population – especially the cities – and Jews accounted for 5–10 percent of the total population. Most of these Jews spoke Yiddish and they were imbued with a high degree of national Jewish consciousness. The Zionist movement was strong and well entrenched, and a large part of the youth actively prepared itself to settle in Palestine; the socialist Bund also wielded considerable influence. The Jews had their own educational systems – traditional and secular schools, and also the great yeshivot – which taught Hebrew and Yiddish to many thousands of students. A multilingual Jewish press and literature existed whose ranks of Jewish writers and men of letters were augmented by refugees from Warsaw and the towns in western Poland.

Deeply shocked by the swift capitulation of Poland and the fall of its Jews into Nazi hands, most Jews of the newly-annexed territories welcomed the new Soviet regime, regarding it above all as providing assurance of their physical survival. They accepted the new economic and social order in spite of the great hardship that it caused them – confiscation of factories and businesses and the imposition of heavy taxes on shopkeepers and artisans. Jews were now able to enter government service, and found it possible to function in the Soviet economic system in cooperative and state-run workshops and commercial enterprises. The Jewish communities themselves were disbanded and the status of religion and religious institutions – synagogues, yeshivot and religious schools – underwent a sharp decline. The Hebrew-language schools had to adopt Yiddish as the medium of instruction and introduce the Soviet curriculum, with teachers from the old part of the U.S.S.R. put on their staff. Jewish youth organizations were either disbanded or went underground and many of the young people joined the Communist youth movement (Komsomol). The young Zionists and yeshivah students, for the most part, moved to Vilna, which was a Polish city and then became the capital of Lithuania, but was not occupied by the Soviets until June 1940, and from there many succeeded in reaching either Palestine or the United States. There was also a minor revival of Yiddish cultural life. The old Soviet Yiddish writers, who had almost given up all hope of saving Yiddish culture from obliteration, now saw a new sphere of activities opening up. They established contact with writers in such Jewish centers as Vilna, Kaunas, Riga, Lvov, Bialystok, and Chernovtsy, founded newspapers and theaters, and began to publish their books. A chair for Yiddish language and literature, headed by Noah *Prylucki, was created at Vilna University. This development soon met with the disapproval of the Soviet authorities, and by the end of 1940 there was no doubt that Jewish institutions in the new territories were also being systematically liquidated. This was especially true of Jewish schools, where teachers and parents were "persuaded" to replace Yiddish by Russian. A few attempts at protesting this policy were firmly suppressed, as, for example, the arrest and later execution of the Soviet Yiddish writer Selik *Axelrod in Minsk. Many of the refugees from western Poland were arrested in the early months of the Soviet occupation and deported to camps in the Soviet interior. In the spring of 1941, mass arrests took place among Jews and non-Jews alike, primarily former businessmen, industrialists, and religious functionaries, as well as socialists, Zionists and Bundists. They were sent into exile or labor camps in northern Russia, where many of them died; for others, deportation turned out to be the means of survival, while the families they had left behind soon became the victims of the Nazi slaughter. It was clear that Soviet policy was designed to equate the social and cultural standard of the new areas, as quickly as possible, with that of the rest of the country. Any remaining contact between Soviet Jewry and the Jewish world beyond the borders was broken off. The Soviet press reported very little of the atrocities committed by its Nazi treaty partner, and made no mention at all of the persecution of the Jews. As a result, the Jews of the Soviet Union knew practically nothing of the fate of their brethren in the countries occupied by the Germans, and when the Soviet Union was invaded, they were mostly unprepared for what was to happen.

german invasion: 1941

In the first few weeks following June 22, 1941, the German invaders occupied most of the areas annexed by the Soviet Union in 1939 and 1940, including all of Belorussia and the greater part of the western Ukraine (as eastern Galicia had become). Vilna was taken on June 25, Minsk on June 28, Riga on July 1, Vitebsk and Zhitomir on July 9, and Kishinev on July 16. From most of the towns, the Jews attempted to flee to the Soviet interior, but were prevented from doing so either by the advancing German troops or by Soviet security forces who did not permit the crossing of the pre-1939 borders of the U.S.S.R. The Jews in the areas that were occupied by the Germans at a later date, such as Kiev (September 19) and Odessa (October 16), did in large measure succeed in escaping in time, either individually or within the organized evacuation of government employees, of functionaries of institutions, and of workers in factories. In the more remote areas occupied by the Germans, the majority of the Jewish inhabitants also managed to get away in time. The total Jewish population in the areas occupied by the Germans had been four million (spring 1941). Of these, about three million were murdered. The rest were saved in a variety of ways including prior deportation and evacuation together with non-Jews; drafting into the Red Army; and flight to the forests and joining the partisan units. Almost none of the Jews who remained in the cities and towns of the German-occupied territory survived the war. By the time of the German invasion of the U.S.S.R., the Nazi plan for the "*Final Solution" had been worked out. Here the Nazis felt none of the restraint which they had imposed upon themselves in Western Europe, since they were unconcerned by local reaction. The annihilation of the Jews proceeded at a rapid pace. The ghettos that were established proved to be only temporary collection points for the utilization of Jewish labor prior to destruction.

annihilation of the jews

The task of the systematic murder of the Jews was put in the hands of four specially created units called Einsatzgruppen, made up of 3,000 killers recruited from the *ss, the sd and the Gestapo. These units were assigned the job of following the German troops as they advanced into the Soviet Union, and ridding the occupied areas of all undesirable elements – political commissars, active Communists, and, above all, the Jews. Their task was explained to them in special training courses: to destroy the Ostjuden (Jews of Eastern Europe) who represented the "biological base" of the Jewish people all over the world and constituted the breeding ground of world Communism. Each unit was allotted a certain area of activity, and on completion of its task in one area, it was transferred to another. The units were commanded by high-ranking officers of the Gestapo, many of them well-educated men who had chosen the assignment because of its absence of personal danger and its high reward – a better salary, plus the valuables taken from the victims. Among these officers, there were some of the "finest" products of Nazi Germany. Nevertheless, they could not have carried out their task without assistance from various sources, foremost among them the German army, which supplied the Einsatzgruppen with personnel, transport and weapons. An order issued by Field Marshal Reichenau on Oct. 10, 1941, on the "Conduct of the Armed Forces in the Eastern Theater of Operations," explicitly called upon German troops to assist in the murder of Jews. Hitler described it as an "excellent" (ausgezeichnet) order and instructed all army commanders on the Soviet front to follow Reichenau's example.

Local antisemitic elements, too, participated in the slaughter of Jews, first by means of pogroms initiated of their own accord, especially in the Baltic states and later as members of special police units made up of Ukrainians, Belorussians, Latvians, Lithuanians, and Tatars, who collaborated in the extermination campaign. The Germans had a special interest in gaining the cooperation of the local populations, so that they became accomplices in the crimes being committed. One means by which they achieved this end was the distribution of Jewish houses and portions of Jewish property among gentile neighbors. The attitude of the local population to the Jews differed from one place to another. In the Baltic states and the Crimea, home of the Tatars, there were local elements who participated in the annihilation of Jews as effectively as the Nazis. In the Ukraine the number of Nazi collaborators, led by Ukrainian nationalists, was particularly large. On the other hand, the Belorussian and Russian population in the Nazi-occupied areas hated the Germans and were on the whole opposed to the mass murder of Jews. In a very few instances attempts were made to save Jews. One such effort was the work of the Metropolitan Sheptitski, head of the Uniate Church in the western Ukraine, who, with the help of monks belonging to his church, organized a network for saving Jews by hiding them in monasteries. A similar network of Polish and Lithuanian intellectuals and clerics operated in Vilna. However, prevailing conditions severely limited the scope of these efforts. The method by which the annihilation of the Jews was carried out by the Nazis differed from one place to another. In many instances the murders took place in the very beginning of the occupation. This was true of many cities and towns in the Baltic states, where local nationalists accused the Jews of having welcomed and supported the Soviet annexation. Often the Nazis used the murder of Jews to set an example for the local population and to intimidate them, or in revenge for operations carried out by the partisans. In Kiev 33,779 Jewish men, women, and children were murdered within two days (Sept. 29–30, 1941) in the *Babi Yar Valley, near the local Jewish cemetery, in response to the blowing up of German headquarters in the city. In Odessa, German and Romanian forces reacted similarly to the destruction of Romanian headquarters in the city, and 26,000 Jews were put to death during Oct. 23–26, 1941, many by hanging or burning. The killing in Odessa continued until the middle of the winter. In the Ukraine and Belorussia, the Nazis celebrated the anniversary of the Russian Revolution on Nov. 7, 1941, by mass killings of Jews. In the Soviet Union, the Nazis tried out new ways of murdering Jews. One such method was the use of closed vans, in which Jews were ostensibly being transported from one place to another, while in fact poison gas was forced into the vans, causing the immediate death of all the passengers. The most common method was to drive the Jews to the outskirts of the city and fire on them by rifles or machine guns in front of previously prepared ditches, pushing the victims into the ditches and covering the ditches with earth. Sometimes some of the victims were not dead, and were thus buried alive. In many instances, they had to remove their clothes before going to their deaths. Nazi leaders, among them A. *Eichmann, were frequent witnesses of these spectacles. Where the slaughter was not completed in the early days of the occupation, the Nazis established ghettos for the survivors, situated, as a rule, in the slum quarters of the town, where the Jews were concentrated in the worst conditions possible. A *Judenrat and a ghetto police force were appointed by the Nazis to run the ghetto. Some of those appointed showed courage and fortitude in carrying out the task that a bitter fate had decreed for them. In the majority of cases, however, working under the Nazis resulted in moral degeneration.

The Jews were forced to wear the yellow *badge and were not permitted to leave the confines of the ghetto, unless they were working for the Nazis outside. From time to time, the Nazis staged Aktionen designed to weed out the "useless" elements – invalids, old people and children. Those whose turn for death had not yet come were forced to work in German army workshops, road building and fortifications. Surviving Jews in places that were declared *judenrein were transferred to central ghettos, which also contained large numbers of Jews from Western Europe. The largest of these ghettos existed in Vilna, Bialystok, Kaunas, Riga, and Minsk (only the last belonging to the pre-1939 Soviet territory), and they remained in existence for almost the entire period of German occupation.

Most of the Jews from Bessarabia and northern Bukovina were deported to *Transnistria, the area beyond the Dniester that had been occupied by the Romanian army, where they suffered from starvation and disease and were put into forced labor. The enormity of the Nazi crimes was revealed while the war was still going on, as soon as the Soviet army began its westward advance, liberating occupied territories. Several of the Nazi murderers who fell into Soviet hands, and their collaborators among the local population, were put on trial. While at the start no attempt was made to conceal the Jewish identity of the victims, after a while the Soviet authorities and information media refrained from mentioning the anti-Jewish character of the crimes and described the victims as "Soviet citizens."

jewish resistance

Jewish resistance to the Nazi regime was manifested in two ways: the revolt in the ghettos, and participation in the partisan movement (see *Partisans).

There was a decided difference between the behavior of the Jews in the pre-1939 territory of the Soviet Union and the Jews in the recently incorporated areas. The former had been deprived by the Soviet regime of any form of Jewish organization and lacked any semblance of coherence as a national group. In their case the process of annihilation was swift and thorough and, with few exceptions (Minsk, Kopyls), these ghettos existed only for a few months or even weeks. In the newly annexed areas, such as the Baltic states, former eastern Poland, northern Bukovina, etc., the tradition of Jewish organization and self-contained Jewish life was still strong, and it took the Nazis much longer to wipe out the ghettos. The Jews maintained clandestine institutions for mutual help, and rendered assistance not only to the local Jewish population but also to the deportees who had been brought in from other places. In these ghettos, there were underground libraries, choirs, orchestras, and theater companies, as well as schools and synagogues. An underground press informed the ghetto population of developments on the front and events concerning Jews, and served to keep up morale. These activities were organized largely by the youth and by the few surviving intellectuals. A leading role was played by Zionist youth groups, who hoped for a future life in Ereẓ Israel, and by the Communists, who hoped for the victory of the Soviet army. In many of the ghettos, fighting organizations were created which collected arms in preparation for a ghetto revolt or for escape to join the partisans. The underground fighting groups in the large ghettos managed to maintain communications with each other and send messengers to the ghetto resistance movement headquarters in Warsaw. A major dilemma confronting the fighting ghetto youth was the choice between remaining in the ghetto to carry on the hopeless struggle there, or escaping to the woods to join the partisans. Generally, the policy of the ghetto leadership was to stay in the ghetto and carry on their miserable existence there, in the hope of "surviving them" (iberlebn zay); an open revolt would lead to drastic punishment and the immediate murder of large numbers of ghetto inmates. However, the resistance movements arrived at the conclusion that the Nazis aimed at the total extermination of all Jews. In their leaflets (in Vilna, Bialystok, and elsewhere) the resistance called on the Jews not to go "like sheep to the slaughter" but to defend themselves and take up weapons. The only recourse for the underground resistance movement was to stage a revolt of the ghetto as a whole just as it was about to be liquidated. An earlier flight to the woods meant abandoning the ghetto, and the families of the escapees, to their bitter fate.

Usually, however, the problem was resolved by the conditions created by the Nazis. In the summer of 1942, the Germans began the systematic liquidation of the ghettos in the provincial towns. In some of them revolts broke out, the ghetto inmates resisting their deportation, setting the ghetto houses on fire and making mass attempts to escape to the forests. *Nesvizh, *Mir, *Lachva, *Kletsk and *Kremenets were some of the places where ghetto revolts occurred. In August 1943, when the Nazis embarked upon the final liquidation of the *Bialystok ghetto, a revolt broke out there. There were no revolts in *Vilna and *Kaunas, but the Jewish underground encouraged the young people to flee to the forests and join the partisans. In Minsk the ghetto underground maintained close contact with the partisan units in the vicinity.

participation in the partisan movement

Jewish participation in the partisan movement, which encompassed large areas under German occupation, especially in Belorussia, Lithuania and Ukraine, was relatively small. The partisan movement was based in the forests and the villages in the forest area, consisting primarily of local people, such as peasants and shepherds. There was widespread antisemitism among the partisans, with many instances of partisans attacking Jews, robbing them of their goods, and even murdering them. The time factor was also against wide Jewish participation. The Soviet partisan movement gained its strength after June 1942 (date of the establishment of the central partisan headquarters), a period when most of Soviet Jews in the German-occupied territories had already been murdered. The non-Jewish partisan, as a rule, was an able-bodied person who had chosen to fight the Germans. Most of the Jews, however, who had fled to the forests, had no other choice, and brought with them a large number of old people, women, and children who were incapable of joining the fighting and whose security and sustenance were a heavy burden which the non-Jewish partisans were unwilling to bear. In general, Jews were received coolly by the partisans and frequently had to prove their ability and readiness to fight, as well as obtain their own weapons, before they were permitted to join the partisan ranks. Many Jews, especially in the Soviet interior, assumed non-Jewish names and posed as gentiles in order to join the partisans. The presence of antisemitic elements both in the partisan command and in the rank and file manifested itself in frequent executions of Jewish partisans for minor misdemeanors, for which their non-Jewish comrades were given a light punishment only. A change for the better occurred in the fall of 1942, when a partisan supreme headquarters was created in Moscow and political instructors sent to the partisan units to form them into a regular organized movement.

Groups of Jews, members of resistance movements or others who fled to the woods, tried to establish Jewish partisan units. Often they did not find any other partisans in the area when they arrived. Some of them formed "family camps" which housed complete families, as well as fighting units whose task it was to defend the camps against both the Germans and the non-Jewish partisan units. Examples of such family camps were the one headed by Tuvyah Belski, in the vicinity of *Novogrudok, where over 1,000 persons found refuge, most of whom were able to survive the war; a camp in the forests near Minsk, created by Shimon Zorin, which sheltered families and also served as a base for several fighting units; and various camps in the forests of western Belorussia, Lithuania, and Volhynia, among them the fighting unit headed by Jechezkiel *Atlas in the Slonim area, the "Jewish Unit" headed by M. Gildenman in the Volhynian forests, and the 51st Company of the Shchors Battalion in Polesie. When the Soviet command took over the partisan movement, it pressed for the disbandment of the Jewish units and the distribution of its members among the various other national partisan units. This policy was based on the territorial principle which called for the partisan units to symbolize the organic connection between the population of the district in which the partisan units were active and the Soviet Union. Jewish commanders were replaced and non-Jewish partisans were incorporated into the Jewish units, so that the units soon lost their Jewish character. Thus, there were units termed Ukrainian, Belorussian, and Lithuanian, even in cases when a substantial part of the unit strength was made up of Russians or, sometimes, of Jews (e.g., in Lithuania). Estimates of the number of Jews who were active in the partisan movement range from 10,000 to 20,000. About one third fell in the fighting with the Germans. When the areas in which they were active were liberated by the Soviet army, most of the Jewish partisans were drafted and joined the Soviet forces in their drive to Berlin. A substantial number of these erstwhile partisans made their way to Palestine when the war was over.

jews in the soviet army

Jewish soldiers played a leading role in the fighting units in those areas of the Soviet Union which were not occupied by the Germans. There was no question of where their loyalty lay: they were fighting for their lives, and for them, unlike Russians such as Vlasov and Ukrainians such as Bandera, treason was out of the question. It was known that Jewish soldiers in the Soviet army who were taken prisoner were executed at once by the Germans. About 500,000 Jews served in the Soviet army during the war, and approximately 200,000 fell in battle. In the Brest-Litovsk fortress, one of the organizers of the heroic resistance was a Jewish officer, Chaim Fomin. A similar role was played by another Jew, Arseni Arkin, who was the commissar of the Hango garrison, the advance position in the Gulf of Finland. The first Soviet squadron to bomb Berlin (August 1941) was commanded by Michael Plotkin, a Jew. In the battle for Moscow at the end of 1941, a Jewish brigadier (later general), Jacob *Kreiser, took a leading role. Many Jews were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union during that battle. Many Jews took part in the battle for Stalingrad, among them Kreiser; Lieutenant General Israel Baskin, an artillery commander; and the commander of the 62nd Armored Corps, M. Weinrub. At the fall of Stalingrad, Field Marshal von Paulus surrendered his pistol to a Jewish brigadier, Leonid Vinokur. A large proportion of Jews were also among the troops that spearheaded the Soviet drive into Germany. Among the 900 soldiers who were decorated Heroes of the Soviet Union for their part in the crossing of the Dnieper, 27 were Jews. Similarly, in the battle for Berlin many Jews took part in the fighting, among them Major General Hirsh Plaskov, artillery commander, and Lieutenant General Shimon Krivoshein, commander of the armored corps. Jews were heavily represented in the artillery units, armored corps, army engineers, and the air force. Their numbers were also particularly great in the medical corps, among them the surgeon general of the Soviet army, Major General M. Vofsi, later to be among the accused in the antisemitic "*Doctor's Plot" eight years after the war (see also below). Among many Jews serving in the navy were Rear Admiral Paul Trainin, who commanded the Kerch naval base, and submarine captains Israel Fisanovich and Shimon Bograd. A Jewish major general of the cavalry, Dovator, was among those who fell in the defense of Moscow. A total of 160,000 Jewish soldiers in the Soviet forces were decorated during the war, with the Jews thus taking fifth place among Soviet nationalities. The highest award, Hero of the Soviet Union, was granted to 145 Jews, among them David Dragunski, who was awarded it twice. Jewish women distinguished themselves as nurses, medical orderlies, radio operators, and even as snipers and pilots. Among the latter were Polina Gelman and Raisa Aronova, who became Heroes of the Soviet Union. A considerable number of Jewish writers took part in the fighting, and among those who fell in battle were S.N. *Godiner, A. *Gurshtein and Meir Wiener. Jews who were taken prisoner could save their lives only if they succeeded in hiding their Jewish identity. A Soviet prisoner-of-war underground movement in Germany, organized in 1943, was discovered by the Nazis and its members were executed. At the head of the movement was an officer named George Pasenko, whose real name, it later transpired, had been Joseph Feldman. The tendency among Jewish soldiers to hide their true identity also existed in the Soviet army itself, because of antisemitic elements. This situation facilitated the work of the antisemitic propagandists, especially in the rear, who argued that the Jews were not taking part in the war effort, and in the postwar years antisemitic groups continued to belittle the Jewish role in the defeat of Germany.

In the story of Jewish participation in the Soviet war effort, the Lithuanian division and Latvian units represent a special chapter. The Soviet government had a special interest in creating national Lithuanian and Latvian units in order to demonstrate that these countries had become an integral part of the U.S.S.R. The Lithuanian division was created in the northern Volga region in December 1941, but because the number of Lithuanians available was too small to fill its ranks, Russian-born Lithuanians and Lithuanian-born Russians were also drafted into the unit. But in its initial stage Jews comprised a majority in the division. Jews also accounted for a large part of the Latvian national units. When the Lithuanian division finally reached Lithuanian soil, the proportion of Jews had been reduced to one fifth. Four of the Jewish soldiers serving in this division were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. After the war, a considerable number of former members of the Lithuanian division managed to reach Palestine.

position of jews behind the front

Jews living behind the front underwent great suffering during the war. In addition to sharing the general fate of the population, many of them suffered special hardship, for the number of refugees among them was disproportionately large, and they lived under severe conditions in the towns and kolkhozes beyond the Volga and in Soviet Central Asia. A few refugees were allowed to join the Polish army under General Anders and were thus able to leave the Soviet Union. The Soviet authorities were suspicious of the Jewish refugees, especially the former Polish citizens among them. Even those who had formally become Soviet citizens, were, at the beginning, drafted into labor battalions only. A tragic example of this attitude was the execution by the Soviets of two former Polish Bund leaders, H. *Erlich and V. *Alter, in December 1941.

Latent antisemitism among the Soviet masses manifested itself overtly throughout the war. Its principal victims were the Jewish refugees, whom the local population regarded as competitors for the scarce food and shelter available. When in 1943–44 the Soviet army liberated the occupied areas, not only was the Holocaust of the Jewish communities revealed, but also the hatred of the Jews that the Nazis had successfully aroused and encouraged among the local population. This hatred was further intensified by the attempts of the few returning Jews to regain their houses and positions. In numerous instances, Jews who had survived the war and tried to reestablish themselves in their old homes were murdered by their erstwhile neighbors. Liberated Kiev was the scene of a pogrom in which a number of Jews lost their lives.

further information on the holocaust in russia

New archival material from the *Zentralestelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen at Ludwigsburg, which was previously not available, now makes it possible to give an account of the extermination of the Jews in the Nazi-occupied territory of the U.S.S.R.

The Jewish population of the U.S.S.R., within the frontiers of Sept. 17, 1939, was, according to the census of January 1939, 3,028,358, with the following breakdown: Ukraine 1,532,776, Belorussia 375,092; Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic 956,599; all other territories 200,000. Eighty percent of these Jews lived in the large industrial cities or in small towns which served as industrial and commercial centers for the surrounding villages.

The Nazi onslaught on June 22, 1941, and the rapid progress of the German army, took the Jews completely by surprise, as was the case with the Red Army command. As a result of the confusion and lost sense of direction, and because of transportation failures, heavy shelling, and the swift advance of German units (on June 26 they approached *Minsk and, by the middle of July, almost the whole of Belorussia and the greater part of the western Ukraine, with *Zhitomir, were occupied), it was practically impossible for Jews inhabiting Belorussia and the western Ukraine (on the right bank of the Dnieper) to escape. The number of Jews evacuated in an organized manner from the eastern Ukraine and the Russian Republic was, according to S. Schwartz, about 50 percent; according to reports by Einsatzgruppen, between 70 and 90 percent of the Jews escaped from some towns. They were evacuated with their plants and offices. There was practically no evacuation of Jews as such. Many of the Jews who had sought refuge in the *Crimea and the *Caucasus were subsequently murdered by the advancing Germans.

Many Jewish families did not even attempt to leave, as no one anticipated the Jewish extermination policy of the Nazis, since the Soviet press had adopted a friendly policy toward Nazi Germany, especially after the signing of the nonaggression pact, and it refrained from mentioning the persecution of Jews in occupied Europe.

At the outbreak of the war between Germany and the Soviet Union, the Nazi Government already had a carefully elaborated plan for the liquidation of Russian Jewry, and had prepared the material basis for implementing it. In March 1941, the organization of special units, the so-called Einsatzgruppen, began, with the aim of exterminating all Jews and Communists within the occupied territory of the U.S.S.R. Einsatzgruppen a, b, and c were directly subordinated to the *rsha commander. Each of them operated in the territory of one of the three fronts (Heeresgruppe), while Einsatzgruppe d operated in the territory of Manstein's 11th Army to the south. The Einsatzgruppen immediately followed the front-line units, made inquiries, and, in cooperation with auxiliary police troops (mainly Lithuanian and Ukrainian), carried out the first mass slaughter of the Jews.

To quote only one example, Einsatzgruppe c entered Zhitomir together with the first German tanks and, on September 19, 1941, the 4a Einsatzkommando of the same Einsatzgruppe C arrived in *Kiev; here, ten days later, along with troops led by a senior SS officer and the Sued ("South") police units, it organized the massacre of more than 33,000 Jews at *Babi Yar.

The *ss and senior police officers (Hoehere ss und Polizeifuehrer – hsspf) with their subordinated units were another organized force who, almost from the first day of the occupation, engaged in the liquidation of Jews under the guise of fighting the partisans. There were three such officers in the U.S.S.R.: Obergruppenfuehrer Hans Pruetzmann and Obergruppenfuehrer Franz Jeckeln, who alternately supervised the territories of the Baltic states and the northern part of the Russian Republic as hsspf-Nord and the Ukraine as hsspf-Sued, and hsspf-Mitte Obergruppenfuehrer Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski, who operated mainly in Belorussia.

The total number of Jews killed by the Einsatzgruppen and the troops of the hsspfs during the first period of the occupation (mainly in July and August 1941) is still unknown. Incomplete evidence shows that in August 1941 alone the hsspf-Sued units executed 44,125 people, most of them Jews, while the ss Kavallerie-Regiment 2, subordinated to the hsspf-Mitte, killed 6,526 Jews in the period between July 27 and August 11, 1941. A comment by the commander of the aforementioned unit, ss Sturmbannfuehrer Magill, bears witness to the German soldiers' bestiality. He reported that the operation had in general been carried out satisfactorily, despite the fact that the marshes were not deep enough to drown the women and children.

There was close cooperation between the German army and those who organized the extermination of the Jews. The Einsatzgruppen received supplies from military sources and were assisted by regular army units in liquidating the Jews. The army often asked the SD to exterminate Jewish communities in the territory within their control (Priluki, *Gadyach), or took a direct part in such operations. In the report of Einsatzgruppe A for the period between Oct. 16, 1941 and Jan. 31, 1942, for example, it is stated that "up to January 1942, about 19,000 partisans and criminals, primarily Jews, were killed by the Wehrmacht."

Following this first wave of massacres, which took place immediately after the entry of the German army, there was a period of organized liquidation. The preparatory stage was similar to that elsewhere in Nazi-occupied Europe and included legal discrimination, the tattooing of numbers, registration, humiliating forced labor, and concentration in camps and ghettos. One notable difference, however, was that in Russia this stage took only a short time – from a few weeks to a few months. Usually, the Jews were forbidden freedom of movement from the outset, or not allowed to associate with non-Jews or benefit from public services. The quantity and quality of goods sold to Jews were usually minimal, as were the hours of sale; in many cases, all shopping was made impossible for the Jews. They were ordered to wear distinguishing badges: in Belorussia it was usually a yellow circle or a yellow magen David ("shield of David") on the chest and back, and in the Ukraine, a yellow armband. The so-called "Jewish Committees" were established during that period, whose task it was to supply the Germans with manpower, collect contributions, and – mainly in the Ukraine – register the Jews as a first step toward their extermination.

The next step was the systematic slaughter of most young men of Jewish origin. In the large cities, those capable of military service were interned during the first days of the occupation; Jews were usually separated from the rest, and, as a rule, executed soon afterward (Minsk, Kiev). In the smaller towns, Jewish men were rounded up – ostensibly for forced labor, but in reality to be put to death. Jewish prisoners of war were as a rule shot immediately. There is eyewitness evidence of the mass slaughter of Jewish intellectuals at that time (Minsk, *Vitebsk, Vinnitsa).

In the majority of cases during the second month of the occupation closed ghettos were established in large Jewish communities and in district centers for the concentration of Jews in the whole area. It also happened that, where there were few Jews (as in Novo-Moskovsk or Baran), no ghettos were established, and the Jews were allowed to remain in their places of residence until they were exterminated.

Ghettos were usually located in those suburbs which had been most badly damaged, and in buildings unfit for human habitation – factories, barracks or warehouses (*Kharkov, Vitebsk). Those deported to the ghetto were permitted to take only hand luggage.

Since these ghettos were simply concentrations of Jews to be liquidated, they were often merely open areas surrounded by barbed wire (Smolevichi, *Gorodok, *Polotsk, Smolyany, Kletnya). Such ghetto-camps usually existed from several weeks to a few months. The Jews in the ghettos received no food as a rule, and the mortality rate there was very high, particularly during the severe winter of 1941.

The liquidation of the newly-established ghettos began as early as the autumn of 1941. Of the 18 known ghettos in Belorussia, nine were liquidated by the end of 1941, six of them in October. In the Ukraine, too, most of the Jews had been put to death by the end of 1941. Out of the 70 known Jewish communities in the Ukraine (including the Crimea), 43 were liquidated by the end of 1941, and the remainder were also rendered judenrein by mid-1942. For the Germans themselves, the "Jewish question" in the Ostland (including the Baltic states and Belorussia) had virtually found a solution. In the Ukraine, the "Jewish question" ceased to exist by August 1942.

In 1943, Jews were still to be found only in a few ghettos (those of Minsk, *Slutsk, and *Khmelnik) and a very few labor camps, but they were liquidated by the end of the year. In the Crimea and the Caucasus, and probably also in the southeastern Ukraine, practically no ghettos were set up. Jews were liquidated there almost immediately after the occupation of the region, and the German orders followed one after another; first, the establishment of the Jewish Committee, then registration, badges, and finally "evacuation," which meant death. Such was the fate of the Jews of *Simferopol, *Yevpatoriya, *Feodosiya, *Kerch, *Rostov, *Krasnodar, Kislovodsk, and other towns. As a rule, the Ashkenazi Jews were liquidated first, and then the Crimean Jews (Krimchaks).

The executions were usually organized by the Einsatzgruppen. The ghetto was surrounded by the German police, assisted by auxiliary forces of the local police and frequently by the Wehrmacht. The Jews, who believed they were being evacuated, were rounded up in public squares and taken in trucks or driven on foot to the place of execution. In front of the graves, prepared beforehand, by the local population or, more often, by Soviet prisoners of war, the victims were ordered to strip naked or remain in their underwear, stood in groups at the edge of the graves, or pushed inside them and told to lie down, after which they were machine-gunned. The executions were carried out by both Germans and their local assistants. Fresh victims were laid on the corpses and the process continued until the grave was full. To make their work easier, the executioners sometimes rendered their victims unconscious by hitting them on the head. During an operation in Vitebsk in October 1941, Jews were reportedly shot on the bridge over the Dvina, and their bodies thrown into the river. At *Artemovsk, some of the Jews were shot dead, and others immured alive in the marbleworks. In some cases, Jews were made to run over a minefield or killed with grenades (Kharkov, *Mogilev). In the Crimea, the method most widely adopted was to shoot Jews over wells into which their bodies were subsequently thrown. In certain communities (Minsk, Kharkov, Krasnodar), Jews were killed in special gas trucks. The Germans and their associates treated children with particular barbarity: their backs were broken, or they were poisoned or stabbed to death, or their heads were smashed against stones. Many children were thrown into graves or wells while still alive.

Executions of Jews usually took place in forests, ravines or isolated places near their places of residence. It can be said that almost every town in the territory in question had its own "Babi Yar." To mention but a few, at Mogilev it was Polikovichi; at Vitebsk, Ilovskiy Yar; at Pskov, Solotopki; at *Smolensk, Mogalenshchina.

In June 1942, *Himmler had already given orders that all traces of the activity of Einsatzgruppen in the East be removed. Paul Blobel, head of the Sonderkommando 4a, was charged with the task, He organized Kommando 1005 to unearth the corpses from the mass graves and burn them. It seems, however, that this obliteration of the traces did not become a mass operation before the autumn of 1942.

It is difficult to estimate how many Jews were massacred by the Nazis in the U.S.S.R. Only fragmentary data are extant, mostly according to the documentation of the Zentrale Stelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen at Ludwigsburg, which give the number of Jews killed as 573,000, This figure, however, applies only to those put to death in the later period of German occupation (approximately after September 1941), and does not take account of the very large number of massacres in July and August of that year. Moreover, that figure applies only to a small number of townships and settlements, of which there were about 130 in occupied Soviet territory within Russia's 1939 frontiers. Nothing is known of the fate of Jews inhabiting the provinces as a whole; some data are available concerning individual communities, such as the districts of *Cherkassy, Sumy and Voroshilovgrad. There is also information to the effect that 6,150 Jews were killed in the *Nikolayev and *Kherson regions. Even where the number of victims from certain communities is known, the evidence tends to be incomplete or inaccurate, since it is either confined to limited periods or else gives the total number of Jewish and non-Jewish victims together.

It can be assumed, however, that the actual number of Jewish victims in the occupied territory of the U.S.S.R. was at least twice the figure cited above, i.e., more than 1,000,000.

[Vila Orbach]

destruction of yiddish culture

Soviet Yiddish culture, itself a pale reflection of genuine Jewish culture which had suffered serious setbacks in the prewar purges, was totally jeopardized when the war broke out. The Yiddish press and Yiddish literature, based primarily in the Ukraine, Belorussia, and Lithuania, ceased to exist. The annihilation of the Jewish population was accompanied by the destruction of the remaining Jewish schools, libraries, and other cultural institutions. While in 1940 some 360 Yiddish books were published in the Soviet Union, by 1942 the number had dwindled to one. There was some improvement in 1943, after the Emes publishing house had moved to Kuibyshev, issuing 43 Yiddish books that year. The creation of the Jewish *Anti-Fascist Committee also had a favorable effect upon the modest revival of Yiddish publications. In June 1942 the committee embarked upon the publication of its own organ, *Eynikayt, which attracted a group of Soviet Yiddish writers, led by David *Bergelson and Itzik *Fefer. Although the main purpose of the committee was to solicit political and financial support among world Jewry for the Soviet war against the Germans, it also became, unofficially, a representative body of Soviet Jewry until its dissolution in 1948. It soon became clear, however, that the Soviet Union had no intention of permitting a postwar revival of Yiddish schools and the Yiddish press. The millions of Jews for whom Yiddish had been their mother tongue – in the Ukraine, Belorussia, Lithuania, and Bessarabia – were no longer alive. The majority of the surviving Jews spoke Russian. There were over two million of them, and the Soviet authorities sought to bring about their complete assimilation.

Contemporary Period

With the close of the war, Jews of Polish citizenship, including many previous inhabitants of territories annexed by the Soviet Union between 1939 and 1940, began to leave the Soviet Union. Groups of Soviet Jews, including Chabad Ḥasidim, who had preserved their religious distinctiveness throughout the years of the Soviet regime, succeeded in leaving and large numbers of these emigrants found their way to Palestine. During the early postwar period, those active in Soviet-Jewish culture attempted to effect a revival. The Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee (see above) continued to serve as a center for Soviet Jewry and as a liaison with Jews in other countries. Large-scale publication of Yiddish books was initiated, the Jewish State Theater expanded its activity, and three other theaters functioned in Minsk, Odessa, and Chernovtsy. Rumors of the impending settlement of survivors of the Holocaust in the Crimea, and the conversion of the peninsula into a "Jewish Republic," spread among the Jews. The Jewish endeavor in Birobidzhan was also renewed, and many Jews tried to settle there. News of the establishment of the state of Israel, with Soviet endorsement and support, infused new life into wide sectors of Soviet Jewry. Eynikayt referred to a world Jewish conference in which Soviet Jews would also be represented.

stalin's persecutions

Suddenly, however, the climate reversed completely and nightmarish days filled with fear overtook Soviet Jewry. In January 1948 S. Mikhoels was reported killed in an "accident" in Minsk, but was actually assassinated by the secret police; in November 1948 the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee was dissolved and those associated with it were arrested; Soviet newspapers conducted a vicious campaign against *"cosmopolitans" that was directed primarily at the Jewish intelligentsia. Twenty-five leaders of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, including some of the outstanding Jewish writers, were accused of maintaining ties with Zionism and with American "imperialism." The "Crimea project" was leveled against them as an "imperialist plot" to detach the Crimea from the U.S.S.R. and they were executed secretly on Aug. 12, 1952. On Jan. 13, 1953, the government announced the arrest of a group of prominent doctors, the majority of them Jews, who were accused of, and who purportedly admitted to, having deliberately killed government leaders and conspired to kill still others by incorrect medical treatment. A wave of antisemitism spread through the country. Jews were ousted from their positions, and rumors of an impending mass deportation of Jews to distant regions in the eastern Soviet Union began to circulate. This nightmare persisted for about five years until March 1953, when Stalin's death brought some relief.

after stalin's death

The "thaw" that followed Stalin's death, however, did not noticeably affect the fundamental conditions of Soviet Jewish life. Although the Jewish doctors were released from prison and the campaign against "cosmopolitans" ceased, Jewish institutional life, destroyed between 1948 and 1953, was not restored. Two new factors now began to affect the fate of Soviet Jews. First, in the wake of the post-Stalin thaw, postal communication with relatives in the West and in Israel was revived, and there was a stream of Jewish visitors from abroad to the Soviet Union. Direct contact with world Jewry was renewed to a degree, and Jewish public opinion in the West began to demand the restoration of rights to the Jews as a national and religious minority. Even Jewish Communists in Western Europe and the United States protested the obliteration of Jewish culture in the U.S.S.R., and the Soviet government was compelled to make several concessions to this public pressure. The second factor was the establishment of the State of Israel, which reawakened Jewish national sentiment that found expression in spontaneous mass demonstrations on occasions such as the arrival of Golda *Meir, Israel's first diplomatic representative to the Soviet Union, in Moscow, and the visit of an Israeli youth delegation to the Democratic Youth Festival in Moscow in the summer of 1957. National sentiment was also manifested by increasing mass gatherings of young, mostly nonreligious, Jews in and around the synagogues in Moscow and other large cities on *Simḥat Torah and on the High Holidays.

In 1970 Soviet Jews were still denied the right to organize in any way or to express freely their thoughts and feelings as Jews. For many years, sources attesting the situation of Soviet Jewry consisted of incidental items of information interspersed in the Soviet press and world news agencies and of stories brought back by diplomats, visitors and tourists. More information became available in the mid-1960s and the years 1968–71, when a number of Soviet Jews arrived in Israel in the framework of the reunification of families.

the censuses of 1959 and 1970

In the Soviet population census of 1959, 2,267,814 persons were registered as of "Jewish nationality" (the census takers did not demand to see any personal document and were instructed to register the oral declarations given by citizens). According to the census, the Jewish population constituted 1.09 percent of the total population of the country and was eleventh among over 100 Soviet nationalities. The 5,727 Karaites in the Soviet Union were counted separately. (See Table: Jewish Population of the Soviet Union by Republics, 1959.)

Soviet Jewry was revealed as distinctly urban: in 1959, 2,159,702 Jews registered in cities and constituted 2.16 percent

Republic Jews Percent distribution of Jews Percent of Jews among general population
Total2,267,800100.01.09
Russia875,30038.70.74
Ukraine840,30037.02.01
Belorussia150,1006.61.86
Lithuania24,7001.10.91
Latvia36,6001.61.75
Estonia5,4000.20.46
Moldavia95,1004.23.30
Georgia51,6002.31.28
Armenia1,0000.00.06
Azerbaijan40,2001.81.09
Kazakhstan28,0001.20.30
Turkmenia4,1000.20.27
Uzbekistan94,3004.21.16
Tadzhikistan12,4000.50.63
Kirghizia8,6000.40.42

of the total population. Only 108,112 Jews (4.7 percent of the total Jewish population) lived in villages. Detailed Jewish population figures were published only in respect to the capitals of the republics (for more correct estimates, see articles on individual cities).

Large Jewish communities of 10,000 persons and over existed in such cities as Odessa (well over 100,000), Kharkov (about 80,000), Dnepropetrovsk (about 35,000), Lvov, Chernovtsy, Zhitomir, Gomel, Vinnitsa, Rostov, Gorki, Kuibyshev, Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk, Vitebsk, Bobruisk, and Mogilev. According to other estimates, approximately 60 cities in the Soviet Union had a Jewish population exceeding 10,000. (See Table: Jewish Population in Capitals of the Republics in 1959.) Like the general demographic situation in the Soviet Union, as a result of the high proportion of wartime male fatalities, Jewish women outnumbered men with about 120 women per 100 men (a total of 206,556 more women than men).

Number of Jews % of total population
1 In all other republics, the number of Jews was included under "other nationalities" in the census figures published in April 1971.
Moscow239,2464.7
Leningrad162,3445.6
Kiev153,46613.9
Tashkent50,4555.5
Kishinev42,93420.0
Minsk38,8427.6
Riga30,2635.0
Baku26,2634.1
Tbilisi (Tiflis)17,3112.5
Vilna16,3546.9

According to the 1959 census, a total of 1,733,183 Jews (76.4 percent) declared Russian as their mother tongue; 46,845 declared other foreign languages (half of this number declared Ukrainian); 403,900 (about 18 percent) declared Yiddish; 35,673 Georgian (Georgian Jews); 25,225 Jewish Tat (*Mountain Jews); and 20,763 Tajiki (Bukharan Jews). It may well be assumed that a considerable number of Jews whose real mother tongue was Yiddish declared Russian as their national language; at the same time there were Jews who declared Yiddish as their mother tongue without really knowing it, in order to demonstrate their identification with the Jewish people. The highest percentage of Yiddish-speaking Jews was found in Lithuania (69 percent), Moldavia (50.3 percent), and Latvia (48 percent).

The census data indicate several facts: hundreds of thousands of Soviet Jews declared themselves to be of non-Jewish nationalities; the majority of Russian-speaking Jews declared their attachment to the Jewish people ("nationality"), among them certainly the vast majority of its younger generation; Yiddish-speaking Jews, of whom there were approximately 500,000, were mostly members of the older generation and inhabitants of the western regions of the Soviet Union (Lithuania, Latvia, Moldavia, the districts of Chernovtsy, Lvov, Volhynia, western Belorussia); there were Oriental (i.e., non-Ashkenazi) Jews, who, according to the census, numbered about 100,000, belonging to the Georgian, Tat, and Bukharan communities. The latter preserved their Jewish way of life, maintained traditional family life and ties with the Jewish community and synagogues, and observed the dietary laws and the Sabbath to a far greater extent than did Ashkenazi Jews.

On April 17, 1971, the Soviet press published the first summaries of the population census taken on Jan. 15, 1970. According to the figures quoted, the Jewish population had fallen from eleventh (1959) to twelfth in size and the overall number of Jews had declined from about 2,268,000 (January 1959) to 2,151,000. Whereas in the previous census, 21.5 percent of the Jews declared a Jewish language (almost exclusively Yiddish) to be their native tongue, in 1970 only 17.7 percent declared this to be so, and in respect to declaring their national language as their native tongue, the Jews were last in the rank of nationalities. In this census, for the first time, the subjects were asked whether they were fluent in another one of the languages spoken in the Soviet Union; 16.3 percent of the Jews indicated Russian as their second fluent language, and 28.8 percent indicated another Soviet language as their second fluent language. (According to the summary of the census, about 13,000,000 non-Russians declared Russian as their native tongue and 41,900,000 as the second language in which they were fluent.)

The Jews were the only major nationality in the U.S.S.R. whose overall size had diminished since 1959. In the U.S.S.R. the status of the Jew as such (as of each member of any nationality group) is indicated on his identity card (referred to in Russian as a "passport"). However, since the census figures were gathered through the subject's personal declaration, without checking of official documents, a differentiation is made by experts between "passport Jews" and "census Jews," whereby it is generally assumed that the number of passport Jews is much greater than the number of Jews reflected in the census because many Jews may have declared themselves to be members of another nationality to the census taker. Whether the decline in the number of census Jews in 1970 also indicates an equal or concomitant number of passport Jews in the U.S.S.R. was unknown.

1959 1970 1979 19911
Jewish Population % of general Population Jewish Population % of general Population Jewish Population Jewish Population
1 Estimate for year end
2 Includes Armenian Republic
Russian Republic (RSFSR)875,3000.7808,0000.6700,700430,000
Ukrainian Republic840,3002.0777,0001.6634,200325,000
Belorussian Republic150,1001.9148,0001.6135,40058,000
Uzbek Republic94,3001.2103,0000.999,90055,500
Georgian Republic51,6001.355,0001.228,30020,700
Lithuanian Republic24,7000.924,0000.814,7007,300
Moldavian Republic95,1003.398,0002.780,10028,500
Latvian Republic36,6001.737,0001.628,30015,800
Estonian Republic5,4000.55,3000.45,0003,500
Armenian Republic1,0000.061,000300
Azerbaijan Republic40,2001.141,3000.835,50016,000
Turkmenian Republic4,1000.25,40020.122,8002,000
Kazakhstan Republic28,0000.327,6000.223,50015,300
Kirghizian Republic8,6000.47,7000.36,9003,900
Tadzhikistan Republic12,4000.614,6000.514,7008,200

The 1959 census showed that Jews played a negligible role in Soviet agriculture. Most of the 100,000 Jews living in rural areas were officials or experts and belonged to the officialdom of the sovkhozes and the kolkhozes. Few Jews were counted in the villages of the areas previously settled by Jewish farmers: 2,765 in the Crimean district; 881 in Kherson; and 2,292 in Birobidzhan. On the other hand, Jews occupied prominent positions among the Soviet intelligentsia. In the 1960–61 academic year, 77,177 Jewish high school students were accounted for (3.22 percent of the general student body and three times their proportion to the general population, although not exceeding their proportion to the urban population). Among "those with a secondary and higher education" (a term which encompasses doctors, officials, bookkeepers, engineers, and so on), there were 427,000 Jews at the end of 1960, i.e., 4.9 percent of this entire class. This was the predominant class among Soviet Jews. They held a notable place also among "scientific workers" (36,173 in 1961, 9 percent of the total number). This group enjoys numerous privileges and shares in the awards and marks of distinction customarily granted to such categories under Soviet rule. In 1962 the Jewish physicist Lev *Landau was awarded the Nobel Prize. Similarly, Jews constitute about 10 percent of Soviet writers and represent a higher proportion in the other arts.

The Jewish role in the state commercial establishment was considerable. In the early 1960s, during the regime of Nikita Khrushchev, when the government initiated a fierce campaign against widespread illegal economic practices, including illegal production and marketing of scarce consumer goods as well as bribery and embezzlement, Jews were deliberately singled out for punishment. The campaign was entrusted to the secret police according to new, very harsh decrees, including the death penalty. Jews constituted such a high proportion of those sentenced to death or long periods of imprisonment that disinterested investigations (such as that of the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva) affirmed that Jews served as scapegoats to deter the rest of the population, probably because the latter might have rebelled and reacted strongly to direct attack by the authorities.

It is safe to assume that many Jews were engaged in work in cooperatives and government projects. Similarly, a limited class of Jewish industrial workers existed. On the whole, however, Jewish youth turned to the ranks of the intelligentsia and the educated officialdom, a phenomenon serving to intensify antisemitic tendencies among the masses and in sectors of the intelligentsia as well. Increasingly prevalent complaints about Jewish "evasion of manual labor," or their obligation to make room for members of other national groups in the professions, were being heard every so often even from members of the government.

repression of jewish culture

Soviet policy was intent on accelerating the process of Jewish assimilation, and manifestations of religious culture on the part of Jews were suppressed or, under optimum conditions, barely tolerated. The pressure exerted upon other religions was in no way comparable to the persecution directed against Judaism. Synagogues were increasingly shut down (according to Soviet sources, between 1956 and 1963 the number of synagogues decreased from 450 to 96). There was no countrywide Jewish religious organization parallel to those of other religions. Jewish religious books were not printed (the 3,000-copy photostat edition of a prayer book, Siddur ha-Shalom, in 1957, was a much-publicized exception; although a new edition of it was published at the end of the 1960s, there were no indications that it was circulated). The baking of matzah was gradually proscribed in the 1960s, but was later permitted on a limited scale through the synagogues; attempts by Jews outside the U.S.S.R. to send matzah to their coreligionists were for the most part thwarted by the authorities. A crude campaign of slander was waged in books, pamphlets, and periodicals against the Jewish religion, and its adherents were not permitted to answer those who abused it.

Ostensibly, the distinctive suppression of the Jewish religion was due to its unique national character and its ties with Israel. The effect of the establishment of the State of Israel and its progress and achievements, together with Jewish national awakening, disturbed the Soviet government. Official propaganda frequently presented horrifying descriptions of conditions in Israel. A delegation of Jewish propaganda agents posing as Jewish "tourists" was sent to Israel in 1959; upon its return to the U.S.S.R. it maligned Israel before the Soviet public and the Jewish community. Propaganda of this type, however, did not attain its objectives. News of Israel and Jewish life abroad steadily reached Soviet Jewry in various ways, including broadcasts from Israel and other countries, and the antisemitism which infiltrated many parts of Soviet society awakened in the younger Jewish generation an increased Jewish national consciousness and a strong desire to settle in Israel and to strengthen their ties with the Jewish people and the Jewish state.

During the period of "thaw" and destalinization, Soviet Jewish culture was not allowed to revive. Yiddish schools did not exist. In the wake of public pressure outside the U.S.S.R., a token gesture was made by publishing some works in Yiddish, mostly by classical Yiddish writers. In the summer of 1961, a literary bimonthly (later a monthly), *Sovetish Heymland, began to appear; it became a sort of "official address" of Soviet Jewry. In addition, works by Jewish writers were published in Russian and other translations and a commemorative stamp was issued on the centennial of Shalom Aleichem's birth. Concerts of Yiddish folklore, music, and song, and even theater performances by amateur groups, attracted masses of Jews and kindled enthusiasm within the culture-thirsty Jewish community.

manifestations of antisemitism

Antisemitism remained officially proscribed in the Soviet Union, but hatred of Jews existed and expressed itself de facto in most levels of society and administration. From time to time, it found expression

in violent outbursts (such as the riots in Malakhovka in October 1959 and the blood libels in Tashkent, Vilna, etc.), literary controversies (such as the reaction to Yevgeni *Yevtushenko's poem "Babi Yar"), antisemitic articles in the press (the pinnacle was reached with a blood libel article in August 1960 in the newspaper Kommunist of the city of Buinaksk in Dagestan), and journals and books (such as Judaism without Embellishment by T.K. Kichko, published by the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, 1963). A deep distrust of the Jews pervaded the atmosphere in the Soviet Union. Jews were considered an alien element bound by family, historical, and spiritual bonds to the state of Israel and to Jews in the United States and other countries. They were strictly barred from the higher echelons of the ruling Communist Party, from the foreign service and senior military command; similarly, their proportion among elected representatives to the central and local Soviets has diminished, and clandestine police supervision has been imposed on the synagogues and on individuals meeting with visiting Jews from abroad.

In 1965 a slight shift was noted in Soviet policy on Jewish emigration within the framework of "reunification of families" and several hundred Jewish families were allowed to emigrate to Israel. The *Six-Day War (June 1967), however, and the subsequent severing of diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and Israel, brought this emigration to a standstill, though it was to a certain extent renewed at the end of 1968. After that, a frenzied wave of anti-Israel and anti-Zionist incitement, unparalleled in the depth and extent of its hatred, was unleashed in the press, in other mass media, and in all diplomatic and propaganda channels, evolving almost into a blatant campaign of hatred against the Jewish people and the State of Israel. It found expression in the publication of thousands of articles and scores of books. Israel was labeled a "Nazi" state and Zionism defined as the "worst enemy of mankind," a kind of powerful, secret international Mafia which had unlimited funds at its disposal and carried on subversive activities throughout the world, primarily in Communist-bloc countries.

This unbridled incitement served to intensify, both directly and indirectly, the anti-Jewish sentiments of the masses. On the other hand, it greatly stimulated and strengthened national Jewish consciousness among many Soviet Jewish youth, as well as whole communities. Jews of Georgia, for example, felt the need to give practical expression to their national feelings by waging an active struggle to emigrate to Israel.

pressure for immigration to israel

Tens of thousands of Jews applied for exit permits to go to Israel, but only a few of them achieved their aim. In consequence, hundreds of Jews, many of them of the younger generation and in the large cities, began to voice their protests against being denied the right to emigrate to Israel by sending letters and petitions addressed to the Soviet leaders, the un secretary-general and its Human Rights Commission, the government of Israel, and even to the Communist parties in the West. Young Jews organized themselves to study Hebrew, calling these courses ulpanim, and many of them openly celebrated Israel's Day of Independence. There were some reports that young Jews were increasingly refraining from marrying gentiles, because "mixed marriages" were often an obstacle to leaving the U.S.S.R. for Israel. Various measures of the Soviet authorities to curb the mass revival of these "neo-Zionist" feelings, as, for example, imposing exorbitant fees on exit permits, depriving those leaving for Israel of Soviet citizenship, and even arresting groups of so-called "Zionist activists" (1970), did not deter the mounting Israel-oriented movement among Soviet Jews.

A particularly dramatic episode was the December 1970 trial of a group of Jews (mostly from Riga) in a Leningrad court, accused of having plotted to hijack a Soviet airplane in order to leave the U.S.S.R. and reach Israel. The very harsh sentences imposed on them, including two death sentences, aroused a worldwide outcry of protest in most non-Communist countries, from Jews and non-Jews alike, including heads of state, governments, members of parliament, men of letters, scientists, and left-wing intellectuals. The death sentences were quickly commuted and the other sentences reduced. Shortly thereafter groups of Soviet Jews staged protest demonstrations, demanding permission to go to Israel, in the offices of the Supreme Soviet, the Communist Party headquarters, and the Ministry of the Interior in Moscow.

Also worthy of mention was the prominent role played by members of the Jewish intelligentsia in the struggle of the so-called "democratic movement," headed by a small number of Soviet scientists and writers, to preserve adherence to the letter and spirit of the law and the safeguarding of human rights.

See also "The Struggle for Soviet Jewry," below; *Antisemitism: In the Soviet Bloc; *Assimilation: In the Soviet Union.

[Yehuda Slutsky]

Relations with Israel

soviet support (1947)

The first public announcement of Soviet support for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine was made by Andrei Gromyko, deputy foreign minister and head of the Soviet delegation to the United Nations, on May 14, 1947, at the First Special Session of the General Assembly. He dwelt on the urgency of the Palestine problem, on the sufferings of the Jewish people during the war, and the hundreds of thousands of survivors who were wandering about in various countries of Europe. Dismissing any unilateral solution as unjust, Gromyko expressed his government's preference for the establishment of "an independent, dual, democratic, Arab-Jewish State." If this plan proved impracticable, because of the deterioration in relations between the Jews and the Arabs, it would be necessary to consider "the partition of Palestine into two independent states, one Jewish and one Arab."

There was an earlier intimation of a possible change in the traditional negative Soviet attitude toward Zionism, when, on May 3, 1947, the Soviet delegation supported the Jewish Agency's demand to be heard at the Assembly as the representative of the Jewish population of Palestine. Nevertheless, the above-mentioned speech came as a complete surprise, and was regarded as a decisive turning point in Soviet policy.

This had been preceded by contacts established between Zionist leaders and Soviet representatives in various capitals after the U.S.S.R.'s entry into the war against Germany in 1941. During the war there were also visits of Soviet diplomats to Palestine, during which they expressed appreciation for the achievements of the yishuv. In March 1945, Zionist leaders were informed by the White House that Stalin, *Roosevelt, and *Churchill had agreed to hand over Palestine to the Jews. These developments, however, had not been widely known, and were followed, and seemingly contradicted, by over two years of evasiveness on the Palestine issue accompanied by a number of pronouncements opposing the Zionist position on Palestine's political future. The U.S.S.R. was vitally interested in the British withdrawal from Palestine and, indeed, the entire Middle East, and apparently believed this could be achieved by the establishment of a Jewish state. It was therefore in the Soviet interest to support the idea of partitioning the country. At the regular session of the General Assembly in the fall of 1947, the Soviet Union joined forces with the United States, and the two great powers voted for partition on Nov. 29, 1947.

[Yaacov Ro'i]

soviet policy in the middle east

However, apart from the favorable attitude displayed by the U.S.S.R. at the 1947–48 debates and votes at the un, and its initial friendliness to the emerging state, relations between the two countries steadily deteriorated. Support for the Jewish state, as expressed by Gromyko in 1947, underwent a gradual, yet drastic, transformation which in June 1967 (at the end of the Six-Day War) resulted in the complete rupture of diplomatic ties and an all-out Soviet diplomatic and propaganda campaign against Israel. The reasons for this deterioration are to be found in Soviet foreign and domestic aims and the tactics employed to achieve them.

Soviet policy in the Middle East was based on a combination of three factors. The first was the traditional Russian objective (initiated by the czars) of achieving a position of power in the Middle East by gaining a foothold in the area, dislodging its great-power adversaries and then establishing broad, if not exclusive, influence there. The second, an "ideological" factor, was the role played by the U.S.S.R. as the leader of the Communist world and as protagonist in the "anti-imperialist," anti-Western, struggle. Finally, there was the "Jewish problem" within the U.S.S.R. and Soviet opposition to the idea that Israel might provide a possible solution. In spite of the glaring contradiction between the Soviet attitude in 1947 and the policy pursued in 1967, the basic aims did not alter. In 1947 the Soviet Union sought to further its ends by support of Israel; in 1967 it resorted to outright hostility toward Israel in order to achieve its purpose.

The development of Soviet-Israel relations falls into six distinct periods.

1947–beginning of 1949

In the "honeymoon" period of Soviet-Israel relations between 1947 and the beginning of 1949, the U.S.S.R. campaigned at the un for the establishment of a Jewish state in a part of Palestine and cooperated with the Jewish Agency and the yishuv in order to achieve this goal. Official Soviet spokesmen and the Soviet press supported the armed struggle of the yishuv and branded Arab armed resistance to the establishment of the state as a function of British imperialism. When the establishment of the state was declared, the Soviet Union was the first to accord it de jure recognition and to appoint a minister to Israel. It provided Israel with arms (by way of Czechoslovakia) and economic assistance (by way of Poland), and permitted large-scale emigration of Jews to Israel from all countries of Eastern Europe, except from the Soviet Union itself. The fact that the military and economic assistance was supplied indirectly, rather than directly from the Soviet Union, was not, at the time, regarded as having any negative connotation. It should be borne in mind that even at this stage when Arab nationalism derived its main support from Britain, the Soviet Union's principal adversary in the area, the U.S.S.R. emphasized its intention to become a source of support and protection to the Arabs. Thus, in a speech made on Nov. 26, 1947 – only three days before the partition resolution was to be passed – Gromyko assured the Arabs that the Soviet Union would continue to support their efforts "to rid themselves of the last fetters of colonial dependence," and expressed his conviction that in spite of their momentary misgivings, the Arabs and the Arab states "will still, on more than one occasion, be looking toward Moscow."

The purpose of Soviet pro-Israel policy at this time was clearly outlined in The Palestine Problem, a booklet by J.A. Genin, published in Moscow in October 1948. Stressing the importance of Palestine for British economic interests, the author states that "the loss of Palestine will be a terrible blow to the British oil magnates. British departure from Palestine will be a severe defeat for British colonial interests, and its effects will not be confined to the Middle East. Britain will lose an important link in the chain of Middle Eastern countries dependent upon her, and her route from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf will be cut off." The Soviet Union also found it necessary to dispel at once any illusion that many Soviet Jews may have had about their future relations with Israel. Some Jews had asked for permission to go to Israel and join the ranks of the Israeli army, and a mass demonstration outside the Great Synagogue in Moscow had welcomed Golda Meir, the first Israeli minister to the Soviet Union. This was not to be tolerated. An article by Ilya *Ehrenburg, published in Pravda on Sept. 21, 1948, made it clear that Soviet Jews should have nothing to do with Israel, a foreign and remote capitalist state: "Soviet Jews do not look to the Near East; they look to the future."

1949–1953

Between 1949 and 1953, when the Cold War was at its height and Stalin sought to make the Soviet Union impregnable to any influence from without, relations with Israel took a turn for the worse. There was open antisemitism in the Soviet bloc culminating, in the last days of Stalin, in the "Doctors' Plot," and the *Slansky trial in Prague, where the Israel minister was declared persona non grata. At the un, the Soviet Union no longer gave Israel its support. When Israel complained to the Security Council about the Egyptian blockade of the Suez Canal, the Soviet Union abstained on the resolution put before the council. The Soviet Union refused an Israeli request for technical aid, and emigration to Israel from all countries of Eastern Europe came to an end. Only economic ties were not seriously affected. Finally, in February 1953, about a month before Stalin's death, a bomb that exploded in the courtyard of the Soviet embassy in Tel Aviv served the U.S.S.R. as a pretext for breaking off diplomatic relations with Israel.

1953–1956

In July 1953 diplomatic ties between the two countries were resumed and there was a slight improvement in the tone of diplomatic exchanges and of Soviet press commentary on Israel. In essence, however, there was no real halt to the deterioration of the Soviet attitude on Israel. On Jan. 22, 1954, the U.S.S.R. cast its first anti-Israel veto at the un Security Council. On Jan. 9, 1956, the Soviet delegation even took the initiative of proposing an anti-Israel resolution at the Security Council.

1956–1963

Subsequently the U.S.S.R. adopted a policy of open and one-sided support of Arab bellicosity against Israel. In the fall of 1955 the Soviet Union concluded an arms agreement with Egypt (officially it was Czechoslovakia that supplied the arms). Relations with Israel reached a new low in 1956 when, in the wake of the *Sinai Campaign, the Soviet Union unilaterally abrogated the commercial agreement between the two countries. Until 1955 there had been a promising development in the exchange of goods. In 1954 the trade amounted to over $3,000,000; but in the following year it was little over half that sum, and a further reduction took place in 1956.

During the Sinai Campaign (1956), Soviet policy was decidedly pro-Egyptian and anti-Israel. Threatening notes were sent from Moscow to the Israeli government demanding unconditional withdrawal from the occupied Sinai Peninsula. In the United Nations, the Soviet and U.S. governments exerted concerted pressure on Israel.

1963–1967

From 1963 to 1967, there was a slight improvement in Israel's relations with some of the Eastern bloc countries, and for a while there was some indication that relations with the Soviet Union would also improve. Some informal cultural exchange took place. In addition, an agreement was reached in 1964 on the purchase, by the government of Israel, of real property in Israel owned by the Russian Orthodox Church. But hopes that this agreement would result in the resumption of bilateral trade were not realized. A further deterioration took place in the spring of 1966, after a group of officers belonging to the left wing of the Baath Party seized power in Syria and stepped up aggression against Israel (including terror acts by the newly created Al-Fatḥ). Israel, on its part, made continuous efforts to arrive at a fruitful dialogue with the Soviet Union, persisting in these efforts up to the eve of the Six-Day War.

after 1967

On the last day of the Six-Day War, June 10, 1967, the Soviet Union severed diplomatic relations with Israel, and the rest of the East European countries, with the exception of Romania, followed its lead. In the period of tension that preceded the war, the Soviet Union displayed an extreme anti-Israel attitude, which, in fact, played a decisive role in fomenting the crisis and precipitating the war. It was the Soviet Union which spread the canard that Israel had concentrated troops on its northern border for an imminent attack on Syria; and it was the Soviet Union that urged Egypt to take countermeasures against this alleged threat to Syria. The U.S.S.R. encouraged Egypt in its aggressive steps, i.e., the demand for the removal of unef, the concentration of huge forces in the Sinai Peninsula, the closing of the Tiran Straits, and the military pact with Jordan. Perhaps the Soviet Union had not wanted Egypt to engage in actual war and had hoped that the Arabs and the U.S.S.R. would achieve an easy prestige victory. At any rate, Israel's lightning victory over the Arabs frustrated such expectations. To make up for this tremendous setback, the Soviet Union speedily rearmed and rehabilitated the Egyptian and Syrian forces, and gave unrestrained support, by diplomacy and propaganda, to Arab pressure for Israel's withdrawal from the occupied areas without peace negotiations. The U.S.S.R. utilized Arab hostility toward Israel to strengthen Arab anti-American and anti-Western attitudes and to increase Arab dependence on the Soviet Union. The slogans "Soviet-Arab alliance" and "Israel, the present-day Nazis," as well as the anti-Israel campaign in the Soviet press with its antisemitic overtones, characterized Soviet propaganda and policy on the Middle East after 1967.

[Eliezer Palmor]

The Struggle for Soviet Jewry

The problems of Russian Jewry had exercised Jewish and world opinion for many years before the overthrow of czarism and were the subject of relief and resettlement projects, international protests, and interventions. In the first years after the October Revolution of 1917, when Zionist delegations from Russia were still able to attend world Zionist conferences and congresses (as in 1920 in London and 1921 in Carlsbad), attention was given to the turmoil that the civil war and revolutionary changes were causing to the large and vital Jewish community in Soviet Russia, and Zionist congresses adopted resolutions against the suppression of Zionism and Hebrew by the Soviet regime.

The problem of Soviet Jewry found a place on the agenda of the founding assembly of the *World Jewish Congress (wjc) in 1936, but the contemporary widespread sympathy for the anti-Nazi stance of the Soviet Union and the belief that the U.S.S.R. had tried to eradicate antisemitism and accord national minority rights to its Jewish population muted discussion of the question. It was only in 1948, with the first indications of official antisemitism in the U.S.S.R. (see *Antisemitism: In the Soviet Bloc), that interest in the problem began to revive. In spite of Soviet support for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, the gloom of impending developments in the situation of Soviet Jews could already be felt; and although East European delegations attended the WJC assembly in 1948, misgivings about Soviet Jews were tactfully mentioned in the assembly's report. In general, however, until the events of the "Black Years" (1948–53), little news of which reached the outside world, it was assumed that no acute Soviet Jewish problem existed and that the difficulties confronting Jews in the U.S.S.R. were intrinsically the same as those afflicting the general Soviet population. When the campaign against "rootless cosmopolitans" began to sweep the U.S.S.R. and Eastern Europe, however, culminating in the "Doctors' Plot," a special world Jewish conference on the situation of Soviet Jews was contemplated. The wjc assembly meeting in Montreux early in 1953 prepared a document on the developments; the Zionist movement held discussions; and other Jewish organizations anxiously considered what steps might be taken if, as was feared, the *Doctors' Plot trial was used as an instrument for wholesale repression of Soviet Jews. The death of Stalin in March 1953 and the revocation of the charges against the doctors ended this tense phase.

1956–1969

In 1956, after the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, international opinion again began to stir on behalf of Soviet Jews. Protests in the Warsaw Yiddish Communist newspaper Folkshtime in April 1956 that the persecution of Soviet Jews had been passed over in silence in Khrushchev's speech at the 20th Congress, and the details Folkshtime released about the extent and virulence of Stalin's anti-Jewish terror campaign, made the world realize that the Jewish problem was still acute after almost 40 years of Soviet rule. This came as a shock particularly to Jewish and also non-Jewish Communists. Delegations from Western Communist parties went to the U.S.S.R. to investigate the truth. J.B. Salsberg, a leading Canadian Communist, returned from such a visit appalled; he published a series of articles on the subject in the American and Canadian Communist press, including details of a meeting with the Soviet leadership in which Khrushchev's antisemitic bias was revealed, and left the party with a group of old-time Communists. Hyman *Levy, a founder of the British Communist Party, prepared a confidential report about his visit in Moscow; the party executive regarded it as so shocking that only a strictly censored version was released for publication. Levy then published a pamphlet in 1958, Jews and the National Question, criticizing Soviet policy toward Jews in careful terms, and he was expelled from the party. In New York the Communist Daily Worker was closed down by the party and was transformed into a weekly called the Worker, because its editors continued to criticize the U.S.S.R.'s treatment of Jews. Two pamphlets published in Yiddish in Tel Aviv in 1958 reproduced articles and statements of Jewish Communists in the West and in Poland.

Individual Jews and organizations in Western countries began to pay more serious attention to Soviet Jews. A principal problem was the paucity of reliable information. To meet this need the newsletter Jews in Eastern Europe was founded in 1958 in London, edited by E. *Litvinoff; it subsequently appeared three or four times a year and became a major source of factual information about Soviet Jews. At about the same time, the Contemporary Jewish Library was founded in London to collect and disseminate in photostats source materials in Russian and other Soviet languages relating to Jews in the U.S.S.R. under the title Yevrei i Yevreyskiy Narod ("Jews and the Jewish People"). A branch of the Contemporary Jewish Library opened in Paris published Les Juifs en Europe de l'Est and a monthly bulletin, Les Juifs en Union Soviétique. The Biblioteca Judía Contemporanea in Buenos Aires published Allà en la U.R.S.R., and similar pamphlets were published in Italy. In New York, Jewish Minorities Research, directed by Moshe Decter, published monographs, pamphlets, reprints, and other relevant materials on Soviet Jews, including Decter's Status of the Jews in the Soviet Union, originally published as an article in the journal Foreign Affairs in 1963. Over the years, many scholarly studies of the situation of Soviet Jews have appeared in various countries, including: The Jews in the Soviet Union by Solomon M. Schwarz (1951); The Jewish Problem in the Soviet Union by B.Z. Goldberg (1961); Jews in the Soviet Union Census, 1959, edited by Mordecai Altshuler (Jerusalem, 1963); a study by the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva (see below); "Soixante ans du problème juif dans la théorie et la pratique du bolchevisme," by Marc Jarblum with a preface by Daniel *Mayer (in Revue Socialiste, October 1964); Soviet Jewry and Human Rights by Isi Leibler (Human Rights Research Publication, Victoria, Australia, March 1965); two reports of the Socialist International (see below). Particular popularity was achieved by the two eyewitness accounts, Ben-Ami's (Arieh L. Eliav) Between Hammer and Sickle (Heb. 1965; Eng. 1967) and Elie Wiesel's The Jews of Silence (1966), which appeared in several languages and editions. Interesting light was shed on Communist attitudes to the Jewish problem in the U.S.S.R. by a series of polemical exchanges in Political Affairs, the ideological organ of the U.S. Communist Party, in January 1965, October 1966, and December 1966.

During the 1960s the problem of Soviet Jewry – the discrimination against Jews in matters of language, education, and religion; the dissemination of anti-Jewish literature; the persecution of individual Jews, e.g., for "economic crimes" or for Jewish communal activity; and the denial to Jews of the right of emigration, particularly to Israel, and the reunification of shattered families – became a major issue in world Jewish and international discussion. Almost every Jewish organization, Zionist and non-Zionist alike, raised the problem as one of utmost importance to the Jewish people, "second only to the existence and security of Israel." Intellectuals on the left, Jews and non-Jews, held special conferences to investigate the facts and issue appeals to the Soviet government.

The first such conference took place in Paris in 1960 and was attended by about 50 scholars, writers, academicians, and parliamentarians from 16 Western and African countries. Its opening session was addressed by Nahum *Goldmann and Martin *Buber, and it received messages of support from Albert Schweitzer, François Mauriac, Bertrand Russell, former French president Vincent Auriol, Richard Crossman, former Dutch premier Drees, Reinhold Niebuhr, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, Thurgood Marshall, Daniel Mayer, and many others. Subsequent conferences of this kind were held over the years in Latin American countries, France, Scandinavia, Britain, and Italy. They were attended and supported by intellectual and moral authorities, including leading writers, poets, and prominent fighters for human rights.

Of particular significance was the Conference on the Status of Soviet Jews in 1963, founded in New York by a meeting of leading liberals, under the sponsorship of Justice Douglas, Martin Luther King, former Senator Herbert H. *Lehman, Bishop James Pike, Walter Reuther, Norman Thomas, and Robert Penn Warren, which issued an "appeal to conscience" and published many documents containing factual material. At the same time the Jewish community in the United States established the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry, which encompassed all the major Jewish organizations in the country (including the *American Jewish Committee, which generally did not participate in comprehensive Jewish frameworks). This body sponsored mass rallies, press conferences, and meetings with the White House and State Department and also published factual information on the current situation of the Jews in the U.S.S.R. Similar activities were undertaken by central Jewish bodies in their respective countries, such as the Conseil Représentatif des Juifs de France, the Executive Committee of Australian Jewry, etc. In 1967 an Academic Committee on Soviet Jewry was formed in the United States; its sponsors included: Hans *Morgenthau, Daniel *Bell, Saul *Bellow, Lewis S. *Feuer, Nathan *Glazer, Irving *Howe, Alfred *Kazin, Max *Lerner, and Lionel *Trilling. The committee became an important source of information and has issued, among other publications, a booklet entitled Soviet Jewry: 1969, consisting of papers read at a symposium by leading Soviet experts.

The moral struggle on behalf of Soviet Jews was given considerable impetus by the interest shown in the problem by the philosopher Bertrand Russell. His involvement began early in 1962, when he sent a cable to Khrushchev, signed jointly with François Mauriac and Martin *Buber, appealing for the full restitution of equal rights to Soviet Jews. He also sponsored the publication of a statement on Soviet Jewry signed by leading Nobel Prize laureates from different countries. A private exchange of letters between Russell and Khrushchev on this question followed until, to general surprise, the Soviet authorities sought Russell's permission to release part of the correspondence to the Soviet press and agreed to his condition that he should similarly release it to the Western press. It was published in Britain on Feb. 25, 1963, and in the U.S.S.R. on February 28, when it appeared simultaneously in Pravda and Izvestiya and was broadcast by Radio Moscow. Khrushchev had defined Russell's appeals as part of a campaign of "vicious slander" against the Soviet Union. On April 6, 1963, Russell replied at length repudiating this insinuation and describing as "gravely disturbing" the fact that some 60 percent of those executed for "economic offenses" in the U.S.S.R. were Jews. Although the Soviet premier did not reply to this letter, Russell continued his interventions on behalf of individual Soviet Jews and the community as a whole until age caused him to discontinue his public activities in 1968.

The problem began to be reflected at the United Nations, in parliaments, and in international bodies throughout the world. The first discussion at the un took place in 1961 at the Subcommission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, and continued to be a feature of un debates. The matter was raised in 1962 at the General Assembly's Social Committee by the Australian delegate, the first time it was directly taken up by a member government other than Israel. This development followed a report by a delegation to the U.S.S.R. of the World Council of Churches, which testified that Judaism experienced severe persecution in that country. In 1964, before a visit by Khrushchev to Sweden, Denmark, and Norway was due to take place, the problem of Soviet Jews was featured by the leading newspapers in all three countries, and the Soviet premier's visit was "postponed." The Council of Europe at Strasbourg, consisting of parliamentary representatives from all democratic countries in Europe and of official observers from Israel's Knesset, several times debated the issue and established an investigating committee to report on it. Its report served as the basis for the council's appeal to all European parliaments to raise their voice on behalf of Soviet Jewry. In the parliaments of Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and many other countries, motions were signed by many members (in Britain over 400 out of 630), and governments were urged to appeal to the Soviet Union on this matter. Both houses of the U.S. Congress also debated the issue and several times adopted almost unanimous resolutions on it. Leading statesmen, such as President Eisenhower, President Kennedy, and the British and Belgian premiers, as well as leaders of socialist and other opposition parties in the West, took up the issue in their encounters with Soviet statesmen and public figures. In 1964 the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva published a special study entitled Economic Crimes in the Soviet Union, which proved the anti-Jewish character of Soviet policy in this matter.

Gradually the current situation of the Jews in the Soviet Union began to be prominently featured in the world press. Such topics as the anti-Jewish riot at Malakhovka, near Moscow, the mass gatherings of Jewish youth on Simḥat Torah at the synagogues of Moscow and Leningrad, the ban on matzah in the U.S.S.R., the virtual dissolution of the Moscow yeshivah, the blood libel in the newspaper Kommunist at Buinaksk, Dagestan, Yevtushenko's poem "Babi Yar," and antisemitic publications such as Kichko's Judaism Without Embellishment were extensively reported and commented upon in the principal newspapers the world over and were the subject of sharp debates with Soviet representatives in various bodies of the UN and other international forums. National and international writers' congresses, as well as pen Club meetings, adopted resolutions against the suppression of Jewish culture in the U.S.S.R. Some Communist and pro-Soviet circles and press organs, particularly in Italy, Canada, Britain, the United States, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, and Australia, openly criticized Soviet discrimination against Jews. In the late 1960s Jewish student groups for the struggle for Soviet Jewry sprang up in the United States, mainly on the east and west coasts, and in Great Britain, where demonstrations were staged, particularly at Soviet diplomatic missions. The World Union of Jewish Students (wujs) organized a mobile exhibition illustrating the plight of Soviet Jewry, and mass petitions were signed by many thousands of Jewish and non-Jewish students.

participation of israel

Israel representatives were in the forefront of initiating discussions on the problem in various un bodies, the Socialist International (which published two reports, in 1964 and in 1969, called The Situation of Jews in the U.S.S.R. and Anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe), the Council of Europe, etc. In 1965 the first motion on Soviet Jewry was discussed in the Knesset. Later the Knesset devoted several special sessions to the situation of Soviet Jewry and made an appeal to other parliaments to take up the issue. The problem was repeatedly dealt with by the Israeli press and broadcasting service and in official and unofficial encounters by Israel's leaders and diplomatic representatives with Soviet diplomats and other personalities.

In Israel the Hebrew writings of Soviet Jews, most of them brought out clandestinely from the U.S.S.R., were published as early as the 1950s and served as a powerful means of reviving feelings of solidarity with Soviet Jewry. A collection of the Hebrew poetry of Ḥayyim *Lenski and Elisha *Rodin appeared in 1954 under the title He-Anaf ha-Gaddu'a ("The Cut-off Branch"). In 1957 the first anonymous Hebrew manuscript from the Soviet Union, called El Aḥi bi-Medinat Yisrael ("To My Brother in the State of Israel"), which was written in an old-fashioned maskil style, and contained a diary on the "Black Years," was published, first in the newspaper Davar and then in book form. (Only after the author's death in Kiev in 1968, was his name, Barukh Mordekhai Weissman, revealed.) Under the pen name Sh. Sh. Ron, a Soviet Hebrew writer described his own and his fellow Jews' experience in a concentration camp in a smuggled-out booklet, Me-Ever mi-Sham ("From Over There," 1959). Unknown and unpublished poems by Ḥ. Lenski, some of which were written in a concentration camp in Siberia, somehow reached Israel and were published posthumously in 1960 under the title Me-Ever li-Nehar ha-Lethe ("From the Other Shore of the Lethe River"), together with an introduction and postscripts by the poet's friends in Israel. A collection of Zionist poetry in its Russian original with Hebrew translations, Ha-Lo Tishali (its Russian title "My Spring Will Come") by an anonymous Soviet Jew, with an introduction by Y. Nadav (describing how the poems were written by a member of a clandestine Zionist group in a labor camp), appeared in 1962. A strong impact was made by Esther Feldman's autobiographical Kele Beli Sugar ("Prison Without Bars," 1964), the story of a Jewish woman in the Soviet Union whose husband (Joseph Berger-Barzilai) was imprisoned for over 20 years as an "enemy of the people" and then "rehabilitated." Soviet Hebrew fiction published in Israel included a novel about World War ii, Esh ha-Tamid ("The Eternal Fire," 1966), written by a writer who hid his identity under the pen name A. Tsefoni, smuggled out of the U.S.S.R., and Abraham Friman's monumental novel, 1919, about the revolutionary years (1968); its first two parts had been published in the 1930s and received the Bialik prize.

Educational work to convey deeper knowledge of the history and the current situation of Soviet Jewry was conducted over the years in Israel's schools and army units in various forms, including lectures, classes, a mobile exhibition, etc. The Hebrew magazine He-Avar and various publications of the Israel section of the World Jewish Congress have devoted themselves to research on Soviet Jewish affairs.

1969–1971

A turning point in the struggle for Soviet Jewry was Prime Minister Golda Meir's dramatic broadcast in Israel (in November 1969) of a letter sent to her by 18 Jewish families in the Soviet Georgian Republic who asked the Israeli government to convey to the un their protest against the Soviet authorities for denying them the right to settle in their historic homeland, Israel. This letter inaugurated a new phase in the struggle for Soviet Jewry. For the first time Soviet Jews themselves, in growing numbers and from all parts of the Soviet Union, began to voice their demands, centered almost exclusively on their ardent desire to settle in Israel. They appealed openly to the highest Soviet authorities, as well as to the UN, the Israeli government, and international public opinion. These appeals, which were widely publicized in the world press, finally disproved the monotonously repeated contention of Soviet spokesmen that Soviet Jews were completely and finally integrated and no longer identified themselves with the Jewish people abroad and Israel. When the Soviet authorities staged a press conference of prominent Soviet Jews in Moscow in 1970, and also initiated a spate of letters from Jews to the Soviet newspapers accusing Israel of aggression and repudiating the demand for exit permits to Israel, many scores of Jews in various Soviet cities signed collective statements that sharply denounced this anti-Israel drive as unrepresentative of Soviet Jewish opinion and the result of police pressure. Hundreds of signatures of Soviet Jews, on pro-Israel statements, complete with personal data and addresses, were published in the West. Their number was proportionately much higher than the number of names signed in the U.S.S.R. on general liberal and democratic protests, which became a feature of Soviet life in the late 1960s. This courageously open Israel-oriented movement of Soviet Jews, mainly of the younger generation, became increasingly the focus of the struggle of world Jewry, the Israeli government, and international public opinion for Jewish survival in the U.S.S.R.

At the end of 1970, with the Leningrad trial and its worldwide repercussions (see above), a favorable atmosphere was created for an impressive Jewish world conference devoted exclusively to the problem of Soviet Jewry. It took place in Brussels in February 1971 with about 750 delegates from 36 countries. The conference, convened by a coordinating committee of the principal Jewish bodies in the Diaspora and in Israel, became, even before it assembled, the subject of feverish Soviet diplomatic and propaganda moves directed at preventing the conference from taking place, or at least undermining its moral authority in advance. A delegation of several Soviet Jews who arrived in Brussels on the eve of the conference held a press conference, in which they denied all charges about discrimination against Jews in the U.S.S.R. and the urge of the Jewish masses to leave the Soviet Union and settle in Israel. The conference itself adopted a "Brussels Program" for Soviet Jewry, pledging the Jewish people to an unremitting struggle for the right of Soviet Jews to go to Israel and transmit the Jewish cultural and religious heritage to their children, and against the antisemitic campaign of the U.S.S.R., disguised as "anti-Israel" or as an "unmasking" of "international Zionism."

Among the participants at the conference were: David *Ben-Gurion, Menahem *Begin, Arieh Eliav, Herschel *Schachter, William Wechsler, Chief Rabbi Jacob *Kaplan, Lord *Janner, and other Jewish parliamentarians, intellectuals, and men of letters (including: Gershom *Scholem, Abraham *Shlonsky, A. *Kovner, S. *Yizhar, Hans Joachim *Morgenthau, Paddy *Chayefsky, and Otto *Preminger).

[Emanuel Litvinoff /

Binyamin Eliav]

Developments in the 1970s

jewish culture

In the Soviet Union there were two clearly distinguishable realms of Jewish culture. One was Jewish cultural activity, usually conducted in Yiddish, promoted by the Soviet government; the other was outside the framework of official institutions, whose principal proponents are the "refuseniks." Contact between these two realms was, for all intents and purposes, nonexistent.

The attitude of "aliyah activists," especially "refuseniks," toward the issue of the development of Jewish culture in the Soviet Union underwent a change over the 1970s. Until the end of 1973 most Jewish activists in the Soviet Union argued that all efforts must be directed toward the immediate emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union, and that any cultural activity with long-term goals would inevitably deleteriously affect the struggle for emigration. The year 1974, however, marked the beginning of a decline in Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union. The number of "dropouts" was growing steadily (see later) and some "refuseniks" became increasingly aware of the rapid pace of assimilation within the Jewish community. In view of these developments many of the activists realized that in addition to the campaign for emigration, there was a need to expand Jewish cultural activity outside the boundaries of the official Soviet framework. This cultural activity took on several forms: (a) ulpanim for the study of Hebrew; (b) seminars on Jewish themes; (c) publications; (d) Jewish art and folklore; and (e) commemoration of events related to Jewish history and tradition.

(a) Ulpanim for the Study of Hebrew. According to Soviet law, private instruction of a language recognized by the Soviet Union was permitted. On the basis of this law four individuals (V. Prestin, S. Gurvitz, V. Polski, and P. Abramovich) obtained permission to teach Hebrew. In 1972, however, pressure to cease the instruction of Hebrew grew. The cases of Pavel Abramovich of Moscow and Lev Furman of Leningrad serve as examples. Abramovich had been teaching Hebrew since May 1971 on a legal basis and accordingly paid income tax. However in February 1972, he received a notice from Moscow's Pervomaysky Region Finance Department instructing him to stop teaching Hebrew since this language was not recognized by the Soviet Union, nor was it taught in any of its institutions. Abramovich thereupon applied to the Ministry of Higher Education and asked whether Hebrew was taught anywhere in the Soviet Union. The ministry replied that Hebrew was taught at the Institute of Asian and African Peoples within the University of Moscow, at the Moscow Institute of International Relations, at the University of Leningrad, as well as at the Military Institute of Foreign Languages. Though the Hebrew classes were attended by a minimal number of students at all these institutions, and Jews were not permitted to register, the very fact of their existence served as a pretext for the ulpan organizers to renew their request for the recognition of the private instruction of Hebrew. The authorities insisted that Abramovich lacked the necessary certificate qualifying him as a Hebrew instructor, and although he presented a teacher's certificate issued by the World Association for Hebrew, the tax authorities adamantly refused to register him as a private instructor of Hebrew. In 1976 an attempt was made to publicize the existence of Hebrew classes and a notice to this effect was presented to the Moscow Bureau of Advertising for publication. When the bureau refused to advertise the notice, Pavel Abramovich brought charges against them in court, as a result of which the bureau was compelled to publish a notice announcing Abramovich's Hebrew lessons. This incident clearly demonstrated that Hebrew instruction in Russia is legal and the authorities had therefore resorted to harassing the teachers in their attempt to prevent Hebrew classes from taking place. In keeping with this line of approach, Abramovich's apartment was searched and all Hebrew material confiscated. Moreover he was threatened by the kgb and told in no uncertain terms that he was to desist from holding Hebrew classes. A similar case was that of Lev Furman. In September 1976 the Finance Department in Leningrad granted Furman a license to teach Hebrew privately. On the basis of this license, Furman organized a Hebrew teacher-training seminar in April 1977 in which five students registered. In July of that year, kgb agents burst into his apartment during a session, arrested Furman and held him for five days on the charge of "disobedience." In October 1977, the Soviet authorities ordered Furman to cease giving Hebrew lessons immediately, on grounds that he lacked the necessary certificate qualifying him to teach Hebrew.

The authorities were trying prima facie to respect the existing laws of the state to some degree, and were therefore compelled to turn a blind eye to the Hebrew classes, while at the same time they threatened and harassed Hebrew teachers, accusing them of "parasitism" and "anti-Soviet propaganda" and the like. This contradiction in Soviet policy made possible the existence of a number of Hebrew ulpanim in several cities in the Soviet Union. The number of students who participated in those ulpanim at the end of the 1970s was estimated to be about 2,000, including those who did not plan to emigrate in the near future. Both the teachers and most of the students wished to leave the Soviet Union and therefore these groups were by nature fluid, with participants leaving and new ones joining all the time. The program of studies and the intensity in which the language was studied were not constant in all ulpanim, rather they were dependent on the ability of the teachers as well as the frequency of the sessions. Thus the language competency of those who "graduated" from the ulpanim ranged from basic knowledge of the Hebrew alphabet to acquisition of a limited vocabulary and perhaps even proficiency in simple conversational Hebrew. The value and significance, however, of these ulpanim extended well beyond the realm of acquisition of language skills; they constituted a focal point for Jewish cultural activity.

(b) Seminars on Jewish Themes. The raison d'être of the scientific seminar organized in Moscow in April 1972 was, in its early stages, to provide "refusenik scientists" who had been dismissed from their places of employment with an opportunity to meet and discuss matters pertaining to their scientific pursuits. However the seminar participants were not content to deal with professional matters only and after a while began to include in their discussions themes related to Jewish culture, history, and problems of Jewish existence in the Soviet Union. During the years of the existence of the seminar many of the original participants left the Soviet Union and were replaced by others. Following a short recess during the summer of 1977, the seminar reconvened with Victor Brailovsky as chairman, and some 20 individuals participating on a more or less regular basis. Seminars of this nature, where discussions covered both scientific and cultural themes, were organized in several other cities. In September 1977, a similar seminar organized in Riga opened its first session with a lecture on Rosh Ha-Shanah and the teachings of the Hebrew prophets. Between 20 and 40 people participated in this seminar and even individuals connected to the Soviet establishment were invited. Most of the discussions in a seminar organized in Kishinev at the end of 1976 were devoted to such cultural themes as Hebrew poetry in medieval Spain, the period of the Judges and its place in Jewish history, and related themes. A group which began meeting in the home of Naum Salansky in Vilna at the beginning of 1977 devoted all its sessions to the study of Jewish history. In Leningrad 15 Jews participated on a more or less regular basis in a seminar which dealt with topics related to Jewish culture. In September 1977 a special seminar was organized for young Jews in Riga, in which between 30 and 60 Jews participated, some of whom had not yet decided to emigrate. The seminar included lectures dealing with selected chapters of Jewish history, the history of Hebrew poetry, and themes related to Jewish holidays. Some of the young people began to meet for special "Erev Shabbat" evenings where they sang Hebrew songs and read Hebrew poetry in translation. In the second half of the 1970s, a second seminar was organized in Moscow whose declared aim was the dissemination of Jewish culture and history. The leader of this seminar was Arkadii May and about 80–100 people participated in it. At the same time, a similar seminar was organized in Minsk; most of the participants did not intend to emigrate from the Soviet Union. An attempt was made in Kiev to organize a seminar concerning Jewish culture, but in this instance the kgb acted with particular viciousness and the attempt failed.

The seminar groups in the various cities maintained contact with each other and lecturers of one seminar often appeared as guest lecturers in others. Their existence was most certainly known to the authorities, who attempted relentlessly to disturb the meetings by arresting the organizers, carrying out searches at meeting places, and confiscating material. Despite these harassments, the seminars continued to constitute a center of Jewish cultural activity in the Soviet Union.

(c) Publications. "Jewish samizdat," as publications not under Soviet censorship were generally called, consisted basically of two kinds: publications of material written and edited by Soviet Jews, and translations and distribution of material either written before the revolution or originally published outside the Soviet Union. A literary publicistic journal called Jews in the U.S.S.R. was founded in Moscow in October 1974, and continued to appear for several years. According to its editors, the motive for its publication was the search for identity, for an answer to the question "Who am I?" and any material included in this journal had to conform to the following criteria: "The writer of any article must be sufficiently knowledgeable with respect to his theme, the material should not be of a political nature, nor should it contain any untruths or personal slander whatsoever."

And indeed, the journal contained the writings of Jews and non-Jews on a variety of themes including emigration, assimilation, Jewish culture and history, as well as essays on philosophy and religion, and short stories and poetry. A journal in the Russian language, Tarbut, appeared in 1975. Seven issues of Tarbut appeared in 1976, the size of each an average of 60 typewritten pages. The purpose of the journal was to impart knowledge of the Jewish cultural heritage. Tarbut contained material depicting the role of the Jews in the war against the Nazis, as well as selections of the writings of Frug, Bialik, Judah *Halevi, Aḥad Ha'am, *Jabotinsky, *Scholem, and others, translations of which in some instances were in existence before the revolution, while others were prepared especially for publication in the journal. Tarbut was issued in tens and sometimes hundreds of copies and there is reason to believe that it passed through the hands of thousands of readers, not all of whom were involved in the Jewish national movement but nevertheless sought to expand their knowledge of Jewish cultural and historical heritage. In Riga in 1979, a few issues of a journal called Jewish Thought were published; they dealt with the development of Jewish thought from the days of the Bible to present times. The same year a journal called Law and Reality began to be published in Moscow. It published Soviet laws and orders concerning emigration, the teaching of languages, cultural activities, and documented examples of the authorities avoiding compliance with these laws. The main purpose of this journal was to draw the attention of world opinion to breaching of Russian laws by state authorities and to make Russian Jews aware of the fact that their activities are legal in accordance with the laws of the state.

In addition to these journals, "Jewish samizdat" included the publication and distribution of entire books, or excerpts thereof, as well as newspaper articles originating in the West. These publications appeared in the form of photocopied, stenciled, and typewritten copies, and were widely distributed among young Jews who sought to become acquainted with their people. The circulation of these books in Russia continued, though on an irregular basis and in the face of many obstacles. A Russian translation of Cecil *Roth's Short History of the Jewish People, after circulating in stenciled form, was printed, probably outside the U.S.S.R., and achieved wide circulation. Thus the interest in Jewish culture among Soviet Jews grew more widespread and even found expression in the great interest shown by Soviet Jews at the Israeli book stall at the International Book Fair held in Moscow.

jewish art and folklore

Through the 1970s, there was a marked tendency among some Jewish artists in the Soviet Union to have recourse to Jewish themes in their avant garde style in painting and sculpture. While private exhibitions of nonconformist art became a rather widespread phenomenon, the group of Jewish artists which organized them in 1975 expressly stated that in its desire to develop a modernist style, it sought to cultivate Jewish themes in art. This group, with a membership of 12 artists, and calling itself "Aleph," organized two exhibitions in Moscow and Leningrad. The Moscow exhibition, housed in a private apartment, was visited by some 4,000 people. The more interesting Leningrad exhibition was dominated by the works of A. Abezgauz whose paintings depict the life of the Jews in the Russian Pale of Settlement and the life of the refuseniks. Among the works exhibited by S. Ostrowsky was a painting entitled The Patriarchs of Israel. Paintings by 26-year-old T. Kornfeld, the youngest participant, carried titles such as The Lover and The Jew. Plastic arts were represented by Iu. Kalendarev whose wood sculptures entitled Hanukkah Lamp and Mezuzah attracted many spectators. The artists who participated in both these exhibitions each had his own particular artistic style, while that which set them apart as a group was their Jewishness, which found expression in their preoccupation with Jewish themes or in their particular world view.

Jewish folklore was likewise increasingly incorporated into Jewish cultural activity in the Soviet Union. Jewish songs, ḥasidic as well as Israeli, were often sung at meetings of Jewish activists. A. Vinkovetski even edited an anthology of Jewish folklore which he was unable to publish due to the refusal of Soviet publishers to print the book.

commemoration of events related to jewish history and tradition

Among the concrete expressions of Jewish cultural activity in the Soviet Union were the celebration of Jewish holidays and festivals and commemoration of Jewish historical events. Two landmarks in contemporary Jewish history – the Holocaust and the establishment of the state of Israel – served for many Soviet Jews as the focal points in their public manifestation of Jewish national identity. Immortalization of the memory of the victims of World War ii was a common feature in Soviet society. Statues and monuments were erected in thousands of settlements in the memory of the victims of the Nazi occupation, and were frequented by Soviet schoolchildren and members of the Communist youth movement. Yet in all these places, the methodical and clearly intentional disregard of the Jewish victims is conspicuous. Jewish activists, therefore, saw it as their duty to dwell on the Holocaust and its uniqueness. As a result, in 1976 and 1977, as in previous years, a group of 50 Jewish activists decided to hold a memorial service in the Moscow synagogue on Remembrance Day of the Holocaust. However, the gabbai of the synagogue, apparently on the instructions from the authorities, prevented them from holding the service as planned, and they consequently adjourned to a private home. In the 1970s, Jews of several cities tried to hold a memorial service at Babi Yar, in Kiev. The organizers sought to lay a wreath at the foot of the monument in memory of those Jews who were the principal victims at Babi Yar and about whose fate the inscription on the monument is silent, as well as to hold a religious service. The Soviet security forces prevented them from carrying out their plan, and even arrested some activists who tried to make their way from Moscow to Kiev to participate in the service.

On Israel Independence Day, hundreds of activists held parties in their homes, while some chose to celebrate the event in parks on the outskirts of the city. At these gatherings, Hebrew songs were sung and at some speeches were delivered about the State of Israel.

The annual gatherings outside synagogues on Simḥat Torah became a well-entrenched tradition among Soviet Jews, with some 5,000–8,000 Jews assembling each Simḥat Torah outside the Moscow synagogue.

symposium on jewish culture

The goal of the symposium on the subject "Jewish Culture in the Soviet Union – Present and Future" was threefold: an assessment of what existed and what was lacking in Jewish culture in the Soviet Union, the establishment of guidelines for future development, and drawing the attention of world public opinion to the restrictions on Jewish cultural activity in the Soviet Union.

In March 1976 an organizing committee of 13 individuals, with Professor B. Fain as chairman, was set up in Moscow, for the purpose of convening an international symposium to discuss Jewish culture in the Soviet Union. The organizing committee prepared a memorandum defining these goals. The memorandum, which in effect served as an invitation, was sent to hundreds of Jewish scholars and intellectuals throughout the world as well as to a number of Soviet institutions. The organizing committee eventually grew to include 30 persons (13 from Moscow, 4 from Riga, 2 from Vilna, 2 from Kiev, 2 from Vinnitsa, 2 from Leningrad, 2 from Tiflis, and 1 each from Tallinn, Minsk and Kishinev). On Oct. 23, 1976, the organizing committee convened and approved 27 papers to be presented at the symposium, half of which were contributed by foreign lecturers. On Nov. 17, 1976, the organizers called a press conference inviting foreign as well as Soviet correspondents. In the context of preparations for the symposium, the organizers met with official and semiofficial Soviet representatives. On Sept. 27, 1976 E. Liberman, one of the organizers, met with General Shekhovtsev, director of the Institute of Military History. When Liberman pointed out to the general that most of Soviet society is led to believe that the Jews did not take an active part in the war against Hitler, Shekhovtsev admitted the truth of the allegation, but was quick to argue that the history of World War ii was not studied in its national ramifications but from a more encompassing point of view as the war of the Soviet people as a whole. This argument was clearly unfounded in view of the hundreds of books in the form of memoirs, historical studies, and literature published in the Soviet Union which depicted the contributions of various nationalities to the war effort against Nazi Germany. On Dec. 8, five members of the organizing committee met with the Soviet Deputy Minister of Culture, V. Popov. He admitted having received an invitation, though he argued that since their perception of Jewish culture was contrary to the Soviet perception, their very activity constituted provocation. On Dec. 14, the organizers of the symposium met with the members of the editorial board of the Yiddish journal Sovetish Heymland. A. Vergelis, the editor, rejected the possibility of the existence of Jewish culture in any language other than Yiddish and argued that any literary creation in the Russian language ipso facto belonged to Russian culture, regardless of whether its theme or author were Jewish. He did, however, admit that there was no institution in existence in the Soviet Union where Yiddish might be studied, and noted that it would be commendable to do something about the dissemination of a knowledge of Jewish history according to a Marxist approach. Nonetheless Vergelis unequivocally opposed the symposium which, in his view, sought to halt the process of assimilation which, according to him, was a positive phenomenon. Furthermore, he stressed that the very organization of a symposium would endanger Soviet cultural activity in Yiddish.

An article which appeared in Izvestia on Nov. 22, under the evocative heading "The Formula for Treason," implicitly affirmed the kgb's decision to prevent the symposium from taking place. And so, between Nov. 23 and 25, searches were carried out in the apartments of many of the organizers and much of the material prepared for the symposium was confiscated. On Nov. 24 the news agency tass "revealed" that thematerial confiscated proved that contact had been established with Zionist organizations and that their activity was aimed at stirring hatred among the peoples of the Soviet Union. On Nov. 29, the organizers made a fervent appeal to public figures and heads of state in the West, calling on them to demonstrate their support for this Jewish cultural undertaking. The Soviet press at the same time launched an extensive and widespread campaign against the organizers which continued into December. On the one hand, the campaign was aimed at branding the organizers of the symposium as agents of anti-Soviet political forces, and on the other, at proving that Jewish culture on a wide scale in fact exists in the Soviet Union. Concomitantly, the kgb systematically called in the organizers of the symposium for questioning on charges of "dissemination of lies with the intent to harm the government and Soviet society." Initially these investigations were limited to symposium organizers in Moscow, but it was not long before they spread into other cities where most of the members of the organizing committee, lecturers, and indeed any person who appeared to the authorities as having a hand in the convening of the symposium were arrested and taken in for questioning. As the opening date of the symposium drew near (Dec. 21), arrests and harassment of the organizers and participants accelerated. By Dec. 21, not one of the participants had succeeded in reaching Moscow. According to plan, the participants in the symposium were to assemble outside the Moscow synagogue at 10 a.m. and were to proceed to a private apartment for the opening session. However, on the way to the designated meeting place, the majority of the organizers, lecturers, and participants were arrested. Nonetheless, nearly 100 people, among them Western correspondents as well as the renowned freedom-fighter Andrei Sakharov, assembled at the synagogue at the designated hour. They adjourned to a private apartment where a symbolic opening of the symposium was held, all under the careful scrutiny of kgb agents. The participants, who heard a number of papers which the kgb had not succeeded in confiscating, sent a letter to the Central Committee of the Communist Party protesting the arrest of their colleagues. These events marked the end of another stage in the struggle for Jewish cultural activity in the Soviet Union. Although the symposium did not take place as intended, its very organization and the events surrounding it drew the attention of world public opinion to the plight of Soviet Jewry and its desire to maintain its particular cultural life. Moreover, there is reason to believe that the incident roused many Jews into Jewish cultural activity, among these many who did not intend emigrating from the Soviet Union.

jewish cultural activity of the establishment

Institutionalized and legitimate Jewish cultural activity whose main vehicle was Yiddish found expression in publications and in the area of the performing arts. In 1977 four books were published in Yiddish while several were translated from Yiddish. Most of the Yiddish writers living in the Soviet Union published their work in the monthly literary-social journal Sovetish Heymland. This journal was largely designed for foreign consumption and was forever in difficulties for lack of contributors as well as readers. Yiddish literature in the Soviet Union had not been able to recover from the severe blow it suffered during the last years of Stalinist rule, when its foremost writers were removed. Many of the writers who managed to return from the detention camps and prisons remained emotionally and spiritually broken, many passed away over the previous 20 years, and some Yiddish writers left the Soviet Union during the 1970s for Israel. As a result, the number of writers who participated in Sovetish Heymland grew increasingly and effectively smaller. In 1977, 40 writers and literary critics published their work in the journal. Most of the contributors were well advanced in age, only five being between the ages of 51 and 60, 21 between 61 and 70, 11 between 71 and 80, and three writers from 81 to 90. No Yiddish schools had existed in the Soviet Union since the end of World War ii, and there was thus no possibility of replenishing the cadres of Yiddish writers. To overcome the lack of material, contributions were accepted in the section of the journal containing reportage and stories by amateurs, so that most of the literary creations which appeared in Sovetish Heymland were of poor literary quality and of shallow Jewish content. Even more distressing than the difficulty of procuring material was the lack of readers, and to deal with it the journal included from 1969 a section on individual study of Yiddish. At a special meeting of the editorial board in June 1977, called to discuss the publication of a textbook for the study of Yiddish, Hirsh Remenik stressed that since there were no Yiddish schools or qualified teachers, the textbook would have to be designed for individual study. It was decided to proceed with the preparation of a text for the study of Yiddish geared towards Russian speakers. In order to draw the interest of readers both in the Soviet Union and abroad who knew no Yiddish, the journal began to include, as of September 1977, abstracts in Russian and English. In 1979 Yiddish was introduced as an optional subject in several Birobidzhan schools, but only some 10,000 Jews lived in this region.

In 1977 there were two Yiddish "folk theaters" in the Soviet Union – one in Birobidzhan and the other in Vilna. The "folk theater" was comprised of a group of amateurs who received financial government support. Both groups presented skits as well as evenings of songs and folklore.

As a result of the aforementioned symposium on Jewish culture the government announced, at the end of 1977, the establishment of a professional Yiddish theater in Moscow. In Dec. 1978 the Jewish musical chamber theater began its activities by showing "Black Bridle for a White Horse" by Yu. Sherling, and in 1979 it performed a musical review, "Let's All Do It Together." In the same year, Georgian television produced a program of medieval Jewish poetry recited by local actors.

religion

Religious activity in Russia centered on the synagogue. In mid-1977, as far as could be ascertained, there were 69 synagogues in the Soviet Union; 17 in R.S.F.S.R., 14 in Georgia, 12 in the Ukraine, nine in Uzbekistan, three each in Azerbaijan and Belorussia, two each in Moldavia, Lithuania, Estonia and Kazakhstan, and one each in the republics of Latvia, Tadzhikistan, and Kirghizia. In addition special minyanim were organized for prayer on the High Holidays in many centers. The synagogues had no countrywide organization, though Rabbi Y.L. Fishman of the Great Synagogue in Moscow was given prominence over others. There was an acute shortage of rabbis. The Moscow yeshivah, which trained religious functionaries, had only ten students, three of whom were sent to Hungary to complete their studies. The synagogues also suffered from an acute shortage of prayer books and other religious articles.

Many of the synagogues had facilities for kosher slaughtering, and several are equipped with facilities for baking matzah for Passover.

The Department of Religion and the security forces maintained stringent supervision over the synagogues, and religious functionaries were often exploited for propaganda purposes in the attacks by the authorities against Zionism and its proponents in the Soviet Union. As a natural result aliyah activists avoided the synagogues, which were mainly frequented by elderly people.

education, employment and demography

During the academic year 1976–77, 66, 900 Jews, comprising 1.4 percent of the total registration, were enrolled in institutions of higher learning. Of these, 2,850 were studying for a candidate degree. (The title of candidate is comparable to the Ph.D. degree in the West.) The 33,300 Jewish students enrolled in post-high-school vocational institutions comprised 0.7 percent of the student body. Since the 1974–75 academic year, the number of Jewish students in institutions of higher learning had dropped by 12 percent and in the vocational schools by 6 percent. In November 1975, 181,000 Jews who had completed vocational training were employed in the Soviet economy, comprising 1.4 percent of the total, while 385,000 Jews who had graduated from institutions of higher learning were employed in the Soviet economy, constituting 4.1 percent of the total. The number of graduates of institutions of higher learning who were integrated into the Soviet work force grew by 8 percent during the years 1970 to 1975, while the number of Jews in the same category continued to drop steadily. At the end of 1975, there were 69,000 Jews working in scientific fields (5.7 percent of the total), 8 percent more than in 1970. At the end of 1973 there were 28,000 employed Jewish scientists bearing the titles of candidate or higher, comprising 8.8 percent of the total. Thus the percentage of Jews grew as the educational level of the category rose, though in view of the shrinking numbers of Jewish enrollment, it was doubtful if they could maintain such a level. However, despite the restrictions and difficulties, the Jewish community as a whole turned towards academic pursuits and most young Jews in 1977 were enrolled in institutions of higher learning, though perhaps not always in the institutions or fields of their choice.

In January 1979 a population census, the third since World War ii, was conducted in the U.S.S.R. The final tabulation listed 1,810,876 people as Jews distributed among the republics, as seen in the Table: Jewish Population, U.S.S.R.

In the nine years from the census of January 1970 and the one in 1979, the Jewish population decreased by about 340,000 (in 1970 there were 2,151,000 Jews), of whom 177,000 emigrated from the Soviet Union during that interval. This means that in the period under discussion the Jewish population decreased as a result of demographic factors and assimilation by about 163,000. The average yearly decrease in the Jewish population, for reasons other than emigration, was during the 1970s 0.87 percent. Of those declaring themselves as Jews in the latest census, 19.6 percent stated that the Yiddish language is their mother tongue or their second language, as compared to 25.5 percent in the 1970 census.

soviet policy

Soviet policy toward the Jews and Judaism found expression in propaganda and suppression of aliyah activists and proponents of nonestablishment Jewish culture, the two methods being closely interrelated. On Jan. 22, 1977, a film shown on several television stations in the Soviet Union portrayed aliyah activists as a group of corrupt individuals who received funds from Zionist sources abroad, and who directed its actions against the state. The local and national Soviet press published hundreds of articles depicting Judaism as cultivating hatred among peoples, and Zionism and the state of Israel as being in the forefront of imperialism and following in the footsteps of the Nazis. In reportage and stories, the Jew was portrayed as an individual bearing negative qualities and untrustworthy. The campaign against Judaism, Zionism, and aliyah activities gained momentum during the second quarter of 1977. On Feb. 5, 1977, the president of the United States wrote a letter to the renowned advocate of human rights in the Soviet Union, Andrei Sakharov. As an indirect response to the letter, the official Soviet government newspaper Izvestia printed an unsigned article in which nine Jewish activists (two of whom had already left the Soviet Union) were accused of having supplied information to the American intelligence service. The seven who were still living in the Soviet Union were Valdimir Slepak, a radio engineer, age 51, who had applied for an exit permit to Israel in 1974; Ida *Nudel, an economist, age 46, who had first applied for an exit permit in 1971; Dina Beilin, engineer, age 38, who had first applied for an exit permit in 1971; Mikhail Kremen, radio engineer, age 40; Boris Tchernobilsky, radio engineer, age 31; Professor Alexander Lerner; and Anatoly *Shcharansky. They considered filing suit against Izvestia but abandoned their plan when Anatoly Shcharansky was arrested on Mar. 15. Shcharansky had applied for an exit permit to Israel in 1975 and when it was refused, he became one of the chief spokesmen of the aliyah activists, meeting with U.S. senators, Western correspondents, and tourists. Following his arrest, the Soviet authorities announced that Shcharansky would be charged with treason, espionage on behalf of the United States, and anti-Soviet propaganda. On June 30, the president of the United States made an exceptional gesture and announced at a press conference that Anatoly Shcharansky had never had any contact with American intelligence agencies and consequently never passed on any information. The Soviet security forces nonetheless proceeded with their task. In various cities of the Soviet Union, dozens of aliyah activists who had at some time met with Shcharansky were called in for questioning. It soon became apparent to the aliyah activists that the Soviet authorities were in the process of preparing a show trial which was aimed not only at harming Shcharansky, but ultimately at branding activists involved in the struggle for emigration and Jewish culture in the Soviet Union as enemies of the state and agents of foreign intelligence services. On July 14, 1978 Anatoly Shcharansky was sentenced to 13 years hard labor. The campaign for the release of Anatoly Shcharansky thus became the focal point of activity in the free world on behalf of Jews in the Soviet Union.

In June 1978 Ida *Nudel was sentenced to four years in exile and recently one of the editors of the journal Jews in the Soviet Union, Viktor Brailovski, was arrested.

The Struggle Continues

The struggle on behalf of Soviet Jewry was adopted by most Jewish communities all over the world. In most countries, the campaign was coordinated by a central body such as the National Conference of Soviet Jewry in the United States, the Canadian Committee for Soviet Jewry in Canada, the International Coordination Office for Regional Organizations in Defense of Soviet Jewry in Europe, and in Israel, the Israel Public Council for Soviet Jewry. These organizations and others all had representatives on the executive committee of the Brussels Conference on Behalf of Soviet Jewry. The activities of these groups were aimed at bringing the persecution of Soviet Jewry to the attention of the wide public via the mass media on national and international levels. Local committees on behalf of Soviet Jews, as well as professional and ideological groups, existed in almost every country, such as groups of students, professors, clergymen, and the like. They also appealed to their respective governments and members of parliament. The activities in which Jews and non-Jews alike participated were focused on three main issues: (1) the release of prisoners of Zion; (2) a campaign against antisemitism; and (3) protest against the sabotage of the Symposium on Jewish Culture.

(1) The Release of Prisoners of Zion. Hundreds of demonstrations of organizations and individuals took place all over the world demanding the release of prisoners of Zion and in defense of Anatoly Shcharansky and Ida Nudel. Many prominent figures appealed to the Soviet authorities, calling for the release of prisoners of Zion on humanitarian grounds, as well as the release of Shcharansky. The demonstrations were generally held outside Soviet institutions in the West and wherever Soviet diplomats and artists appeared.

(2) Campaign against Antisemitism. The main efforts were directed towards drawing the attention of world public opinion to the antisemitic literature recently published in the Soviet Union. It was stressed that this contradicted the international commitments of the Soviet Union.

(3) Protest against the Sabotage of the Symposium on Jewish Culture. The attention of world public opinion was drawn to the plight of Jewish culture and religion in the Soviet Union. In many countries conferences were organized to demonstrate solidarity with the Symposium. During the days that the Symposium was to have been held in Moscow, symposia of scholars and scientists were organized in many cities in Europe, the United States and Israel in which the state of Jewish culture and religion in the Soviet Union was discussed. The Soviet Union was warned that it could not expect Western cooperation as long as it ignored its commitments according to Basket iii of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, known as the Helsinki Agreement. In the wake of this agreement, private bodies and parliamentary groups were set up to monitor the fulfillment of Soviet obligations in the protection of human rights. Similarly, the executive committee of the Brussels Conference on Behalf of Soviet Jewry set up a group to monitor the fulfillment of Soviet obligations according to the Helsinki Agreement with respect to its treatment of Soviet Jews. This group prepared a document to be presented at the Belgrade Conference of representatives of countries that signed the Final Act. This document, known as the "Blue Book," described in detail thousands of instances where the Soviet government violated the agreement. This extensive material was presented to delegations of 30 countries participating in the Belgrade Conference so that they might raise the issue before the Soviet delegation. The problem of Soviet Jewry thus became a matter of public and political concern in countries of the free world, thereby compelling the Soviet Union to take heed, to some extent, of world public opinion in every measure it took against Soviet Jewry.

emigration

Emigration was one of the most important events of Jewish life in the Soviet Union during the 1970s. Of the 246,000 Jews who left the Soviet Union between 1970 and 1981, some 19,000 left during the years 1977–78. The ethnic composition of those Jews who emigrated in the years 1977–83, according to Soviet republics, is shown in Table: Soviet Jews who Emigrated to Israel (Olim) According to Ethnic Composition, 1970–1979.

Soviet emigration procedures were complicated and often rather lengthy. The first step involved obtaining an affidavit from Israel. At times such affidavits did not reach their

Ethnic group Number Percentage Relative percentage within Sov. Jewish pop.
Ashkenazi Jews98,50064.393.5
Georgian Jews29,60019.42.3
Mountain Jews9,8006.42.3
Bukharan Jews15,1009.91.9
Total153,000100.0100.0

destination, while in some cases the applicants themselves, due to personal and other considerations, decided not to approach the Soviet authorities with requests for exit permits even after receiving their affidavits. Consequently, the number of affidavits sent from Israel did not reflect the exact number of requests for exit permits processed by Soviet authorities. Nonetheless, the request for an affidavit from Israel did indicate that the applicant at some stage considered leaving the Soviet Union. Thus, although as stated 246,000 Jews emigrated from the Soviet Union between 1968 and Jan. 1, 1981, 350,000 new affidavits were sent to Jews in Soviet Union, meaning that 16 percent of Soviet Jews had at least considered emigration. There was generally a correlation between the number of emigrants and the number of new affidavits sent from Israel, the number of new affidavits sent from Israel being between 1.7 and 3.5 times the average rate of emigration for any one year between 1972 and 1981, as shown in Table: Monthly Rate of Emigration from the Former Soviet Union; New Affidavits from Israel, 1968–1980.

Years Average monthly rate of emigration Monthly average of new affidavits
1968–714661,992
19722,6235,658
19732,9104,851
19741,6823,570
19751,0952,845
19761,1783,008
19771,4303,589
19782,5508,934
19794,27810,616
1980 (Jan–June)2,5153,765

It may therefore be said that every Jewish family emigrating from the Soviet Union acted as a catalyst urging one or two other families to consider the possibility of emigration. Consequently the increase in Jewish emigration in 1979 as compared to 1978 brought in its wake an increase of approximately 19 percent in the number of new affidavits sent from Israel as compared to the previous year. It was therefore not surprising to find the greatest number of applicants for affidavits in those Soviet republics where emigration figures are highest.

Whereas of the 246,000 Jews who left the Soviet Union between 1970 and 1980, 157,000 emigrated to Israel while the remaining 89,000 (36 percent) proceeded to other countries, especially the United States, the figures for 1979–80 show that out of 73,000 emigrants only 24,700 or 34 percent settled in Israel.

Furthermore, there existed a disproportion between the ethnic composition of those emigrating to Israel and the corresponding ethnic composition within Soviet Jewish society as a whole, as demonstrated in the Table: Emigration: Olim and "Dropouts" from Russia, 1980–1986.

Year Exited Russia Immigrated to Israel "Dropped Out"1 in Vienna Percentage "Drop-outs"
1 Chose another country instead of Israel.
19819,4811,8067,67581.2
19822,7087561,95272.8
19831,32039093070.5
198489635054660.9
19851,13734479369.7
1986 (1–7)3819228975.8
Total15,9233,73812,18576.5

These figures therefore indicate that the percentage of non-Ashkenazi Jews among those who proceeded on to Israel was greater than the percentage they comprise within Soviet Jewish society as a whole.

This disparity may be attributed to two factors: (a) the percentage of non-Ashkenazi Jews who left the Soviet Union in this period was greater than the percentage of Ashkenazi Jews who emigrated; and (b) the percentage of "dropouts" among non-Ashkenazi Jews was significantly smaller than the percentage of dropouts among Ashkenazi Jews.

As in previous years, in 1977–78 the dropout phenomenon was predominant among Jews originating from certain cities.

The rate of dropouts is thus seen to be linked to the geographic origin of the emigrants: Jews of the first six cities being of Ashkenazi origin, those from Tashkent and Tiflis being Ashkenazi, Georgian, and Bukharan Jews, while Mukachevo, Kishinev, and Chernovtsy were annexed to the Soviet Union on the eve of World War ii. The average level of education among dropouts was higher than that of those who emigrated to Israel. The number of members of the family of working age is likewise higher among dropouts. Furthermore, the frequency of mixed marriages is higher among dropouts.

Approximately 46 percent of the work force among Soviet Jewish emigrants comprised skilled workers and/or those who had attained a high level of education.

the refuseniks

The leading protagonists in the struggle for the right to emigrate from the Soviet Union were those known as "refuseniks," individuals who applied for exit permits but whose applications were turned down. Refuseniks were alienated from the surrounding society and constituted a separate social group "stronger than a community" according to Vladimir Lazaris. "Their bodies are still fettered, but their souls are free." Many refuseniks were dismissed from their places of work as soon as they applied for exit permits, and for some the sole source of income was small monetary contributions they received from abroad. They lived under the constant threat of being charged with "parasitism." One such instance is that of Josif Begun who was employed as an economist in a Soviet research institute. In 1972, he applied for an exit permit and was subsequently dismissed. His attempt to persuade the Soviet authorities to recognize his work as a Hebrew instructor as a legitimate source of income failed in May 1977, and he was tried under the charge of parasitism and sentenced to two years of exile. Though his sentence, based on the charge of parasitism, was exceptionally severe in 1977, it served as a warning to other refuseniks, and the harsh attitude of the Soviet regime toward them rendered them the most active element within Soviet Jewry, and their voices were often heard abroad.

In January 1977 there were 2,001 refuseniks in the Soviet Union, some of whom had been waiting for exit permits for three or more years. Between January and September 430 refuseniks received exit permits and subsequently left the Soviet Union. However, during that same period the Soviet authorities turned down an additional 694 requests. Consequently in October 1977, there were 2,265 refuseniks, an increase of 13 percent as compared to the beginning of that year. The activities of the refuseniks centered on (a) the struggle for the right to emigrate and (b) cultural activity outside the framework of Soviet institutions (see above).

As part of the struggle for the right to emigrate, some 30 Jews demonstrated in October 1976 in front of the offices of the Supreme Soviet, and a delegation of the demonstrators was received by the minister of internal affairs who promised to reexamine their cases. On Feb. 21, 1977, 62 refuseniks staged a sit-in at the Supreme Soviet and in June six young Jews declared a hunger strike. During that period, seven Jews of Kiev publicly renounced their Soviet citizenship as a sign of protest against the emigration policy of the Soviet Union. In 1977, as in previous years, refuseniks appealed to countless international conferences, foreign governments, and world public opinion, calling for unremitting action for the cause of the right of Jews to leave the Soviet Union.

[Mordechai Altschuler]

The 1980s

demography

In the 1980s the annual decrease in the population among Soviet Jewry reached 2.2 percent. The Soviet census of January 1989 recorded 1,450,511 people who identified themselves as Jews; this was a decline of 19.9 percent from the figure of 1,810,876 in 1979. The Jewish population declined sharply in all of the union republics (see Table: Jewish Population Changes in the U.S.S.R., by Republic, 1959–1991, above, p. 555); in Moscow from 223,100 to 175,700. Overall, the percentage of Jews in the Soviet population declined from 0.69 percent in 1979 to 0.5 percent in 1989, when 41.5 percent of Soviet Jewry were residents of Moscow, Leningrad, or the capitals of the union republics.

Soviet Jewry represents an extreme example of an aging, demographically dying, assimilating community. In 1988–89 the birthrate of Jewish mothers was 7.3 per 1,000 Jews (6.3 in the R.S.F.S.R.). The birthrate in homogenous Jewish families (i.e., where both parents were Jewish) was 4.3 per 1,000 Jews (2.6 in the R.S.F.S.R.). Fertility of Jewish women in the U.S.S.R. did not exceed 1.6 children per woman. At the same time mortality was high, with 21.3 deaths per 1,000 Jews (the corresponding figure for the R.S.F.S.R. was 24.4).

The median age of Jews in the U.S.S.R. in 1989 was 49.7 and in Russia it was 52.3. (For comparison, in 1990 the median age of Jews in Israel was 28.4, of Jews in the United States 37.3, and of the total Soviet population in 1989 30.7.) The percentage of aged people (60+) among the Jews of Moscow in 1989 was 39.6 percent, while that of aged people among the general population in the city was 18.2 percent. Children up to age 5 made up only 3 percent of the Jewish population of Moscow while the same age group made up 8 percent of the general population.

The percentage of mixed marriages among all marriages involving Soviet Jews in 1988 was 58.3 percent for Jewish men and 47.6 percent for Jewish women. The same indicators for the rsfsr were 73.2 and 62.8 percent, respectively. The vast majority of children of mixed marriage who were under 18 were not registered as Jews in the 1979 census. In the U.S.S.R. this involved 90.9 percent of those children with a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother; 95.3 percent of the children with a Jewish mother and a non-Jewish father (for Russia the percentages were 93.9 and 95.5, respectively). The mass emigration of the 1970s (see "Emigration and Aliyah") only accelerated the already advanced process of the erosion of Soviet Jewry. (See Tables above.)

The smaller subethnic Jewish groups largely maintained their knowledge of their native languages. The percentage of Ashkenazi Jews with a knowledge of Yiddish may well be even lower than the official 11.1 percent since the declaration by a Soviet Jew of a Jewish language as his native tongue is often a demonstration of national feelings rather than an indication of a real command of the language.

With the breakup of the U.S.S.R. toward the end of 1991, Soviet Jewry as such disappeared. At the end of that year the number of Jews living in territory of the former Soviet Union was estimated as 990,000, of whom the majority (430,000) lived in Russia. Russian Jewry now no longer constitutes the third largest Jewish community in the world. As of 1992 over half a million Russian-speaking Jews lived in Israel.

the last years of stagnation 1983–1986

Official Policy. A sharp change in Soviet emigration policy in the period 1979–1981 led to the formation of a large group of refuseniks (see above), i.e., people who were refused permission to emigrate. Reasons given for refusal were often far-fetched pretexts of local ovir (visa) offices caught between a flood of requests for exit visas and a sharply reduced quota of permits allowed by Moscow. No judicial procedure existed for appealing ovir decisions. In the early 1980s, the number of refuseniks in the whole country numbered tens of thousands. Besides many had their emigration documents rejected even for consideration by ovir while others who had an invitation from Israel did not submit their applications due to their conviction that such an attempt would be useless. A whole generation of Soviet Jews grew up "in refusal," including thousands of highly qualified professionals whose careers were irretrievably harmed when they were banned from working in their fields after applying to emigrate. By 1987 refuseniks had become a dominant factor in Soviet Jewish life, a major force for unity among international Jewish organizations, and an important element in Soviet-Western relations.

The Soviet authorities proclaimed that "neither antisemitism nor Zionism" would be allowed, suggesting that Soviet Jews forget about emigration and return to "normal" Soviet life. Sometimes refuseniks were even promised that they would be given back their former posts in return for a written statement that they would abandon any idea of emigrating. In fact, antisemitism did not decrease; discrimination was manifested against the Jews, as a potentially disloyal part of the population, in regard to acceptance into institutions of higher education, job promotion, and the awarding of prestigious positions, in awarding scientific degrees, etc. In 1980–1981, 3 percent of Soviet Jews had been studying in institutions of higher education; in 1984–1985 the percentage dropped to 2.6. Between 1982 and 1987, the number of Jews among scientific workers declined from 63,000 to 58,600 and among those with Candidate of Science degrees from 25,800 to 25,200. In the 1980s, in general, there was a relative decline of the status of Jews in Soviet society.

At the same time, a campaign gathered momentum against everything connected with Israel, Zionism, Jewish history, Judaism, and Jewish culture. On April 21, 1983, the Soviet Public Anti-Zionist Committee, an ostensibly voluntary organization headed by General David Dragunskii, was established. A group of privileged writers who made a specialty of "anti-Zionism" emerged at this time; they included: Iurii Ivanov, Lev Korneev, Caesar Solodar, Lionel Dadiani, Evgenii Evseev, and Vladimir Begun. Their works were circulated throughout the country in hundred of thousands of copies. An overtly racist approach characterized the "anti-Zionist" ideology. Soon there was a revival of the notorious myths and libels propagated in the past against the Jews by the Czarist Black Hundreds and by Nazi propaganda: the myth of the "Judeo-Masonic conspiracy," The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and even the blood libel.

Public criticism of this "anti-Zionism" was not permitted. Thus, the attempt of the Leningrad philologist Ivan Martynov to sue Korneev for libel was turned into judicial persecution of Martynov himself. In the summer of 1986 the book On the Class Essence of Zionism, which purported to be a historiographic survey of "anti-Zionist" literature in the previous two decades, was published. Its author, Alexander Romanenko, denied the very existence of the Jewish nation, of any Jewish language (either Hebrew or Yiddish), and of Jewish culture. He justified the prerevolutionary pogroms as a manifestation of the class struggle against the Jewish bourgeoisie. The Zionists were also blamed for the Holocaust! According to Romanenko, the Zionists were more dangerous than the Nazis since they had succeeded in defeating the latter and then proceeded, by blackmail and threats, in totally bankrupting the Federal Republic of Germany by forcing it to pay reparations to Israel. This fantastic ideology was regularly foisted off on the Soviet population at Party and trade union meetings, on television, and in the press.

The Jews were also being assigned a demonic role in Russian history, for example, in the vulgar historical novels of Valentin Pikul. A special place in this demonology was reserved for Leon Trotsky, who was depicted (for example, in the novel Petrograd-Brest [-Litovsk] by I. Shamiakin) as a symbol of Russia's enemies and described in terms of an anti-Jewish caricature.

One of the aims of the anti-Zionist campaign was to discredit the idea of emigration and to intimidate activists in the growing Jewish national movement in the country. However, despite the jamming of foreign radio stations, a relatively realistic picture of life beyond the "iron curtain" reached Soviet Jews via letters from the thousands of relatives and friends who had already emigrated. This encouraged them to continue the struggle to emigrate.

In an effort to put an end to the refusenik phenomenon, the authorities initially allowed some of the leaders to emigrate. This tactic backfired by increasing the number of activists. Then repression became the order of the day. Special kgb groups were assigned to monitor Jewish activity. They bugged telephone conversations, opened letters, infiltrated informers among the refuseniks, intimidated activists and their families, arranged for some people to be fired from their jobs and for others to be beaten up, and so on. All forms of independent Jewish cultural and public activity were persecuted, including the teaching of Hebrew, the publishing of samizdat journals, the organization of kindergartens, the performance of purimshpils (often satirical Purim plays) in private apartments, or public meetings to commemorate the Holocaust. There were frequent searches of apartments and jailings of activists on fabricated charges of anti-Soviet activity and propaganda, slander of the Soviet state, and on trumped-up criminal charges, such as possession of narcotics. Sometimes the people arrested were beaten. Occasionally, activists were placed in special psychiatric hospitals. Yet there was a limit to the persecution: mass arrests were not resorted to. The number of Jewish activists imprisoned at any one time between 1983 and 1986 amounted to about 15, probably representing the quota decided upon by the central authorities. It appeared that the government wanted to maintain a certain low level of Jewish activity with an eye toward negotiations with the West while the kgb was interested in the continuity of such activity in order to justify the existence of their "anti-Zionist" cadres.

In response to the continued accusations from abroad that they were persecuting Jewish culture in the U.S.S.R., the Soviet authorities did sponsor some Jewish cultural enterprises of their choice. A number of these took place far from the large Jewish population centers, in the so-called Jewish autonomous Oblast (province) of Birobidzhan, the 50th anniversary of which was celebrated in 1984. In 1982 a Yiddish textbook was published there in a minuscule print run and permission was granted for an optional course in Yiddish at one of the schools in the province. At the same time, several propaganda booklets were published describing the alleged flourishing of Jewish culture in Birobidzhan. In Lithuania several prose works of Grigorii Kanovich were published on Jewish themes. In 1984 a Russian-Jewish [Yiddish] dictionary was published in Moscow and an evening celebrating the 125th anniversary of the birth of Shalom Aleichem was held at the Union of Soviet Writers.

In March 1985, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev proclaimed perestroika, which originally did not envision any change in official Jewish policy. As late as October 1986 Soviet jails still held 13 Jewish activists, five of whom (Roald Zelichenok, Leonid [Arye] Volvovskii, Evgenii Koifman, Vladimir Lifshits, and Aleksei Magarik) were arrested under Gorbachev. However, to succeed in their intended reforms, the Soviet leadership came to realize that they desperately needed foreign policy successes and economic aid from the West, which increasingly were seen to depend on a liberalization of their policy toward Soviet Jewry.

The Refusenik Community

From the early 1980s, Soviet Jews found themselves in a hopeless situation. Their social status continued to decline; antisemitism prevented them from fully assimilating; almost all expressions of Jewish life were banned; and at the same time permission to emigrate was denied. The response to this situation was the growth of illegal, independent Jewish cultural activity, which was almost completely centered around the refuseniks. The first stirrings of public and cultural activity were felt among the aliyah activists in the 1970s. However, only the long period of hiatus in emigration allowed the Jewish movement the opportunity to attain an unprecedented breadth, stability, and continuity of leadership. Often, the veteran refuseniks best known in the West, particularly those who had been imprisoned, ceased playing a leading role but became symbols of the struggle and spokesmen of the movement to the foreign media. New less-known enthusiasts assumed an active role in the organizational, political, and cultural spheres. Veteran leaders, who returned to an active role after being released from prison, could be rearrested. Thus, in November 1982, Iosif Begun was imprisoned for the third time.

During their years of "refusal," activists gained experience and knowledge, proved their mettle in confrontations with the authorities, and established contacts with comrades in other communities. They also amassed an unprecedented amount of Jewish cultural material such as books, textbooks, and religious objects. Interested Jews were able to attend underground classes in Hebrew, Jewish culture, history, and religion, and to enjoy Jewish dramatic productions in private homes. There were activities for children as well. Channels were established for exchanges of information with Israel and the organizations for the rights of Soviet Jewry operating in the West. Thus, any persecution of refuseniks soon became known throughout the world. Those who were arrested (and their families) gained effective legal, medical, and material aid, as well as moral support. Jailed aliyah activists, referred to as "prisoners of Zion," knew that they were not abandoned; this often gave them the strength to avoid mental breakdowns and public recantations. Their sense of community helped refuseniks to compensate for the infringement of their rights and their pariah status.

Hebrew teaching occupied a key role in the Jewish movement. Moscow was the center of Hebrew instruction where long-range programs were elaborated, accelerated teacher training organized for teachers from other locations, and teaching materials reproduced and disseminated. Iulii Kosharovskii was one of the main organizers of the teaching network. Teachers of Hebrew, who received special support for their efforts from Israel, became a main target for persecution; they constituted about half the prisoners of Zion. In Moscow alone, the Hebrew teachers Alexander Kholmianskii, Iulii Edelshtein, Leonid Volvovskii, and Aleksei Magarik were arrested between 1984 and 1986.

In Leningrad, starting in late 1979, the center for the Jewish movement was the historical and cultural seminars headed by Grigorii Kanovich (not to be confused with the Lithuanian writer) and Lev Utevskii. In an attempt to halt the seminars, the authorities gave permission for both leaders to emigrate. At the same time a series of roundups of participants in the seminars took place. Activist Evgenii Lein was arrested in May 1981. After a year-long struggle to maintain the seminars, which had been open to all interested parties, the seminars succumbed. However, a group made up of amateur Jewish historians survived for five more years. Works by members of this group were published in Leningradskii evreiskii almanakh (see "The Jewish Press"). An attempt in 1985 to renew popular lectures on Jewish culture in Leningrad ended with the arrest of the organizers, Roald Zelichenok and Vladimir Lifshits.

In contrast to Leningrad, where Jewish history was practically exclusively the domain of refuseniks, Moscow was the site of some permitted Jewish scholarship headed by the professional ethnographers Mikhail Chlenov and Igor Krupnik. In January 1982 there was an announcement of the formation, in conjunction with the journal Sovetish Heymland, of a Jewish Historical and Ethnographic Commission. The members of the commission hoped to be able to publish their research without interference. However, the ban on almost everything Jewish often compelled the scholars to restrict themselves to peripheral topics of little social relevance, such as the derivation of Jewish family names and descriptions of small subethnic Jewish groups in the Soviet Union.

The celebration of traditional Jewish holidays and Israel's Independence Day became a widespread expression of national solidarity. In a number of cities, Purim was the occasion for the private performance of purimshpils, where sharp criticism of the authorities was often presented in disguised form. It is not surprising that the latter activity was particularly subject to government repression.

Another indicator of the growth of national consciousness among Soviet Jews was the public meetings commemorating the mass murder of Jews during World War ii. Such meetings were held in Riga at Rumbula forest, in Vilnius at Ponari, in Kiev at Babi Yar, and in Leningrad at the Jewish Preobrazhenskii Cemetery.

The 1980s saw an increased interest in Orthodox Judaism, which had been among the most slandered and persecuted of all the religions in the U.S.S.R. In the course of previous decades, Jewish religious education had suffered particularly. There was only a handful of rabbis, mohalim (circumcisors), and shoḥetim (ritual slaughterers who provided kasher meat) in the whole U.S.S.R. There was no way, either legally or practically, that such knowledgeable Jews could be replaced. Simple Jews who know how to pray were a dying breed. Often Jewish intellectuals who were God-seekers turned to the Russian Orthodox religion due to their lack of familiarity with their own roots.

In the 1980s in Moscow, Leningrad, and subsequently in other places, informal groups of young people who wanted to study Torah and Jewish tradition were established. Some of the participants became ḥozrim bi-teshuvah or "returners to religion." The original impetus for this religious revival was Zionist activity among the refuseniks, which first brought Jews together and provided them with basic knowledge, particularly of Hebrew, without which a mastery of the tradition is hardly possible. The Jewish religious awakening was made possible materially due to the fact that some of the aid from abroad to refuseniks included religious literature, religious objects, and kasher food. In the mid-1980s, there were up to 2,000 newly-observant Orthodox Jews, half of whom resided in Moscow and one fifth in Leningrad. Despite its relatively small core, the religious community had some impact on a broader range of Jews and even led to the conversion to Judaism of some non-Jews, a unique phenomenon in Soviet history. The religious stream within the total Jewish movement among Soviet Jewry was diminished in 1986–1987 with the emigration of a large segment of the newly religious Jews, including their young leadership.

The religious groups were basically divided into Chabad, Agudat Israel, and religious Zionists. In Moscow religious activity originally centered around Vladimir Shakhnovskii, Mikhail Nudler, and Eliahu Essas (Agudat Israel), Mikhail Shnaider and Grigorii Rozenshtein (Chabad), and Vladislav Dasheskii, Pinkhas Polonskii, Mikhail Karaevano, and Kholmianskii (the religious Zionists). Leningrad with the religious leaders Itzhak Kogan (Chabad) and Grigorii Vasserman (Agudat Israel) lacked the religious Zionist orientation.

Although the Jewish movement in the 1980s included in its ranks only several thousand people, in the atmosphere of fear that dominated the Soviet Union at that time, it was virtually the only mass opposition movement in the country. It was not exclusively Zionist. Participation in illegal Jewish activity during their years of refusal, however, increased activists' national consciousness and instilled in many the desire to go straight to Israel as soon as they were free to leave. Many activists after their emigration joined Jewish organizations in Israel and the West (especially in the U.S.), and continued to study and teach Jewish history, Hebrew, and the Jewish religion. A number of books written in refusal have now been published (mostly in Israel). Among them are Ivrit ("Hebrew") by Leonid Zeilinger; Sinagoga-razgromlennaia no nepokorennaia ("The Synagogue – shattered but unconquered") by Semen Iantovskii (book appeared under the pseudonym of Israel Taiar); Evrei v Peterburge (The Jews of St. Petersburg [published in Russian and in English]) by Mikhail Beizer; Delo Dreifusa ("The Dreyfus Case") by Leonid Praisman; and Ani Maamin (Ia veriu) ("I Believe") by Mikhail Shnaider and Grigorii Rozenshtein.

Soviet Jewry and the West

The Soviet Jewry movement would never have become an international issue had it not been for support from abroad. The following factors were involved in the struggle in the West: Israel's interest in mass immigration, which reflected both Zionist ideology and Israel's demographic problem; the desire of Western, especially American, Jewish leaders to rally Diaspora Jewry around a goal of importance for the whole Jewish people; the tendency of the American administration to utilize "human rights" and, particularly, the struggle of Soviet Jews for the right to emigrate, as a basic weapon in its ideological confrontation with Communism.

Special organizations were established in the West for the struggle for Soviet Jewry. These included the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, the Union of Councils for Soviet Jewry, in the United States, and in Britain the Committee of 35. The organizing center in Israel was the Liaison Bureau for Soviet Jewry of the Foreign Ministry. The Bureau collected information about Soviet Jews, sent them literature and material aid, organized support from the Jewish and international press, and, on occasion, coordinated international protest campaigns in defense of prisoners of Zion and the right of emigration for Soviet Jews. Most aid from the Bureau was given to those refuseniks, especially teachers of Hebrew, who aspired to aliyah. Israel regularly provided upto-date information about emigration statistics, the level of state antisemitism, persecution of Hebrew, and the suffering of prisoners of Zion to both Jewish and non-Jewish organizations active in the struggle, as well as to political and social figures. Hundreds of foreign tourists who visited Moscow, Leningrad, and other open cities in the U.S.S.R. were in fact voluntary emissaries of international Jewish organizations or, sometimes, Israeli citizens with dual nationality sent by the Liaison Bureau, to bring in books, kasher food, clothing, and other goods, to provide moral support, to give lectures on Jewish history, to share Sabbaths and holidays with their fellow Jews, and to bring back to the West fresh information, texts of protests and appeals, along with various requests for the refuseniks.

The tourists who made contact with Soviet Jewry were often halted by the authorities, searched, subjected to harassment and intimidation, and expelled from the country before the end of their visit; sometimes they were beaten by kgb agents. The Soviet authorities prevented former Israel president Ephraim Katzir, who was visiting the U.S.S.R. as part of a scientific delegation, from meeting with refuseniks. However, even during the most difficult times, the flow of visitors did not cease.

The Public Council for Soviet Jewry (headed by Avraham Harman) supported by the Israeli government was founded in 1970. In the 1980s, a kind of rival to the council, the Soviet Jewry Education and Information Center (headed by the former refusenik and prisoner of Zion Yosef Mendelevich), was established in affiliation with the American Union of Councils. It favored a strategy of public protest while the more moderate National Conference and the Israeli Liaison Bureau pursued a policy of quiet diplomacy.

Due to the efforts of Jewish organizations, the question of the rights of Soviet Jewry gained exposure in parliamentary discussions and in election campaigns in Western democracies. The issue was increasingly raised during intergovernmental contacts with the Soviet government and in the mid-1980s became a focus of demands made on the Soviet Union. In the American congress speeches were often to be heard about refuseniks and prisoners of Zion such as Anatoly Shcharansky, Iosif Begun, and Ida Nudel. When visiting the U.S.S.R., many senators and congressmen met with Jewish activists. U.S. president Reagan and British prime minister Thatcher spoke out in support of the struggle for Soviet Jewry and the issue was also raised in the European Parliament. The International Association of Lawyers encouraged legal experts to provide aid to persecuted and arrested Jews. The situation of individual Soviet Jews was taken up by professional associations in the West, particularly the international scientists' committee which took up the cause of refusenik scientists, including Victor Brailovskii, Alexander Paritskii, and Yurii Tarnopolskii. In New York mass marches and public meetings, which attracted up to 100,000 people, began in 1982.

The well-known British historian Martin Gilbert visited Moscow and Leningrad in 1983 and interviewed a number of leading refuseniks. Although some of the material he collected was confiscated by customs authorities when he was leaving, one year later he published The Jews of Hope, which due to his fresh eyewitness point of view and the author's reputation, had considerable influence in mobilizing public support for Soviet Jewry in English-speaking countries and Israel (where the book appeared in Hebrew).

A key event in the struggle was the Third World Conference for Soviet Jewry held in March 1983. The preceding conferences were held in Brussels in 1971 and 1976. The choice of Jerusalem as the location for the third one signified the central role of Israel in the struggle.

Originally the Israeli government had preferred to remain in the background so that the issue of Soviet Jewry would be seen not as a parochial problem but as a universal issue of the violation of human rights. Not wishing to complicate the already difficult position of Jewish activists in the U.S.S.R., Israel avoided criticizing the Soviet Union on issues unconnected with Jewish concerns. Tourists sent to the U.S.S.R. by the Liaison Bureau were forbidden to say that they were from Israel and told to travel on second passports. Although following these instructions made the visits less dangerous for the emissaries, this practice gave some Soviet Jewish activists the false impression that they were of more concern to their Western brothers than to the Israelis.

The inclusion of the issue of Soviet Jewry in the agenda of the American-Soviet summit conference in Reykjavik in October 1986 was a considerable achievement. The Soviet delegation there was presented with a list, compiled in Israel, of the names, addresses, and dates of refusal of the many members of the Jewish refusenik community in the U.S.S.R.

The continuing struggle harmed the international reputation of the U.S.S.R., especially after it signed the Helsinki Accords on human rights. On the other hand, the Soviet Union did gain from the international furor. It allowed the Soviets to raise the price on its "merchandise" of Jewish hostages, for example allowing them to exchange individual Jews for Soviet spies caught by the West (as it happened with Anatoly Shcharansky in February 1986) and to use the issue of Soviet Jewry – in terms of a possible concession on the Soviet side in return for American concessions – in its negotiations with the U.S. on limiting strategic and nuclear weapons.

perestroika and glasnost

Changes in Official Policy and in the Social Status of Soviet Jewry. The primary goal of the policy of perestroika was originally to help the Soviet Union emerge from its economic crisis by allowing a degree of democratization, permitting the holding of small private and cooperative property, the weakening of centralization and Party control in the periphery, and the broad encouragement of initiative on the part of the Soviet population. The latter were to be mobilized by granting them a number of civil rights entailing freedom of speech, public organization, and freedom of cultural life (glasnost). Owing to the difficulties of overcoming social inertia and to the opposition of the entrenched bureaucracy, perestroika only began to be felt by the public in early 1987. By late 1989 the changes assumed a character unforeseen by the architects of the policy.

Despite the authorities' intentions, glasnost was utilized by the peoples of the U.S.S.R. to promote their national aspirations. With the unprecedented burgeoning of national movements that threatened the Soviet Union itself, the issue of the right of Soviet Jews to free emigration and national cultural expression – which had been a major concern of Western public opinion in the 1980s – was no longer so major. At this time of domestic turmoil the Soviet government decided to make concessions on Soviet Jews within the framework of the broadening of civil rights and in exchange for political and economic support from the West.

In January 1987 a new government decree came into effect that regulated entrance into and exit from the U.S.S.R. The decree granted the right to emigrate only for family reunification with close relatives abroad. Still it was an advance, since Soviet emigration procedures were now embodied in law rather than secret government directives. The number of exit visas granted increased each month and in May ovir began accepting applications to emigrate from people who did not have close relatives abroad. The same year saw applications also accepted for reunification with relatives in countries other than Israel. This change in policy raised the problem of "dropouts" or those Jewish emigrants who, from the Israeli perspective, denied their tie to the Jewish homeland and chose other destinations.

An indication of a new policy toward emigration was the uncharacteristically mild reaction to the March 1987 demonstration of seven refuseniks in Leningrad. As a result of the demonstration one participant received permission to emigrate while a photograph of the whole group appeared in a local Leningrad newspaper.

Early in the same year several Jewish activists were released from prison before serving their full terms.

The curtailment of the Party's anti-Zionist campaign, a major turnabout, was first signaled by criticism in the journal Voprosy istorii kpss (No. 1, 1987) of Romanenko's On the Class Essence of Zionism (see above).

The end came to the ban on importation of Jewish religious literature, Hebrew textbooks, and books on Judaism. The long-standing Soviet domestic policy of proscribing national cultural activity outside the borders of officially designated national regions was rejected in July 1988 when the 19thcpsu Congress passed a resolution granting ethnic groups the right to satisfy their cultural and religious needs throughout the Soviet Union. This change of policy was particularly important for the Jews, almost all of whom live outside their supposed national region, the so-called Jewish Autonomous Oblast in Birobidzhan. One consequence of this new policy was the appearance of many independent Jewish culture associations in all parts of the country. With the simultaneous removal of the ban on discussion in the media of all issues relating to Jews, the number of publications and broadcasts on Jewish topics increased astronomically. The majority of them dealt with domestic concerns rather than the previously common condemnations of Israel. Furthermore, events in the Middle East began to be treated by Soviet journalists in a more objective manner, with Soviet coverage occasionally appearing to be more pro-Israeli than that in the West.

In 1988–1989 almost all remaining veteran refuseniks were given permission to emigrate and the emigration process itself was considerably simplified. The authorities practically ceased persecuting, or even condemning, those who wished to emigrate. Former Soviet citizens living in Israel and the United States, including former Jewish activists, were allowed the possibility of visiting their former homeland without hindrance. Previously minuscule, permitted tourism of Soviet Jews abroad, including to Israel, began to develop. The 1991 law on entrance to and exit from the U.S.S.R. not only guaranteed the right of all Soviet citizens to travel abroad but also allowed people to emigrate permanently without losing their Soviet passports (as was previously the case with emigrants who "repatriated" to Israel). It also specified timetables and procedures for handling emigration documents so that Soviet emigration legislation finally corresponded with international norms.

Cultural ties between the Soviet Union and Israel began to flourish and, soon thereafter, economic cooperation as well. A series of bilateral diplomatic contacts led in December 1990 to the exchange of consular delegations and one year later to the establishment of full diplomatic relations. The Soviet ambassador to Israel, Alexander Bovin, was the last emissary named by Gorbachev before the formal liquidation of the U.S.S.R. and he remained as the Russian ambassador.

Changes occurred also in the social status and employment profile of Soviet Jewry. Secret restrictions on the acceptance of Jews into institutions of higher education, graduate study, prestigious work, and so on were withdrawn. Jews increasingly appeared among Soviet scientists and cultural figures visiting the West and Israel. Although their numbers hardly increased in the top echelons of Soviet power – the Central Committee of the Communist Party, the government, the army high command, and the diplomatic corps – the number of Jews in secondary positions rose, for example, among government advisers.

There was a perceptible increase in the activity of Jews in social and political life, where a majority of such activists belonged to the liberal democratic forces. Fifteen Jews were elected to the national congress of People's Deputies of the U.S.S.R. in 1989. The following year 15 Jews passed the first round of elections in the rsfsr, and 9 of them actually became deputies to the Russian Congress of People's Deputies. Some Jews, especially in the Russian hinterland, were elected to local city and all-Russian government councils. Jews actively participated in the fights for the general democratization of the Soviet Union, the rights of national minorities, liberalization of the economy, and protection of the environment. There were many Jews among the radically oriented journalists. However, in rare cases, Jews such as the secretary of the board of the Writers' Union of Russia, Anatolii Salutskii, supported Russian nationalist trends.

Jewish Life

During the period of glasnost, Jewish social and cultural life came to involve many people throughout Russia and the other Soviet republics. This activity was influenced both by the increase of national consciousness among other peoples in the U.S.S.R. and by the growing contacts between Soviet Jews and Israel.

On May 21–22, 1989, a meeting of 120 people representing approximately 50 Jewish social and cultural organizations from 34 Soviet cities took place in Riga. The final document adopted by participants expressed their determination to defend the rights of Soviet Jews to free emigration to Israel and to cultural autonomy within the Soviet Union. The delegates called for the establishment of diplomatic relations between the U.S.S.R. and Israel and the repeal of un Resolution 3379 which equated Zionism with racism. In the same year 490 delegates took part in a congress of Lithuanian Jews, which elected a Council of Jewish Communities of the republic.

A congress of Jewish community organizations from all over the country took place in Moscow in December 1989. Delegates from approximately 200 bodies and many guests from abroad, including the chairman of the Jewish Agency, Simcha Dinitz, were present. A national umbrella organization – the Council of Jewish Culture Associations of the U.S.S.R. (Vaad) – was established with three co-chairmen, Mikhail Chlenov (Moscow), Yosef Zisels (Chernovtsy), and Samuil Zilberg (Riga). After the dissolution of the U.S.S.R., a Russian Vaad was established at a congress in Nizhni Novgorod in April 1992.

Official, i.e., state-promoted, Jewish figures who, before perestroika, had exercised a legal monopoly in representing Soviet Jewry found themselves forced to compete with independent Jewish organizations. One example of the ill-fated effort by these court Jews to sustain their influence took place in early 1989 when a group of people close to the editor of Sovetish Heymland founded the short-lived Association of Activists and Friends of Jewish Culture.

Both the leaders of Vaad and the "official" Jewish spokesmen became involved in efforts to resolve the Middle East conflict. With this aim in April 1990 Mikhail Chlenov met with plo executive committee member, Abu Mazen, while in July former members of the Soviet Public Anti-Zionist Committee announced the establishment of a Peace Today committee (ostensibly on the model of the Israeli Peace Now organization), with its stated goal of facilitating Jewish-Arab dialogue. The second congress of Vaad in January 1991 condemned contacts between the Soviet government and the plo.

During the August 1991 crisis, Vaad chairman Chlenov did not openly criticize the coup leaders but restricted himself to an expression of concern about the future of Jewish organizations, the possible curtailment of emigration, and the danger of antisemitism.

In contrast to Vaad, the opposing wing of Jewish public life is composed of those who consider any Jewish activity in the country either unnecessary or actually harmful unless it is directed toward preparing Soviet Jewry for immigration to Israel. In August 1989 the Hebrew teacher Lev Gorodetskii announced the founding in Moscow of the Zionist Organization in the Soviet Union, which soon opened branches in Leningrad, Riga, Vilnius, Kiev, and Kharkov. Many Zionist youths groups, such as Ha-Shomer ha-Ẓa'ir, Dror, Betar, Maccabi, and Rabim, also began functioning.

A significant feature in Jewish life was the commemoration of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust on the territory of the Soviet Union. This involved groups of Jewish veterans of World War ii and concentration camp survivors. In Riga, Vilnius, Leningrad, Minsk, and many other sites, on the anniversaries of mass executions of Jews there, and even in cities which the Nazis did not occupy, increasing numbers of Soviet Jews had been gathering for memorial meetings on Holocaust and Heroism Day (the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising). In September 1989 official permission was granted for the first time for such a meeting at *Babi Yar, organized by the Kiev Jewish community. Among the participants were local Party and government officials, leaders of the Ukrainian national movement, and the Church. Finally, after many years, an inscription was placed on the monument indicating, in Russian and in Yiddish, that Jews were the main victims at Babi Yar.

By late 1989, there were almost 200 Jewish associations, clubs, and culture centers in, among other places: Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, Leningrad, Cheliabinsk, Tashkent, Donetsk, Baku, Kharkov, Lvov, Chernovtsy, Kiev, Kishinev, Odessa, Minsk, Bobruisk, and Krasnoyarsk. Kiev in late 1989 had 12 different Jewish organizations, including cultural, religious, and even musical groups. In Kishinev the Menora cooperative was established in April 1989; there hundreds of people have studied Hebrew and the fundamentals of Judaism. Tbilisi even granted official recognition to the Aviv association whose goal was to prepare Jews for aliyah. Riga Jews have (since July 1988) a culture association, a Yiddish school, and a society for Latvian-Israeli friendship while Vilnius has its own culture association and branches of Betar, B'nai B'rith, and Maccabi.

The greatest number of Jewish culture organizations were concentrated in Moscow. These included: Iggud morim (the Association of Teachers of Hebrew, founded 1988), the Association for Friendship and Cultural Ties with Israel (abbreviated odiski, summer 1988), the Moscow Jewish Culture and Education Association (mekpo, September 1987), the Jewish Culture Association, the Gesher youth association, and the Youth Center for Studying and Developing Jewish Culture (abbreviated mts-irk, 1988). Early 1988 saw the opening of the Solomon Mikhoels Jewish Culture Center and the Shalom Jewish Culture Center.

Efforts were undertaken to encourage the teaching and study of Jewish studies in the Soviet Union and, after 1991, in its successor, the Commonwealth of Independent States (cis). Seminars and conferences on Jewish history with the participation of foreign scholars were inaugurated in Moscow and elsewhere.

Jewish religious life ceased to be persecuted. In February 1989, at the initiative of the Israeli rabbi and scholar Adin Steinsaltz, a yeshivah, under the official name of the Center for the Study of Judaism, was established with the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. Other yeshivot and Torah-study groups sprang up in a number of cities. Among the teachers were a number of Lubavitch Ḥasidim from Israel, who had formerly been Soviet citizens.

Owing to the lack of trained rabbis, except in Moscow and Leningrad/St. Petersburg, some American rabbis began serving as the spiritual leaders of the main republic synagogues. The national-religious stream in Judaism was represented by Maḥanaim (Hebrew for "two camps"), which had centers in Moscow and Jerusalem. The Bnei Akiva Orthodox Jewish youth movement became active in several localities, and in April 1990, for the first time, a progressive (Reform) group, Ineni (Hebrew Hineni or "here I am") was registered in Moscow. Camp Ramah, of the Conservative movement, also began to operate. In 1990–1991 Jewish religious holidays were celebrated in public places, including the Palace of Congresses in the Kremlin! Starting in 1992, Russian television began broadcasting programs on basic tenets of Judaism. A number of synagogues confiscated under Stalin were returned to their communities. Nonetheless, it would still be premature to speak of a real religious revival. The majority of newly-observant Jews have been emigrating and the Jewish communities do not have the means to either refurbish or maintain their recently regained synagogues.

In connection with the emigration of many nationally oriented Jews, by early 1990 there had been a decline of interest in Jewish culture in the U.S.S.R. A number of Jewish periodicals had ceased appearing and fewer people attended lectures on Jewish history. Interest not only waned in the recently established libraries of the culture centers and synagogues, but those books in demand were increasingly limited to Hebrew study guides and material on aliyah and absorption in Israel. The growth in the number of Jewish organizations was accompanied by a decrease in the membership of each of them. At the same time the Jewish elite intelligentsia remained uninvolved in Jewish life.

Israeli and Western Jewish organizations initiated and supported local Jewish institutions and associations. Consequently, the period of amateurs passed – to be replaced by the growth of a significant group of professional Jewish activists directly or indirectly subsidized from abroad. In this environment of support from abroad organizations proliferated, sometimes duplicating existing ones and occasionally being even basically fictitious. In Moscow alone, in 1992 there were several hundred groups. Soviet Jewry, which lacked the experience of autonomous and self-supporting community life, was not able to support its own institutions on the basis of voluntary contributions. This factor lent a somewhat unstable character to the considerable activity that was indeed taking place.

At the same time, some Jewish organizations in Russia and the republics, first of all Vaad, were attempting to chart an independent course while simultaneously trying to gain influence in the international Jewish bodies which provide some of their financing. In May 1991 Vaad became a member of the World Jewish Congress and also had representatives at the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture based in New York. In June 1992 at the 32nd World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem, a Vaad delegation and the Zionist Federation of Russia demanded to be represented in all key bodies of the World Zionist Organization, which did not agree. There was also a conflict between Vaad and the Jewish Agency since the latter's goal for Soviet Jewry is maximum aliyah; Vaad was mainly interested in Jewish revival in Russia and would also have liked Jews who emigrate to be viewed as part of a Russian-Jewish cultural community rather than have them seen only as part of their new host communities, e.g., Israel and American Jewry.

emigration and aliyah

The number of emigrants fell from 51,300 in 1979 to 1,320 in 1983. Then until 1986 the annual number of exit visas granted hovered around 1,000. Already in the banner year 1979 it was obvious that approximately two thirds of the emigrants preferred the United States to Israel as their destination. America automatically granted them the status of refugees persecuted on ethnic or religious grounds. The greater part of those who went directly to the U.S. without trying Israel came from the more assimilated regions of the rsfsr and the Ukraine; a small proportion came from the territories annexed by the Soviet Union during World War ii and from non-Ashkenazi Jewish communities. Between 1983 and 1986 the proportion of those who went to the U.S. rather than Israel fluctuated between 59 and 78 percent. This situation was viewed with alarm by those Jewish activists within the Soviet Union who had fought for emigration under the banner of "repatriation" to Israel. The refusenik circles in Moscow and Leningrad then succeeded in somewhat lowering these two cities' proportion of "dropouts," as they were called by Israelis and Israel-oriented activists, in contrast to other centers of assimilation where pressure to consider aliyah was less effective.

In 1987 the number of Soviet Jews emigrating was nine times that of the previous year. In 1988 almost 17,000 Soviet Jews took advantage of the increased opportunity to emigrate directly to the U.S., Canada, Australia, and elsewhere rather than Israel.

Processes that increased under perestroika, such as the lack of basic commodities, environmental dangers, and the increase of overt antisemitism, encouraged almost everyone to consider emigration. The fact that the gates of emigration were open, combined with the fear that they might close again at any time, moved thousands of Jews from all over the country to leave. The number who emigrated between 1988 and 1990 rose dramatically. The vast majority chose to make their new homes elsewhere than in Israel. In this situation Israel demanded that those Jews who were leaving the Soviet Union on Israeli invitations go only to Israel and that the American government cease granting the status of refugees to Jews who were leaving the U.S.S.R. under the status of repatriates to Israel. After long negotiations on this issue, in October 1989 the American government introduced a quota on immigrants from the U.S.S.R. and ceased automatically granting refugee status to Israeli invitation holders. One result was the closing of the Italian transit camp at Ladispoli, the way station to the U.S. of a large number of Jews from the U.S.S.R. Another was the fundamental redirection of Soviet Jewish emigration. A more objective picture of Israel in the Soviet media and enthusiastic reports about Israel from Soviet tourists who visited that country also led to a sharp increase in the number of Jews emigrating to Israel. In 1990 over 185,000 Soviet Jewish emigrants went to Israel, establishing a record annual rate for immigration to Israel from a single country.

In late 1989 the rate of emigration had been limited by the capacity of Soviet ovir offices, customs, and transportation facilities and by the rate of dispatch of visas from Israel. Bucharest and Budapest served as transit points. By the summer of 1990, the pressure somewhat declined as the process of sending Israeli visas was speeded up and additional routes to Israel were established via Poland, Czechoslovakia, Finland, and other European countries. These emergency measures considerably increased the flow despite attempts by the Palestine Liberation Organization to sabotage the Hungarian and Polish airlines and the refusal of the Soviet Union to allow direct flights to Israel. However, this last obstacle was removed with the normalization of diplomatic relations between Israel and the U.S.S.R. Direct flights were then inaugurated from Moscow, Leningrad, and some republic capitals to Israel.

In 1991–1992 word of the difficulties of absorption into Israeli life and the growing percentage of non-Jews included in the Jewish emigration as parts of mixed families once again turned a not insignificant proportion of the emigration toward the U.S., Germany, and other countries.

Among the immigrants to Israel, the median age increased annually while the number of children per family decreased. The percentage of non-Jews also increased. These features reflect demographic processes in the country of emigration. Serious problems in the absorption of these immigrants in Israel stem from two basic problems: the gap between their professional profiles and the needs of the Israel economy; the lack of Jewish traditions and knowledge among most of the immigrants.

[Michael Beizer]

In the Russian Federation

Russian Jewry faced a new reality after the breakup of the U.S.S.R. at the end of 1991 and the creation of the Russian Federation, where most of the Jews who remained in the former Soviet Union after the years of mass emigration would continue to live. From the outset, the policy of the Russian government became even more liberal. Direct flights were begun from Moscow and St. Petersburg (the former Leningrad) to Israel. The Russian government even agreed to allow the Jewish Agency to operate in the Soviet Union. In 1992 the vice president of Russia, Alexander Rutskoi, the chairman of the Russian parliament, Ruslan Khasbulatov, and former president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, all visited Israel.

The 1993–94 period in Russia was characterized by a protracted economic crisis, rampant inflation, decreasing living standards, rising crime rate and political instability. The growing confrontation between the presidency and the conservative legislature led in October 1993 to President Yeltsin's order to dissolve parliament. The armed rebellion by supporters of the parliament was suppressed by forces loyal to the president; about 150 people were killed in the clashes. In the wake of the Parliament insurrection, 15 conservative and radical-right press organs were temporarily suspended by Yeltsin's order.

The parliamentary elections which were held in December 1993 unexpectedly brought an impressive victory to V. Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party of Russia. In 1991, Zhirinovsky, an aggressive nationalist and chauvinist, who had not been conspicuous before, obtained several million votes and finished third in the presidential election in which Yeltsin triumphed. In 1993 his ldpr captured the second-largest number of seats in the Duma, the lower house. The other big faction in the Duma comprised the Communists and the pro-Communist Agrarian Party. The victory of the hardliners marked a turn to a more conservative approach in government policy, both domestic and foreign.

In December 1994 Russian troops launched an offensive against rebel forces in the breakaway autonomous republic of Chechnya, in the northern Caucasus.

relations between russia and israel

After the dissolution of the U.S.S.R., Russia succeeded the Soviet Union in many matters concerning the Middle East. The former embassy of the U.S.S.R. in Israel, with Alexandr Bovin as ambassador, became the embassy of the Russian Federation.

Normal relations continued between the two countries during the 1992–93 period. Russian authorities did not hinder activities of Israeli organizations, nor of the Jewish Agency in Russia. Economic and scientific cooperation developed between Russia and Israel. Israeli Aircraft Industries and the Aerospace Design Office of Russia launched the joint project of the Galaxy plane. In December 1994, the first meeting of the Joint Russian-Israeli Commission on Scientific and Technical Cooperation took place in Moscow; a number of other joint projects were discussed, e.g., in such areas as telecommunication systems, medical technology, and environment protection.

In April 1994, Israel Prime Minister Yiẓḥak Rabin visited Moscow officially, and in the following years relations between the two countries remained friendly, with Prime Minister Ehud Barak visiting Moscow in 2000 and President Vladimir Putin visiting Israel in 2005. With Russia embroiled in largely Muslim Chechnya, its standing in the Arab world declined and it found itself aligned with Israel in the war against Arab terrorism. At the same time, Russian missile sales to Syria and aid to Iran's nuclear program were sources of friction between the two countries. Not insignificant in the close relations between the two countries was the existence of a kind of Russian diaspora of a million Russian Jews in Israel. Israeli exports to the Russian Federation were $319 million in 2004 while imports stood at $688 million (two thirds of this was in diamonds).

demography

The mass emigration begun in 1989 continued throughout the 1990s, only tailing off in 2002. Estimates based on the last three census returns for the area of the Russian Federation (see Tolts, 2004) show a decline in the "core" (self-declared) Jewish population from 570,000 in 1989 to 409,000 in 1994, and 254,000 in 2002. The figure further dropped to around 243,000 in 2004 (out of a total 395,000 for the former Soviet Union as a whole). In 2002, about half lived in the provinces, a third in Moscow, and a sixth in St. Petersburg. The overwhelming majority of Jews emigrating from the Russian Federation, as well as from the former Soviet Union as a whole, arrived in Israel, though the proportion of actual Jews among Russian emigrants to Israel dropped from 82 percent in 1992 to 43 percent in 2002, largely reflecting mixed marriages. By 2004 about half the "core" Jewish population of the former Soviet Union was living in Israel, a quarter in the FSU, and a quarter in other countries, mostly the United States and Germany.

the revival of jewish life

For the Jews who remained behind, in the Russian Federation as well as in the former Soviet Union as a whole, the post-Communist period was one of organizational growth and diversification of Jewish life. The conception of Jewish life broadened; in a legal form, it started in 1989–91 as a cluster of "Jewish Culture Associations" and "Societies for Jewish Culture" in various cities throughout the U.S.S.R.; their aim was limited to the study and preservation of Jewish culture and history. By 1993–94 the network of the primary Jewish organizations in Russia included such bodies as: religious communities, social relief organizations, educational institutes, unions of Jewish war veterans and of the survivors of the Holocaust, research groups, Zionist organizations, branches of the Maccabi organizations, etc. There were, for example, 60 Jewish organizations in St. Petersburg alone in 1994, including: three religious communities – mainstream Orthodox, Chabad and Reform; the Jewish Association of St. Petersburg (jasp, playing the role of an umbrella organization); the Holocaust Research Group, affiliated to the jasp; the Ḥesed Avraham Welfare Center for the elderly; the Eva charity fund; the Children's Fund; local branches of Bnei Akiva, Maccabi and the International Association of Jewish businessmen; the Union of Jewish War Veterans; five day schools, four Sunday schools, four kindergartens and a Jewish university. The question of coordinating their activities was urgent.

There continued to be a cleavage between the organizations aiming to revive diversified Jewish community life in Russia, and the aliyah-oriented organizations, which regarded reviving the non-Zionist community as useless and even harmful. The first type of organization was supported by the Joint Distribution Committee (jdc) and, organizationally, by the World Jewish Congress (wjc); the latter by the World Zionist Organization (wzo). The majority of the Jewish organizations set up in Russia in the 1990s have been nonreligious. The head of the Moscow Jewish Religious Community, Vladimir Fedorovsky, complained in an interview to Mezhdunarodnaia evreiskaia gazeta in 1993 that the synagogue had ceased to be the center of Jewish life; Jews of Moscow preferred organizations oriented toward Israel and aliyah.

The leading body of Russian Jewry was the Council of Jewish Cultural Organizations (Vaad), which was established in April 1992, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, to succeed the Vaad of the U.S.S.R. Mikhail Chlenov, the former head of the all-Union Vaad, became its chairman, with Roman Spektor as deputy. The Vaad was recognized by the World Jewish Congress; in 1993 its delegation participated in the meeting of the Congress in Washington, together with the representatives of the Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia and Uzbekistan; it was the first case in which Russian Jewry and the Jewries of other former Soviet republics were represented at such an assembly. The Eurasian section of the wjc, embracing the Jewish organizations of the cis, was formed, and Chlenov became its chairman.

Another umbrella organization was set up in February 1993 at the first Congress of Jewish Communities and Organizations in Russia whose purpose was to unite communities of different directions, both Orthodox and liberal. The newly formed body was named the Congress of Jewish Religious Communities and Organizations in Russia (keroor; in 1994 its name was shortened to the Congress of Jewish Communities in Russia) and Vladimir Fedorovsky became its president.

An internal split in the Vaad emerged in 1993 and became open in 1994. The conflict flared up over the issue of the structure of the Vaad – whether it should be a federation of Jewish organizations throughout Russia, or of regional federations of Jewish organizations which should be set up, whose supreme coordinating organ would be the Vaad. The roots of the conflict were in fact much deeper; it marked a discontent between the old leadership which depended financially and organizationally on the support of Israel and Western Jewish organizations, and new leaders, businessmen, who partially subsidized Jewish activities in Russia and wanted to influence the Vaad. Besides, unlike the old leaders, who had been political dissidents in the Soviet period and based the Vaad on the pre-1990s underground Jewish network, some of these new leaders had had some administrative experience, and some had even been nominees of the Soviet authorities of 1989–91, and hence had better relations with the authorities in 1993–94.

At the beginning of 1993, there were 32 Jewish communities in Russia. Restitution of synagogues confiscated by the authorities in the Soviet period continued. The network of Jewish education in Russia also grew; seminars and courses for teachers were conducted in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and elsewhere. By the early 21st century, Russia had 17 Jewish day schools, 11 preschools, and 81 supplementary schools with about 7,000 students, as well as four Jewish universities (see below). Chabad had stepped up its presence and made a significant contribution to rebuilding Jewish religious life. In 1998 Russia became part of the newly established Federation of Jewish Communities uniting 15 countries of the former Soviet Union and aiming to revitalize Jewish life, culture, and religion. Berel Lazar of Chabad was chief rabbi of Russia and chairman of the Rabbinical Alliance, founded in 1992 to spearhead religious life in the former Soviet Union. Chabad also founded the Association of Jewish Public Organizations in 2002 as a rival to the Conference of Leaders of Jewish Organizations, affiliated with the Russian Jewish Congress.

the jewish press

At the beginning of the 1980s, the total legal Jewish press in the U.S.S.R. amounted to two publications in Yiddish: the Moscow Jewish monthly journal Sovetish Heymland and the Birobidzhan newspaper Birobidzhaner Shtern, plus an annual in the Judeo-Tat language, Vata Sovetimu. Issued in languages not understood by the majority of Soviet Jews and consisting largely of propaganda, the existence of these publications was intended to demonstrate that "Jewish culture" was permitted in the Soviet Union.

Attempts in refusenik circles to establish illegal publications were strictly repressed and led to the gradual curtailment of all Jewish samizdat publishing. Evrei v sssr ("Jews in the U.S.S.R.," Moscow) ceased publication in 1979, Nash ivrit ("Our Hebrew," Moscow) in 1980, Din umetsiiut ("Justice and Reality," Riga) in 1980, Evrei sovremennon mire ("Jews in the Contemporary World," Moscow) in 1981. The Riga journal Chaim, which appeared irregularly starting in 1979, could not fill the vacuum due to its minuscule print run and its distance from the main Jewish centers. An exception was Leningradskii evreiskii almanakh ("Leningrad Jewish Almanac," abbreviated lea) which first came out in late 1982, at the height of the repressions, and succeeded in appearing regularly from 1984 to 1989. This publication focused on cultural and historical articles written by Leningrad refuseniks. Due to the size of its print run (up to 200, which was large for a samizdat publication) and its effective system of distribution, lea succeeded in reaching distant corners of the country and in demonstrating the need for an independent Jewish press.

Change came with the beginning of the general liberalization in the country. In 1987–1988 several Moscow samizdat journals appeared. There were Evreiskii istoricheskii almankah ("Jewish Historical Almanac") and Shalom with their cultural orientation, and several publications dealing with such topics as aliyah and absorption in Israel: Informatsionnyi biulleten po problemam repatriatsii i evreiskoi kultury ("Information Bulletin of Problems of Repatriation and Jewish Culture"), Paneninu le-Israel ("Looking towards Israel"), and Problemy otkaza v vyezde iz strany ("Problems of Refusal Regarding Exit from the Country").

There was also a revolution in terms of the technology of publication. While the first illegal publications were typed in multiple copies (occasionally copies were made via photography), the samizdat publications of the transitional period were produced on personal computers from abroad and photocopied so that print runs were dramatically increased. Several publications were printed in Israel and sent back to the Soviet Union for distribution. In December 1988 the first legally permitted independent Jewish newspaper, Khash-akhar, was issued in Tallinn by the local Jewish culture association. This publication was typeset and appeared not only in Estonian, but also in Russian, which made it accessible to almost all of Soviet Jewry. Its print run was over 1,000 and it soon gained a reputation throughout the country.

In Moscow in April 1989 the authorities launched the semiofficial Vestnkik evreiskoi sovetskoi kultury ("Herald of Soviet Jewish Culture," abbreviated vesk) in an attempt to compete with the independent Jewish press. After a year which saw a change of editor and of name – to Evreiskaia gazeta ("Jewish Newspaper") – this publication gained more of an independent status.

In Riga in March 1990, there appeared Vestnik evreiskoi kultury ("Herald of Jewish Culture," vek). In 1990 Jewish newspapers in Russian with real Jewish content began to appear in Kiev (Vozrozhdenie, "Revival"), Leningrad (Narodmoi, "My People"), Kishinev (Nash golos, "Our Voice"), Tashkent (Mizrakh, "Orient"), Moscow (Menora), Vilnius (Litovskii Ierusalim, "Jerusalem of Lithuania"), and elsewhere. These newspapers all gained legal status while those which were issued without permission ceased being persecuted. Thus the distinction between samizdat and permitted publications was erased.

Sovetish Heymland softened its hard-line policy and began to publish more cultural and historical material. In 1990–1991 the former editor of Birobidzhaner Shtern, Leonid Shkolnik, began the independent newspaper Vzgliad ("View"), which included many items of Jewish interest.

The geographical distribution and sharply increased print runs, the increased scope of topics treated, and the widely understood Russian language of the majority of publications have made the new Jewish press a significant factor in the formation of Jewish national consciousness and a source of elementary Jewish knowledge for many thousands of people. The press has also become a source of information about emigration and aliyah, and both a mirror and monitor of Jewish life in the country. The very fact of the legalization of the Jewish press has made a deep impression on the average Jews who saw that it was no longer necessary to fear public expression of Jewish life.

However, there is also a negative side to the picture. A number of Jewish periodicals ceased publication after their first issues. Few managed to appear more frequently than once a month and the promised periodicity was often not maintained. The professional level of the Jewish press was frequently low. Articles on Jewish culture and history were often reprints or translations from abroad. Factual errors reflecting a lack of basic knowledge of Jewish traditions, Jewish history, and Hebrew among both authors and editors appeared in many articles. These problems stemmed from the lack of publishing experience of those involved, the lack of qualified authors with some Jewish expertise, the difficulties of publication in the Soviet Union, and the considerable turnover of staff as active members of Jewish culture associations often emigrated.

In 1989 the Jewish press consisted of at least 30 publications; more than half of these appeared in Russia, the majority of them in Moscow. Over the following three years, due to the growing role of the Jewish press in the Ukraine, the undisputed dominance of Russia declined while Moscow continued to dominate the scene in Russia. Late 1991 saw the demise of Sovetish Heymland. In the same year, at least 50 Jewish newspapers and journals appeared, with at least one in practically every republic and some in cities in the hinterland. The Jewish press of the cis represents a whole range of religious and political orientations, with Israeli and Western organizations sometimes supporting publications which favor their policies. This latter factor suggests some doubts not only about the spontaneity of the Jewish publication boom as well as its actual scope but also about its future.

By 1990–91 there were 47 periodicals published in Russia (among them, 26 in Moscow). In 1992–93 their number shrank to 28 (17 in Moscow). This decline may be attributed to the large-scale emigration of Russian Jews, and to growing economic hardships accompanied by a sharp rise in publishing costs. Only those publications had a chance to survive which received financial support from abroad – either from Israel, or from Diaspora, mainly North American, Jewish organizations.

The most influential and widely circulating Jewish newspaper in Russia was Mezhdunarodnaia evreiskaia gazeta ("The International Jewish Newspaper"), the successor of vesk (see above), which made efforts to mirror not only Russian-Jewish life, but also Jewish life in the entire area of the former Soviet Union. The paper was published in Moscow, twice a month, by Tankred Golenpolskii and Eliezer Feldman. The most popular Jewish newspaper in St. Petersburg continued to be Narod moi – Ami, published by the Jewish Association of St. Petersburg, also twice a month. In the northern Caucasus region, the most conspicuous newspaper was Vatan-Rodina ("The Homeland"), published twice a week by Mikhail Gavrielov in Derbent, Daghestan, in Judeo-Tat (the language of the Mountain Jews) and Russian. Among other relatively widely circulating newspapers were: Tarbut ("Culture," in Samara, formerly Kuibyshev), Stern-Zvezda ("The Star," in Ekaterinburg, formerly Sverdlovsk), and from July 1993 on, Gazeta evreev Severnovo Kavkaza ("The Newspaper of the Jews in the North Caucasus," Nalchik, Karbardino-Balkaria). The Birobidzhaner Shtern ("The Birobidzhan Star") continued to be published in Yiddish and Russian in the Jewish Autonomous Region. The magazine Sovetish Heymland in 1993 changed its title to Di Yiddishe Gass ("The Jewish Street") and continued to appear in Russian and Yiddish. Papers were published by Jewish organizations abroad e.g., Rodnik ("The Spring," or "Source," by the World Union of Progressive Judaism), Lekhaim ("To Life," by the international Jewish organization Chabad-Lubavitch), and several papers, by the Jewish Agency. Jewish newspapers were also issued in Briansk, Novosibirsk, and Perm. Two academic Jewish journals were published: Vestnik Evreiskovo Universiteta v Moskve ("Herald of the Moscow Jewish University"), from 1992 on, and Vreiskaia Shkola ("Jewish School"), issued by the St. Petersburg University, both supported by the jdc.

academic life

One of the most remarkable developments in Russia (as well as in some other countries of the cis) in the field of Jewish life was the emerging and broadening of Jewish higher education and Jewish studies. The Moscow Jewish University has been functioning since 1991; in 1993 it gained official status, i.e., the right to give officially recognized university degrees to its graduates. In 1990, the St. Petersburg Jewish University was established; in 1994 it gained the right to give degrees in philology. Departments of Jewish Studies were opened in some old established universities: courses in Judaic studies were established at Moscow State University in 1993; the School for the Comparative Study of Religions, including Judaism, was set up in the Russian State Humanitarian University in Moscow.

antisemitism and the jewish question

During the years of perestroika, covert but effective state and bureaucratic antisemitism gradually declined while there was a rise in grass-roots anti-Jewish trends. The protracted economic crisis and weakening of the central authority produced populist spokesmen who found it easier to cast blame for all the failures of the country, past and present, on various ethnic groups, especially the Jews, than to offer practical solutions for the dire straits of the country. One factor feeding antisemitism was envy stemming from the reality that Jews could emigrate while for Russians this way out was basically barred. Further oil on the flame was the fact that Jews could now visit relatives abroad and receive material aid from them.

With glasnost Soviet Jewry began encountering overt antisemitism in the press and on television, in the pamphlets of political parties, in conversations at work places, on the street and on public transport. Antisemitic parties and organizations sprang up like mushrooms. These included: Pamiat (Memory), Rossy (the [Original] Russians), Patriot, Rodina (Homeland), Otechestvo (Fatherland), Nationalnodemokraticheskaia partiia (National Democratic Party), Russkii nationalno-patrioticheskii tsentr (the Russian National Patriotic Center), Soius russikh ofitserov (the Union of Russian Officers), and Republikanskaia narodnaia partiia Rossii (the Republic People's Party of Russia). The year 1989 saw the establishment of the neo-Communist movement Obediennyi front trudiashchikhsia R.S.F.S.R. (the United Front of the Workers of the R.S.F.S.R.) and in 1991 its spinoff, Rossiiskaia kommunisticheskaia rabochaia partiia (the Russian Communist Workers' Party), which espoused antisemitism as an organic part of their ideology. About this time Vladimir Zhirinovskii became leader of the rightist populist group which called itself Liberalno-demokraticheskaia partiia Rossii (the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia).

The Pamiat Association, originally a conservative movement concerned about the preservation of Russia's past and its environment, became more nationalistic in 1984 when its leadership was taken over by photographer Dmitrii Vasilev. The movement gained notoriety when it blamed Jews for the destruction of Russian churches, and for the serious problem of alcoholism in the country. Originally the authorities did not object to Pamiat's activities and even supported them. In May 1987 Boris Yeltsin, then first secretary of the Moscow city committee of the cpsu, received representatives of Pamiat after a demonstration it staged on Manezh Square. On May 31, 1988, Vasilev announced the transformation of the association into Nationalno-patrioticheskii front "Pamiat" (Pamiat: the National Patriotic Front), i.e., a political organization in opposition to the Communist Party. Between 1989 and the early 1990s, Pamiat split into several groups, the most extreme of which, Pravoslavnyi nationalnopatrioticheskii front "Pamiat" (Pamiat Orthodox National Patriotic Front), headed by A. Kulakov, espoused restoration of the monarchy while simultaneously expounding the necessity of continuing Stalin's antisemitic policy.

Antisemitism has not been confined to words. Acts of vandalism have been directed against Jewish targets. In April 1987 the Leningrad Jewish cemetery was desecrated and in the following two years approximately 30 such incidents were recorded in the U.S.S.R. In Moscow attacks were carried out against a Jewish cafe and the editorial offices of Sovetish Heymland and arson was committed at the synagogue by the cemetery in Malakhovka. In 1992 a swastika was painted on the Moscow Lubavitch Ḥasidic synagogue and a firebomb was thrown into the building.

Leningrad, the home of a number of antisemitic organizations, became the center of antisemitism in 1988–1990. It was a teacher at the Leningrad Technological Institute, Nina Andreeva who, evidently on orders from the central Committee of the cpsu, on March 13, 1988, published a letter, "I Can Not Yield My Principles," calling for the rehabilitation of Stalin and the restoration of the kind of law and order that existed before perestroika. In her letter Andreeva attacked the Jews as "cosmopolitans" and a "counterrevolutionary people," who were pushing the Russian people toward a rejection of socialism. In the summer of 1988 Leningrad's Ruminatsev Park was the daily site of Pamiat rallies. The city also regularly heard calls to expel Jews from Russian scientific, cultural, and educational institutions.

In nationalist journals such as Molodaia gvardiia ("Young Guard") and Nash sovremennik ("Our Contemporary"), a group of Moscow writers and journalists, the neo-Slavophiles Valentin Rasputin, Vasillii Belov, Victor Astafev, and Vadim Kozhinov, utilized the traditionally high status of the writer in Russian society to protest ostensibly harmful Jewish influence on Russian culture. For example, they condemned the 1989 publication in the journal Oktober of the novella Vse techet ("All Is Flowing") by the late writer of Jewish origin Vasili *Grossman, in which the Russian people is allegedly described as having a slave mentality. The January 1990 issue of Molodaia gvardiia contained praise of a painting, The Warning by Igor Borodin, which the journal claims shows an image of the biblical queen Esther who "after gaining power of the king in his bedroom, and also by clever machinations…urged [King] Artarxerxes to commit the bloody slaughter of 75,000 totally innocent people when there was no threat at all to the Jewish people." The painting (reproduced in the journal) shows Esther on her knees before the czar while under the throne are visible bloodied heads of famous figures of Russian and world culture and history. In 1992 Evreiskaia gazaeta reported the existence of 47 antisemitic newspapers and 9 such journals in Russia alone.

Some scientists also denigrated the Jews. Writing appeared denying Jewish contributions to science. A particular target was Albert Einstein, whose discoveries were consistently attributed to others, as in the 1988 monograph of Prof. A. Logunov about Henri Poincaré. The mathematician Igor Shafarevich published a book Rusofobia ("Russophobia"), in which a "small people" (for which read "the Jews") was blamed for all the troubles of a "great people," the Russians. In 1992 antisemitism among scientists was revealed in elections to the Russian Academy of Sciences. None of the Jews nominated to become members of the academy was elected, in contrast to the election of a number of Jews during the pre-Gorbachev "period of stagnation."

A significant indication of antisemitic attitudes between 1988 and 1990 was the repeated circulation of rumors about impending pogroms. The first such large-scale pogrom was predicted for June 1988 to coincide with the thousandth anniversary of the baptism of Russia. There were similar rumors in Dnepropetrovsk and other cities in the Ukraine before Easter 1989 and in Leningrad on the eve of elections to local and republic soviets on February 25, 1990. There were rumors of another pogrom set for May 5, 1990, the day of St. George, the patron saint for many nationalists. In that same month a Muslim mob burned and looted dozens of Armenian and Jewish homes in the Uzbek city of Andizhan. Although no exclusively Jewish pogrom took place, the number of reported attacks on individual Jews grew. Soviet Jews lacked confidence in the ability of the authorities to defend them in the face of failures to prevent or halt interethnic conflict in the republics or to halt the rise in crime in Russia itself.

At the same time that the Jewish population of the country was decreasing due to emigration, the Jewish question increasingly became an issue in the internal Soviet power struggle. In pre-election campaigns, the democratic press often indicated its sympathy for the Jews and stressed the antisemitism of their political opponents while Russian nationalists often branded as "Jews" anyone who advocated radical reform, the introduction of a market economy, or civil rights. These "Jews" in fact included such non-Jews as Politburo member Alexander Yakovlev; radical opposition leader in the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R., Yurii Afanasev; editor of the perestroika-oriented journal Ogonek, Vitalii Korotych; and even Boris Yeltsin.

Lithuanian, Ukrainian, and other nationalists saw the Jews in their republics as possible allies in their fight for self-determination against the central authorities and their local Jewish culture movements as forces opposing Russification. On May 28, 1989, a conference of the national movements of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia adopted a resolution condemning Soviet antisemitism in the past and present and calling for opposition to it. A similar resolution was adopted at its founding meeting in September 1989 by Rukh, the democratic national movement in the Ukraine.

The growing antisemitism disturbed the liberal part of the Russian intelligentsia, which saw in it a threat to the overall process of democratization in the country. The "pogromlike" atmosphere was first protested in an open letter by a group of Moscow intellectuals led by the philologist Sergei Lyosov and the physicist Sergei Tishchenko. Almost simultaneously (on June 7) the Leningrad historian Natalia Iukhneva spoke out in public about increasing antisemitism in Russian society. She associated this growth with the unequal position of Jews and Jewish culture in the U.S.S.R. and rejected as false and unjust the attempt to condemn Zionism along with antisemitism. Gradually articles against antisemitism began to be featured in many perestroika-oriented journals and newspapers. Some publications even took a positive rather than defensive approach to Jewish topics. For example, the Moscow journal Znamia in 1990–1991 published a whole series of articles on Jewish topics, including a translation of the story "Unto Death" by the Israeli writer Amos Oz. Public opinion also had the opportunity to be influenced by the first objective film on Israel shot in situ by Evgenii Kiselev and shown on Soviet television between August and October 1989. Due to the cessation of government funding for "anti-Zionist" works, a number of their authors, such as Dadiani, Vladimir Nosenko, Victor Magidson, and Adolf Eidelman, switched camps and became opponents of antisemitism, perhaps with the hope of support from Israeli and Western Jewish institutions.

The victory of democratic forces in the elections of local soviets in March 1990 led to the mobilization of law enforcement agencies against antisemitic agitation. For the first time in decades, the state prosecutor's office prosecuted antisemitic actions under article 174 of the Criminal Court of the rfsfr, which deals with the incitement of ethnic strife. The sentencing to a jail term of Pamiat leader Smirnov-Ostashvili (who committed suicide in prison) was viewed as a victory for democracy in the country. Public opinion was favorably influenced toward the Jews in August 1991 when one of the three victims killed defending democracy against the attempted coup turned out to be the young Jew Ilya Krichevskii. The fall 1991 repeal (supported by the Soviet Union) of the un resolution equating Zionism with racism also was a factor in deflating antisemitic propaganda.

In November 1992, almost a year after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the committee on human rights of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation inaugurated hearings on the problem of antisemitism in Russia. The committee concluded that there was a decline in antisemitic attitudes in Russian society in 1991–1992 and that antisemitic activity was basically restricted to extremist groups and parties. At the same time, legislative measures were discussed which, without infringing upon freedom of speech and the press, would stipulate punishment for arousing ethnic hatred. Antisemitism was increasingly being treated in Russia as not only a Jewish problem.

Though official, state antisemitism had virtually disappeared in post-Soviet Russia, it was adopted by numerous radical right parties and organizations, the greatest and most influential of which had now become the ldpr. Its leader, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who allegedly had a Jewish father and in 1989, for a short time, was a legal advisor of the Jewish Cultural Association Shalom (allegations he denied in the 1990s), claimed he was not an antisemite. Nevertheless, after the December election of 1993 he made a number of harshly antisemitic statements, some of them in a characteristically anti-Zionist guise. On March 4, 1994, he told Die Zeit: "Why are the Zionists so bad? … Because they weaken Russia. The American Jews make America strong but the Russian Jews make Russia weak. They do this so that they can leave for Israel … Our greatest problems are the Americans and the Zionists." In November, during a visit to the United States, Zhirinovsky told the un Correspondents' Association that "the majority of journalists who welcomed the [collapse of the Soviet Union] joyously are of Jewish nationality" and that new businesses in Russia were "headed by Jews and a lot of the population understand that most of the money in these banks and structures is dirty money." On October 21 he said in a speech to the parliament: "I tell the whole world: It is you from Tel Aviv and Washington who are doing everything bad that is happening to us."

Besides this big party, there are many small antisemitic parties and movements filling a spectrum between Russian-Orthodox conservative to neopagan, and from National Communist groups to Nazis. According to various estimates, there were c. 80–100 such organizations at the end of 1993. Some of them, e.g., the neo-Nazi Russian National Unity led by Aleksandr Barkashov (its members wear black uniforms with the swastika emblem), sought contacts and cooperation with similar neo-Nazi groups in Germany and other western countries. The specter of a "red-brown" alliance, i.e., between hardline communists and neo-Nazis, with viciously antisemitic slogans and aims, began to appear.

The most conspicuous antisemitic parties and organizations, apart from the ldpr and Barkashov's rnu, continued to be Pamiat, led by Dmitrii Vasiliev (see above), the imperialist National Salvation Front, the Russian National Council, led by the former kgb general Alexandr Sterligov, the St. Petersburg-based National Republican Party of Russia, led by Nikolai Lysenko, the neo-Communist Working Russia, led by Viktor Anpilov, and the quasi-Communist National Bolshevik Union, led by the writer Eduard Limonov.

The radical right and conservative press thrived. Some of the former Soviet official newspapers, such as Pravda, Sovetskaia Rossiia and Literaturnaia Rossiia, turned into conservative nationalist papers; the latter two devote considerable place to antisemitic articles, including the so-called "Zionist conspiracy against Russia." However, in May 1993, Pravda also published an article entitled "The satanic tribe – who is hiding behind the murder of novices?" which claimed that a Russian Orthodox priest and two novices who were killed during the Easter holiday had been the victims of a ritual murder. The article was denounced by the pro-Yeltsin newspaper Izvestiia and condemned by both the Russian and the U.S. governments; Pravda published an apology blaming the author of the article for inaccuracies.

In addition to these old established, relatively mass-circulation newspapers, numerous fringe newspapers, small with small circulations, but some with considerable ones, appeared. They are more openly antisemitic. Among the most prominent, Den/Zavtra may be mentioned. The paper was founded in 1992 under the title Den and edited by the novelist Aleksandr Prokhanov, one of the leaders of the National Salvation Front; in 1993, after it was banned by Yeltsin, in the wake of the Parliament insurrection, it changed its name to Zavtra. The second conspicuous antisemitic paper was Al-Quds, established in 1992 by a Palestinian businessman and self-proclaimed head of the "Palestinian Government in Exile," Shaaban Khafez Shaaban. Al-Quds specialized in publishing materials alleging a Zionist conspiracy against Russia and the Palestinian people. In late 1994 the paper was closed down by the authorities.

Following the Parliament insurrection in 1993, there were a number of anti-Yeltsin demonstrations and rallies, many of them with overtly antisemitic slogans. On November 7, 1994, in Moscow, on the 77th anniversary of the Russian October Revolution, a 15,000-strong rally of Communists was held in Lubyanka Square; some of the anti-government banners contained slogans attacking Jews, Zionists and the "Kike-Masonic conspiracy." On October 3, on the anniversary of the events of 1993, there was also a demonstration in St. Petersburg, at which anti-Jewish banners were displayed.

Russian antisemites did not limit themselves to rallies and demonstrations. There were numerous antisemitic incidents; e.g., in May 1993 Jewish cemeteries in St. Petersburg and Nizhni Novgorod were desecrated; in June, windows were broken and swastikas and anti-Jewish slogans daubed on the Moscow Choral Synagogue; in July the attack on the synagogue was repeated. In December the synagogue in Marina Roshcha district in Moscow was badly damaged in a fire. In 1994, Jewish cemeteries were desecrated in St. Petersburg (where 160 gravestones were desecrated), in Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Smolensk, Kazan, Klintsy, Briansk region, and Nizhni Novgorod. Several cases of racially motivated attacks on Jews were registered. On February 16, 1994, a firebomb was thrown into the office of the Committee for Repatriation to Israel in Novosibirsk; the office and adjoining library were badly damaged in the ensuing fire. In February, following the massacre of Muslims by a Jewish settler in a Hebron mosque, threats were made against the Jewish community and against the Derbent synagogue, in Daghestan. Also, there was street violence in Makhachkala, and on the local television the sheikh of Daghestan called for a jihad against the Jews. Numerous books of antisemitic content were published and an opinion survey of 1993 carried out by Robert Brym with the assistance of the All-Russian Center for Public Opinion Research (vtsiom), and covering also Ukraine and Belarus, revealed antisemitic perceptions, strong by North American standards. In Moscow, negative attitudes toward Jews were more widespread among older people, low-income earners and non-Russians. Eighteen percent of Muscovites believed that there existed a global "Zionist conspiracy" against Russia, and another 20 percent were undecided.

An added ingredient in the continued antisemitism that remained part of Russian life was the emergence of the so-called oligarchs, who divided up Russia's wealth and gained control of its media after the breakup of the Soviet Union. The Jews among them, most prominently Mikhail *Khodorkovsky, Roman *Abramovitch, Vladimir *Gusinsky, Boris *Berezovsky, and Leonid *Nevzlin, are perceived as having been targeted by the Russian authorities for prosecution for various economic crimes against the background of their Jewish origins.

[Michael Beizer /

Daniel Romanowski (2nd ed.)]

For information on the countries of the Former Soviet Union, see entries for individual countries.

bibliography:

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1970– : Y. Ro'i, in: ejyb 83–85:405–10; Y. Litvak, in: ejyb 86–87:363–70; R. Vago, in: ejyb 88–89:405–5; M. Beizer, in; ejyb 90–91:388–95; idem, in: The Shorter Encyclopaedia Judaica in Russian, Suppl. 1, (1992), 31–41; idem, in: Jews and Jewish Topics in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe (hereafter Jews and Jewish Topics), 2:12 (1990), 69–77; idem, in: Jews and Jewish Topics, 3:19 (1992) 62–77; T. Friedgut, in: Soviet Jewry in the 1980s (1989), 3–25; M. Altshuler, in: Jews and Jewish Topics, 2:9 (1989), 5–29; idem, in: Jews and Jewish Topics, 3:16 (1991), 224–40; Z. Gitelman, in: Soviet Jewish Affairs, 19:2 (1989), 3–4; Y. Florsheim, in: Jews and Jewish Topics, 2:15 (1991), 5–14; idem, in: Jews and Jewish Topics, 3:19 (1992), 5–15; M. Tolts, in: Jews and Jewish Topics, 2:18 (1991), 13–26; idem, in: East European Jewish Affairs, 22:2 (1992), 3–19; A. Greenbaum, in: ejyb 90–91:179–83; I. Dymerskaya-Tsigelman, in: Jews and Jewish Topics, 3:10 (1989), 49–61; B. Pinkus, in: Jews and Jewish Topics, 2:15 (1991), 15–30; M. Gilbert, The Jews of Hope (1984); idem, Ukrainian Diary, SeptemberOctober, 1991, manuscript; D. Prital (ed.), Yehudei Berit ha-Mo'atsot ("The Jews of the Soviet Union"), vols. 8–15 (1985–1992); "The Seeond Congress of Vaad," in: Jews and Jewish Topics, 3:16 (1991), 224–40; Z. Gitelman, in: Soviet Jewish Affairs, 19:2 (1989), 3–4; Y. Florsheim, in: Jews and Jewish Topics, 2:15 (1991), 5–14; idem, in: Jews and Jewish Topics, 3:19 (1992), 5–15; M. Tolts, in: Jews and Jewish Topics, 1:14 (1991), 31–59. add. bibliography: U. Schmelz and S. DellaPergola, in: ajyb, 1995, 478; Supplement to the Monthly Bulletin of Statistics, 2, 1995, Jerusalem; Y. Florsheim, in: Jews in Eastern Europe, 1 (26) 1995, 25–33; M. Beizer and I. Klimenko, in: Jews in Eastern Europe, 1:24 (1995), 25–33; Antisemitism World Report1994, London: Institute of Jewish Affairs, 143–153; Antisemitism World Report 1995, London: Institute of Jewish Affairs, 196–206; D. Prital (ed.), Yehudei Berit ha-Moaẓot be-ma'avar, 16:1 and 17:2; Mezhdunarodnaia Evreiskaia Gazeta (meg), 1993–1994; M. Tolts, "The Post-Soviet Jewish Population in Russia and the World," in: Jews in Russia and Eastern Europe, 1, 52 (2004), 37–63. website: www.fjc.ru.

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RUSSIA

Compiled from the October 2004 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Russian Federation


PROFILE

Geography

Area: 17 million sq. km. (6.5 million sq. mi.); about 1.8 times the size of the United States.

Cities: Capital—Moscow (pop. 8.3 million). Other cities—St. Petersburg (4.6 million), Novosibirsk (1.4 million), Nizhniy Novgorod (1.3 million).

Terrain: Broad plain with low hills west of Urals; vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia; uplands and mountains (Caucasus range) along southern borders.

Climate: Northern continental, from subarctic to subtropical.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Russian(s).

Population: (2004 est.) 144 million.

Annual growth rate: (2004 est.) −0.45%.

Ethnic groups: Russian 82%, Tatar 4%, Ukrainian 3%, other 11%.

Religions: Russian Orthodox, Islam, Judaism, Roman Catholicism, Protestant, Buddhist, other.

Language: Russian (official); more than 140 other languages and dialects.

Education: (total pop.) Literacy—99%.

Health: Life expectancy (2004 est.)—60 yrs. men, 73 yrs. women.

Work force: (72 million) Production and economic services—84%; government—16%.

Government

Type: Federation.

Independence: August 24, 1991.

Constitution: December 12, 1993.

Branches: Executive—president, prime minister (chairman of the government). Legislative—Federal Assembly (Federation Council, State Duma). Judicial—Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, Supreme Court of Arbitration, Office of Procurator General.

Political parties: Shifting. The December 2003 Duma elections were contested by United Russia, the Communist Party (KPRF), the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), the Homeland (Rodina) bloc, the Union of Right Forces (SPS) and Yabloko. SPS and Yabloko, parties favoring Western-style reforms, failed to clear the 5% threshold to enter the Duma as a party.

Administrative subdivisions: 21 autonomous republics and 68 autonomous territories and regions.

Suffrage: Universal at 18 years.

Economy

GDP: 13.255 trillion rubles or U.S. $460 billion in 2003. (Purchasing power parity estimated at $1.29 trillion in 2003).

Growth rate: (2003) 7.3%.

Per capita GDP: $2,320 in 2003 (purchasing power parity estimated at $8,900 in 2003).

Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, timber, furs, precious and nonferrous metals.

Agriculture: Products—Grain, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, meat, dairy products.

Industry: Types—Complete range of manufactures: automobiles, trucks, trains, agricultural equipment, advanced aircraft, aerospace, machine and equipment products; mining and extractive industry; medical and scientific instruments; construction equipment.

Trade: (2003) Exports—$134.4 billion: petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas, woods and wood products, metals, chemicals. Major markets—EU, CIS, China, Japan. Imports—$74.8 billion: machinery and equipment, chemicals, consumer goods, medicines, meat, sugar, semi-finished metal products. Major partners—EU, U.S., NIS, Japan, China. U.S. exports—$2.45 billion. Principal U.S. exports (2003)—oil/gas equipment, poultry, inorganic chemicals, tobacco, aircraft, medical equipment, autos/parts. U.S. imports (customs value)—$8.62 billion. Principal U.S. imports (2003)—oil, aluminum, chemicals, platinum, iron/steel, fish and crustaceans, knit apparel, nickel, wood, and copper.


PEOPLE

Most of the roughly 145 million Russians derive from the Eastern Slavic family of peoples, whose original homeland was probably present-day Poland. Russian is the official language of Russia and is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. Russian has also been the language of such giants of world literature as Pushkin, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekov, Pasternak and Solzhenitsyn.

Russia's educational system has produced nearly 100% literacy. About 3 million students attend Russia's 519 institutions of higher education and 48 universities. As a result of great emphasis on science and technology in education, Russian medical, mathematical, scientific, and space and aviation research is generally of a high order. The number of doctors in relation to the population is high by American standards, although medical care in Russia, even in major cities, is far below Western standards. The unraveling of the Soviet state in its last decades and the physical and psychological traumas of transition during the 1990s resulted in a steady decline in the health of the Russian people. Poor nutrition among tens of millions of poorly nourished Russians produced high rates of chronic illnesses and stunted development in children. Widespread alcoholism and drug addiction among men contributed to the world's largest gap between male and female life expectancy. In 2000, life expectancy at birth was 62 for men and 73 for women. The large annual excess of deaths over births may cut Russia's population by several tens of millions over the next fifty years.

The Russian labor force is undergoing tremendous changes. Although well educated and skilled, it is largely mismatched to the rapidly changing needs of the Russian economy. Millions of Russian workers are underemployed. Unemployment is highest among women and young people. Many Russian workers compensate by working other part-time jobs. Following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union and the economic dislocation it engendered, the standard of living fell dramatically. The standard of living has been on the rise since 1999, but almost one-third of the population still does not meet the minimum subsistence level for income.

Moscow is Russia's largest city (population 8.3 million) and its capital. Moscow is also increasingly important as an economic and business center; it has become Russia's principal magnet for foreign investment and business presence. Its cultural tradition is rich, and there are many museums devoted to art, literature, music, dance, history, and science, as well as hundreds of churches and dozens of notable cathedrals.

The second-largest city in Russia is St. Petersburg, which was established by Peter the Great in 1703 to be the capital of the Russian Empire as part of his Western-looking reforms. The city was called Petro-grad during World War I and Leningrad after 1924. In 1991, as the result of a city referendum, it was renamed St. Petersburg. Under the tsars, the city was Russia's cultural, intellectual, commercial, financial, and industrial center. After Lenin moved the capital back to Moscow in 1918, the city's political significance declined, but it remained a cultural, scientific, and military-industrial center. The Hermitage, formerly the Winter Palace of the tsars, is one of the world's great fine arts museums.

Russia has an area of about 17 million square kilometers (6.5 million sq. mi.); in geographic terms, this makes Russia the largest country in the world by more than 2.5 million square miles. But with a population density of about 22 persons per square mile (9 per sq. km.), it is sparsely populated, and most of its residents live in urban areas.


HISTORY

Although human experience on the territory of present-day Russia dates back to Paleolithic times, the first lineal predecessor of the modern Russian state was founded in 862. The political entity known as Kievan Rus was established in Novgorod in 962 and lasted until the 12th century. In the 10th century, Christianity became the state religion under Vladimir, who adopted Greek Orthodox rites. Consequently, Byzantine culture predominated, as is evident in much of Russia's architectural, musical, and artistic heritage. Over the next centuries, various invaders assaulted the Kievan state and, finally, Mongols under Batu Khan destroyed the main population centers except for Novgorod and Pskov and prevailed over the region until 1480.

In the post-Mongol period, Muscovy gradually became the dominant principality and was able, through diplomacy and conquest, to establish suzerainty over European Russia. Ivan III (1462-1505) referred to his empire as "the Third Rome" and considered it heir to the Byzantine tradition. Ivan IV (the Terrible) (1530-1584) was the first Russian ruler to call himself tsar. He pushed Russian eastward with his conquests but his later reign was marked by the cruelty that earned him his familiar epithet. He was succeeded by Boris Godunov, whose reign commenced the so-called Time of Troubles. Relative stability was achieved when Michael Romanov established the dynasty that bore his name in 1613.

During the reign of Peter the Great (1689-1725), modernization and European influences spread in Russia. Peter created Western-style military forces, subordinated the Russian Orthodox Church hierarchy to the tsar, reformed the entire governmental structure, and established the beginnings of a Western-style education system. He moved the capital westward from Moscow to St. Petersburg, his newly-established city on the Baltic. His introduction of European customs generated nationalistic resentments in society and spawned the philosophical rivalry between "Westernizers" and nationalistic "Slavophiles" that remains a key dynamic of current Russian social and political thought.

Catherine the Great continued Peter's expansionist policies and established Russia as a European power. During her reign (1762-96), power was centralized in the monarchy, and administrative reforms concentrated great wealth and privilege in the hands of the Russian nobility. Catherine was also known as an enthusiastic patron of art, literature and education and for her correspondence with Voltaire and other Enlightenment figures.

Alexander I (1801-1825) began his reign as a reformer, but after defeating Napoleon's 1812 attempt to conquer Russia, he became much more conservative and rolled back many of his early reforms. During this era, Russia gained control of Georgia and much of the Caucasus. Throughout the 19th century, the Russian Government sought to suppress repeated attempts at reform from within, particularly under the reign of Nicholas I (1825-1855). Its economy failed to compete with those of Western countries. Russian cities were growing without an industrial base to generate employment, although emancipation of the serfs in 1861 foreshadowed urbanization and rapid industrialization late in the century. At the same time, Russia expanded into the rest of the Caucasus, Central Asia and across Siberia. The port of Vladivostok was opened on the Pacific coast in 1860. The Trans-Siberian Railroad opened vast frontiers to development late in the century. In the 19th century, Russian culture flourished as Russian artists made significant contributions to world literature, visual arts, dance, and music. The names of Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Gogal, Repin, and Tchaikovsky became known to the world.

Alexander II (1855-1881), a relatively liberal tsar, emancipated the serfs. His 1881 assassination, however, prompted the reactionary rule of Alexander III (1881-1894). At the turn of the century, imperial decline became evident. Russia was defeated in the unpopular Russo-Japanese war in 1905. The Russian Revolution of 1905 forced Tsar Nicholas II (1894-1917) to grant a constitution and introduce limited democratic reforms. The government suppressed opposition and manipulated popular anger into anti-Semitic pogroms. Attempts at economic change, such as land reform, were incomplete.

1917 Revolution and the U.S.S.R.

The ruinous effects of World War I, combined with internal pressures, sparked the March 1917 uprising that led Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate the throne. A provisional government came to power, headed by Aleksandr Kerenskiy. On November 7, 1917, the Bolshevik Party, led by Vladimir Lenin, seized control and established the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic. Civil war broke out in 1918 between Lenin's "Red" army and various "White" forces and lasted until 1920, when, despite foreign interventions, the Bolsheviks triumphed. After the Red army conquered Ukraine, Belorussia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia, a new nation, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.), was formed in 1922.

First among its political figures was Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik Party and head of the first Soviet Government, who died in 1924. In the late 1920s, Josef Stalin emerged as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) amidst intraparty rivalries; he maintained complete control over Soviet domestic and international policy until his death in 1953. In the 1930s, Stalin oversaw the forced collectivization of tens of millions of its citizens under state agricultural and industrial enterprises. Millions died in the process. Millions more died in political purges, the vast penal and labor system, or in state-created famines. During World War II, 20 million Soviet citizens died in the successful effort to defeat Fascism. After the war, the USSR became one of the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council. In 1949, the U.S.S.R. developed its own nuclear arsenal.

Stalin's successor, Nikita Khrushchev, served as Communist Party leader until he was ousted in 1964. Aleksey Kosygin became Chairman of the Council of Ministers, and Leonid Brezhnev was made First Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee in 1964. But in 1971, Brezhnev rose to become "first among equals" in a collective leadership. Brezhnev died in 1982 and was succeeded by Yuriy Andropov (1982-84) and Konstantin Chernenko (1984-85). In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev became the next (and last) General Secretary of the CPSU. Gorbachev introduced policies of perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (openness). But his efforts to reform the creaky Communist system from within failed. The people of the Soviet Union were not content with half-freedoms granted by Moscow; they demanded more and the system collapsed. Boris Yeltsin was elected the first president of the Russian Federation in 1991. Russia, Ukraine and Belarus formed the Commonwealth of Independent States in December 1991. Gorbachev resigned as Soviet President on December 25, 1991. Eleven days later, the U.S.S.R. was formally dissolved.

The Russian Federation

After the December 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation became its largest successor state, inheriting its permanent seat on the UN Security Council, as well as the bulk of its foreign assets and debt. By the fall of 1993, politics in Russia reached a stalemate between President Yeltsin and the parliament. The parliament had succeeded in blocking, overturning, or ignoring the President's initiatives on drafting a new constitution, conducting new elections, and making further progress on democratic and economic reforms.

In a dramatic speech in September 1993, President Yeltsin dissolved the Russian parliament and called for new national elections and a new constitution. The standoff between the executive branch and opponents in the legislature turned violent in October after supporters of the parliament tried to instigate an armed insurrection. Yeltsin ordered the army to respond with force to capture the parliament building and crush the insurrection. In December 1993, voters elected a new parliament and approved a new constitution that had been drafted by the Yeltsin government. Yeltsin remained the dominant political figure, although a broad array of parties, including ultra-nationalists, liberals, agrarians, and communists, had substantial representation in the parliament and competed actively in elections at all levels of government.

In late 1994, the Russian security forces launched a brutal operation in the Republic of Chechnya against rebels who were intent on separation from Russia. Along with their opponents, Russian forces committed numerous violations of human rights. The protracted conflict, which received close scrutiny in the Russian media, raised serious human rights and humanitarian concerns abroad as well as within Russia. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to institute a cease-fire, in August 1996 the Russian and Chechen authorities negotiated a settlement that resulted in a complete withdrawal of Russian troops and the holding of elections in January 1997. A peace treaty was concluded in May 1997. Following a number of terrorist incidents blamed on Chechen separatists, the Russian government launched a new military campaign into Chechnya. By spring 2000, federal forces claimed control over Chechen territory, but fighting continues as rebel fighters regularly ambush Russian forces in the region. Throughout 2002 and 2003, the ability of Chechen separatists to battle the Russian forces waned but they claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist acts.

On December 31, 1999 Boris Yeltsin resigned, and Vladimir Putin was named Acting President. In March 2000, he won election in his own right as Russia's second president with 53% of the vote. Putin moved quickly to reassert Moscow's control over the regions, whose governors had confidently ignored edicts from Boris Yeltsin. He sent his own "plenipotentiary representatives" (commonly called 'polpred' in Russian) to ensure that Moscow's policies were followed in recalcitrant regions and republics. He won enactment of liberal economic reforms that rescued a faltering economy and stopped a spiral of hyperinflation. Putin achieved wide popularity by stabilizing the government, especially in marked contrast to what many Russians saw as the chaos of the latter Yeltsin years. The economy grew, in part because Putin was able to achieve reforms in banking, labor, and private property. The economy also benefited from rising oil prices. During this time, Russia also moved closer to the U.S., especially after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. In 2002, the NATO-Russia Council was established, giving Russia a voice in NATO discussions.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

In the political system established by the 1993 constitution, the president wields considerable executive power. There is no vice president, and the legislative branch is far weaker than the executive. The bicameral legislature consists of the lower house (State Duma) and the upper house (the Federation Council). The president nominates the highest state officials, including the prime minister, who must be approved by the Duma. The president can pass decrees without consent from the Duma. He also is head of the armed forces and of the National Security Council.

Duma elections were held most recently on December 7, 2003, and presidential elections on March 14, 2004. The pro-government party, United Russia, won close to half of the seats in the Duma. Combined with its allies, United Russia commands a two-thirds majority. The OSCE judged the Duma elections as failing to meet international standards for fairness, due largely to extensive slanted media bias in the campaign. Vladimir Putin was reelected to second four-year term with 71% of the vote in March 2004. The Russian constitution does not allow presidents to serve more than two consecutive terms.

Russia is a federation, but the precise distribution of powers between the central government and the regional and local authorities is still evolving. The Russian Federation consists of 89 regional administrative units, including two federal cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg. The constitution explicitly defines the federal government's exclusive powers, but it also describes most key regional issues as the joint responsibility of the federal government and the regional administrative units. In 2000, President Putin grouped the regions into seven federal districts, with presidential appointees established in Moscow and six provincial capitals. In March 2004, the Constitution was amended to permit the merger of two of the 89 region administrative units, effective in 2005; further consolidation is expected.

Judicial System

The Russian judicial system consists of the Constitutional Court, courts of general jurisdiction, military courts, and arbitrage courts (which hear commercial disputes). The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation is a court of limited subject matter jurisdiction. The 1993 constitution empowers the Constitutional Court to arbitrate disputes between the executive and legislative branches and between Moscow and the regional and local governments. The court also is authorized to rule on violations of constitutional rights, to examine appeals from various bodies, and to participate in impeachment proceedings against the president. The July 1994 Law on the Constitutional Court prohibits the court from examining cases on its own initiative and limits the scope of issues the court can hear. The system of general jurisdiction courts includes the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, regional level courts, district level courts and justices of the peace.

The Duma passed a Criminal Procedure Code and other judicial reforms during its 2001 session. These reforms help make the Russian judicial system more compatible with its Western counterparts and are seen by most as an accomplishment in human rights. The reforms have reintroduced jury trials in certain criminal cases and created a more adversarial system of criminal trials that protect the rights of defendants more adequately. In 2002, the introduction of the new code led to significant reductions in time spent in detention for new detainees, and the number of suspects placed in pretrial detention declined by 30%. Another significant advance in the new Code is the transfer from the Procuracy to the courts of the authority to issue search and arrest warrants.

In spite of the general tendency to increase judicial independence (for example, by recent considerable salary raise to judges), many judges still see their role not as of impartial and independent arbiters, but as of government officials protecting state interests.

Human Rights

Russia's human rights record remains uneven and has worsened in some areas in recent years. Despite significant improvements in conditions following the end of the Soviet Union, problem areas remain. In particular, the Russian Government's military policy in Chechnya is a cause for international concern. Although the government has made progress in recognizing the legitimacy of international human rights standards, the institutionalization of procedures to safeguard these rights has lagged. There are, however, indications that the law is becoming an increasingly important tool for those seeking to protect human rights.

The judiciary is often subject to manipulation by political authorities and is plagued by large case backlogs and trial delays. Lengthy pretrial detention remains a serious problem. Russia has one of the highest prison population rates in the world, at 685 per 100,000. There are credible reports of beating and torture of inmates and detainees by law enforcement and correctional officials. Prison conditions fall well below international standards. In 2001, President Putin pronounced a moratorium on the death penalty. There are reports that the Russian Government might still be violating promises they made upon entering the European Council, especially in terms of prison control and conditions.

In Chechnya, government forces have killed numerous civilians through the use of indiscriminate force. There have been credible allegations of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by Russian forces. Chechen groups also have committed abuses as well as acts of terrorism. Human rights groups have criticized Russian officials concerning cases of Chechens disappearing while in custody. Chechen rebels have similarly been responsible for politically motivated disappearances. Russian authorities have introduced some improvements, including better access to complaint mechanisms, the formal opening of investigations in most cases, and the introduction of two decrees requiring the presence of civilian investigators and other nonmilitary personnel during all large-scale military operations and targeted search and seizure operations. Human rights groups welcome these changes but claim that most abuses remain uninvestigated and unpunished.

The Russian constitution provides for freedom of religion and the equality of all religions before the law as well as the separation of church and state. Although Jews and Muslims continue to encounter prejudice and societal discrimination, they have not been inhibited by the government in the free practice of their religion. High-ranking federal officials have condemned anti-Semitic hate crimes, but law enforcement bodies have not effectively prosecuted those responsible. The influx of foreign missionaries has led to pressure by groups in Russia, specifically nationalists and the Russian Orthodox Church, to limit the activities of these "nontraditional" religious groups. In response, the Duma passed a restrictive and potentially discriminatory law on religion in October 1997. The law is complex, with many ambiguous and contradictory provisions. The law's most controversial provisions distinguish between religious "groups" and "organizations" and introduce a 15- year rule, which allows groups that have been in existence for 15 years or longer to obtain accredited status. Senior Russian officials have pledged to implement the 1997 law on religion in a manner that is not in conflict with Russia's international human rights obligations. Some local officials, however, have used the law as a pretext to restrict religious liberty.

Government pressure continued to weaken freedom of expression and the independence and freedom of some media, particularly major national television networks and regional media outlets. A government decision resulted in the elimination of the last major non-state television station in 2003. A wide variety of views continue to be expressed in the press.

The constitution guarantees citizens the right to choose their place of residence and to travel abroad. Some bigcity governments, however, have restricted this right through residential registration rules that closely resemble the Soviet-era "propiska" regulations. Although the rules were touted as a notification device rather than a control system, their implementation has produced many of the same results as the propiska system. The freedom to travel abroad and emigrate is respected although restrictions may apply to those who have had access to state secrets. Recognizing this progress, since 1994, the U.S. President has found Russia to be in full compliance with the provisions of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 11/29/04

President: Putin , Vladimir Vladimirovich
Premier: Fradkov , Mikhail Yefimovich
Dep. Premier: Zhukov , Aleksandr Dmitriyevich
Min. of Agriculture: Gordeyev , Aleksey Vasilyevich
Min. of Civil Defense, Emergencies, & Natural Disasters: Shoygu , Sergey Kuzhugetovich
Min. of Culture & Mass Communication: Sokolov , Aleksandr Sergeyevich
Min. of Defense: Ivanov , Sergey Borisovich
Min. of Economic Development & Trade: Gref , German Oskarovich
Min. of Education & Science: Fursenko , Andrey Aleksandrovich
Min. of Finance: Kudrin , Aleksey Leonidovich
Min. of Foreign Affairs: Lavrov , Sergey Viktorovich
Min. of Health & Social Development: Zurabov , Mikhail Yuryevich
Min. of Industry & Energy: Khristenko , Viktor Borisovich
Min. of Information Technologies & Communications: Reyman , Leonid Dododzhonovich
Min. of Internal Affairs (MVD): Nurgaliyev , Rashid Gumarovich
Min. of Justice: Chayka , Yuriy Yakovlevich
Min. of Natural Resources: Trutnev , Yuriy Petrovich
Min. of Regional Development: Yakovlev , Vladimir Anatolyevich
Min. of Transportation: Levitin , Igor Yevgenyevich
Dir., Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR): Lebedev , Sergey Nikolayevich
Dir., Federal Security Service (FSB): Patrushev , Nikolay Platonovich
Head, Government Apparatus: Naryshkin , Sergey Yevgenyevich
Sec., Security Council: Ivanov , Igor Sergeyevich
Chmn., Central Bank of Russia: Ignatyev , Sergey Mikhaylovich
Procurator General: Ustinov , Vladimir Vasilyevich
Ambassador to the US: Ushakov , Yuriy Viktorovich
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Denisov , Andrey Ivanovich

The Russian Federation maintains an embassy at 2650 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20007 (tel. 202-298-5700) and a consular section at 2641 Tunlaw Road, Washington, DC (tel. 202-939-8907/8913/8918). Russian consulates also are located in Houston, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle.


ECONOMY

The Russian economy underwent tremendous stress as it moved from a centrally planned economy to a free market system. Difficulties in implementing fiscal reforms aimed at raising government revenues and a dependence on short-term borrowing to finance budget deficits led to a serious financial crisis in 1998. Lower prices for Russia's major export earners (oil and minerals) and a loss of investor confidence due to the Asian financial crisis exacerbated financial problems. The result was a rapid and steep decline (60%) in the value of the ruble, flight of foreign investment, delayed payments on sovereign and private debts, a breakdown of commercial transactions through the banking system, and the threat of runaway inflation.

Still, Russia weathered the crisis well. In 1999, one year after the crisis, real gross domestic product (GDP) increased by the highest percentage since the fall of the Soviet Union, the ruble stabilized, inflation was moderate, and investment began to increase again. Russia is making progress in meeting its foreign debt obligations. Russia's sovereign debt has shrunken rapidly since 1998. High oil prices brought large fiscal surpluses of over 1% of GDP. This has allowed Russia to prepay part of its debt and repurchase private sector debt. Russia's foreign debt fell from 64% of GDP in 2000 to just 28% of GDP in 2003. Russia continues to explore debt swap/exchange opportunities.

An upgrade in Russian's sovereign credit ratings by Moody's to Baa3 in September 2003, and upgrade by Standard&Poor's to BB+ in January 2004, reflects higher confidence in the Russian Government's financial management. Credit ratings for Russian private debt remain low, however. Large current account surpluses have brought a real appreciation of the ruble over the past several years. The trade-weighted exchange rate of the ruble rose by 4% against the currencies of Russia's major trading partners during 2003. Upward pressure on the ruble has been reduced by sterilization of some of the inflows and by channeling some of the government's fiscal surplus into a stabilization fund. This fund will help cushion Russia from price shocks should energy prices remain low for an extended period. The ruble appreciation of the past several years has given back nearly all of the terms-of-trade advantage that Russia gained when the ruble fell by 60% during the 1998 debt crisis. Loan and deposit rates at or below the inflation rate, as well as a lack of depositor confidence in the Russian banks, inhibit the growth of the banking system and make the allocation of capital and risk much less efficient than it would be otherwise. The Russian government is currently in the process of implementing a deposit insurance scheme as part of its banking reform efforts.

Gross Domestic Product

Russia's GDP grew by 7.3% during 2003 to 13.255 trillion rubles or U.S. $460 billion in nominal terms, propelled by high oil prices, moderate inflation (12%), and strict government budget discipline. Real incomes grew by 10%, spurring considerable growth in private consumption. Industrial output in 2003 grew by 7% compared with 2002.

Monetary Policy

The exchange rate stabilized in 1999; after falling from 6.5 rubles/dollar in August 1998 to about 25 rubles/dollar by April 1999, one year later it had further depreciated only to about 28.5 rubles/dollar. As of January 2004, the exchange rate was 28.5 rubles/dollar, an appreciation of the ruble by 4% from January 2003. After some large spikes in inflation following the August 1998 economic crisis, inflation has declined steadily.

Government Spending/Taxation

Central and local government expenditures are about equal. Combined they come to about 38% of GDP. Fiscal policy has been very disciplined since the 1998 debt crisis. The combined budget surpluses during 2002 were 2.3% of GDP and 1% during 2003. Analysts remain skeptical that high rates of economic growth will continue should oil prices decline. However, high oil prices also have negative economic effects over time, as the consequent very large trade surpluses tend to push the ruble higher, making exports of manufactured goods lag.

Population

Russia's population of 143.8 million (2003 census) is falling. Lower birth rates and higher death rates have reduced Russia's population at a nearly 0.5% annual rate since the early 1990s. Russia is one of few countries with a declining population (although birth rates in many developed countries have dropped below the long-term population replacement). Population decline is particularly drastic in Russia, with higher death rates, especially among working-age males due to poverty, abuse of alcohol and other substances, disease, stress, and other afflictions. Russians generally disapprove of permanent or temporary immigration of workers from countries other than the Russian-speaking former Soviet states that might help solve economic problems brought on by its declining population.

HIV/AIDS

Russia and Ukraine are said to have the highest growth rates of HIV infection in the world. In Russia HIV seems to be transmitted mostly by intravenous drug users sharing needles, although data is very uncertain. Data from the Federal AIDS Center shows that the number of registered cases is doubling every 12 months and by November 2002 had reached 220,000 persons. When projections are made which allow for people in high-risk groups who have not been tested for the disease, estimates of the actual number of HIV-infected persons vary from 1 million to 2 million. The high growth rate of AIDS cases, if unchecked, will have negative economic consequences. Investment will suffer from the diversion of private and government funds to AIDS treatment. The effect on the labor force may be acute since about 60% of infected individuals in Russia are between 20 and 30 years of age. At the September 2003 Camp David Summit, Presidents Bush and Putin pledged to deepen ongoing cooperation between the two countries to fight HIV/AIDS.

Law

A particular brake on many areas of economic activity is the absence of relevant legislation—and where there is legislation, lack of effective law enforcement. During 2000 and 2001, changes in government administration increased the power of the central government to compel localities to enforce laws. Progress has been made on pension reform and reform of the electricity sector. Nonetheless, taxation and business regulations are not very predictable, and legal enforcement of private business agreements, especially outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg, is weak. Leftover attitudes from the Soviet period will take many years to overcome. Local officials in some areas interfere in business. Government decisions affecting business have often been arbitrary and inconsistent, and corruption remains a serious problem. Crime has increased costs for both local and foreign businesses. On the positive side, Russian businesses are increasingly turning to the courts to resolve disputes. The passage of an improved bankruptcy code in January 1998 was one of the first steps. In 2001, the Duma passed legislation for positive changes within the business and investment sector; the most critical legislation was a deregulation package. A new flat tax boosted income tax collections considerably. This trend in legislation continued through 2002 when the new corporate tax code went into effect.

Natural Resources

The mineral-packed Ural Mountains and the vast oil, gas, coal, and timber reserves of Siberia and the Russian Far East make Russia rich in natural resources. However, most such resources are located in remote and climatically unfavorable areas that are difficult to develop and far from Russian ports. Nevertheless, Russia is a leading producer and exporter of minerals, gold, and all major fuels. Natural resources, especially energy, dominate Russian exports. Ninety percent of Russian exports to the United States are minerals or other raw materials. The Russian fishing industry is the world's fourth largest, behind Japan, the United States, and China. Russia accounts for one-quarter of the world's production of fresh and frozen fish and about one-third of world output of canned fish.

Industry

Russia is one of the most industrialized of the former Soviet republics. However, years of very low investment have left much of Russian industry antiquated and highly inefficient. Besides its resource-based industries, it has developed large manufacturing capacities, notably in machinery. Russia inherited most of the defense industrial base of the Soviet Union, so armaments are the single-largest manufactured goods export category for Russia. Efforts have been made with varying success over the past few years to convert defense industries to civilian use, and the Russian government is engaged in an ongoing process to privatize the remaining 9,222 state-owned enterprises, 33% of which are in the industrial manufacturing sector.

Agriculture

For its great size, Russia has relatively little area suited for agriculture because of its arid climate and inconsistent rainfall. Northern areas concentrate mainly on livestock, and the southern parts and western Siberia produce grain. Restructuring of former state farms has been an extremely slow process. The new land code passed by the Duma in 2002, which makes it easier for Russians to buy and sell farmland, should speed restructuring and attract new domestic investment to Russian agriculture. Foreigners are not allowed to own farmland in Russia although long-term leases are permitted. Private farms and garden plots of individuals account for over one-half of all agricultural production.

Investment

During 2003, cumulative foreign investment increased by 50% to $29.7 billion. Foreign direct investment (FDI) rose by 69% to $6.8 billion. Portfolio investment declined by 15% to $401 million. The "other investment "category, mostly loans, comprises 75.8% of all investment and rose 47% during 2003. Russia does poorly in the international competition for foreign investment due to a poor business climate, lack of transparency, and weak rule of law. Although foreign investment increased rapidly during 2003, Russia's total cumulative ratio of foreign direct investment to GDP is still low at about 6%. This is less than one-third the level in many other transition economies. Much of the foreign investment coming into Russia is actually returning Russian capital from such havens as Cyprus and Gibraltar. According to Russian Central Bank figures, in 2003 net outflow of private sector capital was $2.1 billion; however, previous years have seen outflows of $10 billion to $20 billion. A significant drawback for investment is the banking sector, which lacks the resources, the capability, and the trust of the population needed to attract substantial savings and direct it toward productive investments. Russia's banks contribute only about 3% of overall investment in Russia. While ruble lending has increased since the October 1998 financial crisis, loans are still only 45% of total bank assets. Although many Russians prefer to keep their money outside the banking sector, the recent appreciation of the ruble against the dollar has persuaded some Russians to keep their money in rubles or other currencies such as the euro. The poorly developed banking system makes it difficult for entrepreneurs to raise capital as well as to permit capital transfer from a capital-rich sector such as energy to capital-poor sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing and to diversify risk. Banks still perceive commercial lending as risky, and some banks are inexperienced with assessing credit risk.

Money on deposit with Russian banks represents only 7% of GDP. Sber-bank, Russia's largest bank and 60% owned by the Russian Central Bank, is widely seen as enjoying an implicit state guarantee and so has attracted 63-65% of all bank deposits. The bank deposit insurance law passed in 2003 should gradually end this near-monopoly of Sberbank. Sergei Ignatiev in 2002 replaced Viktor Gerashchenko as Chairman of the Russian Central Bank. Under Ignatiev's leadership, necessary banking reforms, including stricter accounting procedures and federal deposit insurance, have been slow to be implemented; for example, the switch to international accounting standards was pushed back from 2004 to 2007.

Trade

Russia's overall trade surplus during 2003 was $60 billion, up from $46 billion during 2002. World prices continue to have a major effect on export performance, since commodities—particularly oil, natural gas, metals, and timber—comprise 80% of Russian exports. Russian GDP growth and the surplus/deficit in the Russian Federation state budget are closely linked to world oil prices.

Russian exports to the United States rose by 26% during 2003 to $8.6 billion. Chief 2003 Russian exports to the U.S. were fuel oil, inorganic chemicals, aluminum, and precious stones. U.S. exports to Russia rose 2.2% to $2.45 billion. Chief 2003 U.S. exports to Russia were machinery, meat (mostly poultry), and electrical equipment.

According to the 2003 U.S. Trade Representative's National Trade Estimate, erratic customs enforcement has traditionally created problems for foreign and domestic trade and investment. The new customs code, which came into effect on January 1, 2004, has made some improvements to customs administration. However, full implementation has been not yet been achieved, and some customs facilities have been slow in making the shift to new procedures. In addition, a burdensome import licensing regime, including quotas for alcohol, has depressed imports of some products, including products containing alcohol. Uncertainty over Russian veterinary regulations cut U.S. poultry exports to Russia by 40% during 2002. Quotas introduced for poultry, pork, and beef in spring 2003 kept U.S. poultry exports below their 2001 peak. Large losses to U.S. audiovisual and other companies in Russia owing to poor enforcement of intellectual property rights in Russia is a growing irritant in U.S.-Russia trade relations.


DEFENSE

Russia's efforts to transform its Soviet-legacy military into a smaller, lighter and more mobile force continue to be hampered by an ossified military leadership, discipline problems, limited funding and demographics. Recent steps by the Government of Russia suggest a desire to reform. There has been an increased emphasis on practical training, such as the Mobility 2004 Exercises, and the government is introducing bills to improve the organization of the military.

Despite recent increases in the budget, however, defense spending remains unable to sustain Russia's oversized military. Current troop strength, estimated at one million, is large in comparison to Russia's GDP and military budget, which continues to make the process of transformation to a professional army difficult. This is the result of the Soviet legacy and military thinking that has changed little since the Cold War. Senior Russian leaders continue to emphasize a reliance on a large strategic nuclear force capable of deterring a massive nuclear attack.

In 2002, a conscript's salary was only 100 rubles a month, or roughly $3.50. Theoretically, the army provides all necessities, however, housing and food shortages continue to plague the armed forces. Problems with both discipline and brutal hazing are common as well. HIV infection rates in the Russian army are estimated to be between two to five times higher than in the general population, and tuberculosis is a persistent problem.

Such conditions and the poor combat performance of the Russian Armed Forces in the Chechen conflict continue to encourage draft evasion and efforts to delay their military service. Although the available manpower (males 15-49) for the Russian Armed Forces was projected at 39.1 million in 2004, only approximately 11% of eligible males do military service. Moreover, military officials complain that new recruit cohorts are plagued by increasingly incidences of poor education, communicable diseases and criminality.

The Russian government has stated a desire to convert to a professional army. However, implementation has been delayed repeatedly. Current plans envision a transition to a mixed force, in which professional soldiers fill the ranks of select units and conscription is gradually phased out. Some officials have talked of developing a non-commissioned officer corps to lead the professional army, but the military has yet to make any concrete investments in training or facilities that would begin this process.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

In the years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia took important steps to become a full partner in the world's principal political groupings. On December 27, 1991, Russia assumed the permanent UN Security Council seat formerly held by the Soviet Union. Russia also is a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). It signed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Partnership for Peace initiative on June 22, 1994. On June 24, 1994, Russia and the European Union (EU) signed a partnership and cooperation agreement. On May 27, 1997, NATO and Russia signed the NATO-Russia Founding Act, which provides the basis for an enduring and robust partnership between the Alliance and Russia—one that can make an important contribution to European security architecture in the 21st century. This agreement was later superseded by the creation of a NATO-Russia Council, which was developed at the Reykjavik Ministerial and unveiled at the Rome NATO Summit in May 2002. Russia has acquiesced (despite misgivings by some) in enlargement of NATO by members first of the former Warsaw Pact and most recently by the Baltic states that were forcibly integrated into the Soviet Union.

The Russian Federation has played an important role in helping resolve international conflicts. It is a cosponsor of the Middle East peace process and supports UN and multilateral initiatives in Cambodia, Angola, the former Yugoslavia, Haiti and elsewhere. Russia is also a member of the G-8, which it joined at the Denver Summit in June 1997. In November 1998, Russia joined the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, as well. Russia has contributed troops to the NATO-led Stabilization Force in Bosnia and has affirmed its respect for international law and OSCE principles. It has accepted UN and/or OSCE involvement in instances of regional conflict in neighboring countries, including the dispatch of observers to Georgia, Moldova, Tajikistan, and Nagorno-Karabakh.


U.S.-RUSSIA RELATIONS

The United States and Russia share common interests on a broad range of issues. Among the most of these is the work underway to reduce drastically our strategic arsenals. U.S. and Russian missiles are no longer targeted at the other's homeland, and we have become strong allies in the global war on terrorism. The U.S.-Russia Counterterrorism Working Group (CTWG) provides a framework for cooperation on a wide range of issues including intelligence sharing, aviation security, and terrorist financing. Russia shares our basic goal of stemming the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. We are working with Russia to compel Iran to bring its nuclear programs into compliance with IAEA rules. On North Korea, Russia is playing a productive role in organizing and carrying out the six-party talks aimed at the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of North Korea's nuclear program. Russia is an important partner in the Middle East Peace Process "Quartet" (along with the UN and the EU). The NATO-Russia Council is only two years old but has become a major accomplishment in Russia-NATO relations; Russia now interacts with NATO members as an equal but without veto power over NATO decisions. During the past year, Russia has intensified its efforts to combat trafficking in persons. We are cooperating in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The focus of the September 2003 Camp David Summit with President Putin was to broaden and deepen cooperation and partnership with Russia with the aim of establishing a strategic relationship to deal with the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

Secretary Powell paid a highly successful visit to Moscow in January 2004. He emphasized to the Russian leaders—President Putin and his chief ministers—that the U.S. wants a robust partnership with Russia. He also stressed the need for a basis of common principles for the U.S.-Russian relationship. The Secretary underscored the importance of rule of law, freedom of the media, and transparent and fair judicial procedures as core democratic values. President Bush discussed these and other matters of international importance during his meeting with President Putin and other G-8 leaders in Sea Island, Georgia, in June 2004.

U.S. Assistance to Russia

The total amount budgeted by all U.S. Government agencies for assistance programs in Russia in FY04 is $880.2 million. This sum has been allocated for five sectors: Democracy Programs, Economic and Social Reform, Security and Law Enforcement, Humanitarian Assistance, and Cross Sectoral Initiatives. The United States provided over $660,000 worth of medical equipment, supplies, and other humanitarian assistance in the wake of the school hostage-taking tragedy in Beslan in September 2004.

Democracy Programs ($45.3 million). U.S. assistance has faced a number of challenges given Russia's inconsistent progress toward a democratic system. Programs have focused on supporting civil society, independent media, local government reform, the rule of law, and increasing voter participation. In particular, democratic assistance helps improve voter education, election monitoring, and training for young people and political leaders. U.S. technical assistance programs have helped Russia make significant strides in the development of an independent judiciary, which has held hundreds of successful local, regional and national elections. Democratic assistance has also strengthened NGOs. U.S. programs have provided training for journalists and work to establish better partnerships between Russian and American legal officials, and have helped to train several thousand local and regional television and radio stations.

Economic and Social Reform ($51.4 million). U.S. assistance programs support the small-to-mediumsized enterprise sector by training entrepreneurs and supporting non-bank credit institutions to respond to the need for credit to expand businesses and create jobs. Other programs are helping the Russian banking system transform itself into an effective intermediary of funds. In recent years, U.S. enterprise funds have allowed Russian companies to grow and turn handsome profits. U.S.-funded assistance programs also support Russia's efforts to address its serious problems in health and child welfare by encouraging improvements in primary healthcare, particularly for women and infants. Our success is evident in the reversal of Russia's infant mortality rate, which had been increasing over the past fifteen years. Another primary focus of U.S. assistance is the problem of HIV/AIDS infection in Russia; our activities are targeting reductions in HIV/AIDS infection by improving evidence-based models and practices.

Security and Law Enforcement Programs ($773.1 million). The bulk of U.S. assistance programs in the security area help Russia to consolidate, secure, destroy, or dismantle weapons of mass destruction. The Department of Defense's Cooperative Threat Reduction program is assisting Russia with the destruction of missiles and related equipment systems, as well as the construction a facility for the safe destruction of chemical weapons. Through the International Military Education and Training Program (IMET), the United States is providing English language instruction, professional military education, and military legal and peacekeeping training for Russian military and officials of the Ministry of Defense. The Anti-Crime Training and Technical Assistance program supports diverse activities, including the implementation of the July 2002 Criminal Procedure Code, adoption of modern investigative techniques, the development of USRussian legal cooperation under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), adoption of community-based policing in the Sakhalin region of the Russian Far East, and support of research into crime and corruption in Russia.

Humanitarian Assistance ($5.4 million). U.S.-based private volunteer organizations funded by the Department of State Humanitarian Transport Program distribute humanitarian assistance to the most needy regions of Russia. Since 1992, this program has facilitated the delivery of nearly $670 million in humanitarian commodities to Russia at a cost of $68 million. The total value of the humanitarian commodities provided to Russia in FY04 is estimated to be in excess of $6 million. This program will conclude at the end of FY04.

Cross-Sectoral Initiatives ($4.9 million). Some assistance cuts across traditional program borders. One of our natural resource assistance programs, for example, combines sound business and ecological techniques; another assistance program helps independent Russian research and policy institutions produce scholarly articles and advice for Russian policymakers. U.S. government assistance is also helping to bring civil society, local government, media, and business together to promote democracy and combat corruption across Russia. The "Regional Initiative," a program operated by the State Department, works to promote cross-cutting development in selected areas of the country outside of the major population centers. Current areas of focus are the Volga Federal District, the Tomsk/Novosibirsk area of Siberia, and the Russian Far East. This program helps coordinate assistance activities in these regions, provides information to local residents about programs active in the area, and encourages greater participation of regional governments in ongoing programs.

Additionally, exchange programs are a vital component of our assistance programs in all areas. In FY03, approximately 5,000 Russians came to the United States on U.S.-funded exchange and professional training programs. Since 1993, over 58,000 Russians have come to the United States on these programs.

Many agencies of the United States Government implement assistance programs, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Justice, Labor and State, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

MOSCOW (E) Address: 8 Bolshoy Devyatinskiy Pereulok Moscow 121099 Russian Federation; APO/FPO: Name PSC-77, (Name of Section) APO AE 09721; Phone: +7 (095) 728-5000; Fax: +7 (095) 728-5090; INMARSAT Tel: 76-322-2891; Workweek: MON–FRI 9:00 am-6:00 pm; Website: http://www.usembassy.ru/

AMB:Alexander R. Vershbow
AMB OMS:Karen Pennington
DCM:John R. Beyrle
DCM OMS:Joan Odean
CG:James Pettit
DPO/PAO:James Kenney
POL:Bruce Donahue (acting)
MGT:Edward Alford
AFSA:Randy Kreft
AGR:Allan Mustard
AID:Terry Myers
ATO:Jeffrey Hesse
CLO:Joy Salpini
CUS:Edgar Lacy (Dept. of Homeland Security)
DAO:Miles B. Wachendorf
DEA:Christopher Ogilvie
ECO:Pamela Quanrud
EEO:Jenny O'Connor and Naomi Lyew
EST:Sandra Dembski
FAA:James Nasiatka
FCS:Dorothy Lutter
FMO:Dirk Richards
GSO:Naomi Lyew
ICASS Chair:Kelsey Harris-Smith
IMO:William Curry
INS:Karen Landsness
IPO:Bryan Martin
ISO:William Mains
ISSO:Egan Wang
LAB:Nathan Lane
LEGATT:John DiStasio
NAS:Philip Cleary
OMS:Olga Pavlova
PAO:Laurence Wohlers
RSO:Robert Barton
State ICASS:Steven Rider
Last Updated: 11/2/2004

ST. PETERSBURG (CG) Address: Furshtadskaya Ulitsa 15, 191028 St. Petersburg, Russian Federation; APO/FPO: AmConGen, St. Petersburg, PSC 78, Box L, APO AE 09723; Phone: 7(812) 331-2600; Fax: 7(812) 331-2852; Workweek: 9:00-5:30 Mon.Fri.; Website: www.stpetersburgusconsulate.ru

CG:Morris Hughes
PO:Karen Malzahn
POL/ECO:Rafik Mansour
COM:William Czajkowski
CON:Jeff Vick
CLO:Laura Perry
GSO:Bill Hunt
ISO:Arthur Hutchinson
PAO:Jeff Murray
RSO:Noelle Licari
Last Updated: 8/20/2004

VLADIVOSTOK (CG) Address: 32 Pushkinskaya; Phone: 7-4232-30-00-70; Fax: 7 4232 49-93-72/71; INMARSAT Tel: Dial 9-810-873-683-142-222; Workweek: Monday-Friday 0900 to 1800; Website: vladivostok.us consulate.gov

CG:John Mark Pommersheim
PO:John Mark Pommersheim
POL/ECO:Randall Houston
COM:VACANT
CON:Ken Zurcher
MGT:Matthew E. Johnson
AGR:Svetlana Ily'ina
AID:Irina Isaeva
ECO:Randall Houston
EEO:VACANT
FMO:Matthew E. Johnson
GSO:VACANT
ISO:Stansbury, David
ISSO:Stansbury, David
PAO:Tara Rougle
RSO:PSO/Matthew E. Johnson
State ICASS:Matthew E. Johnson
Last Updated: 10/5/2004

YEKATERINBURG (CG) Address: Gogolya, 15 Yekaterinburg 620151 Russian Federation; APO/FPO: 5890 Yekaterinburg Pl Washington, DC 20521-5890; Phone: 7 (343) 379-3001; Fax: 7 (343) 379-4515; INMARSAT Tel: 76-322-2891; Workweek: MON–FRI 8:30 am-5:30 pm; Website: http://www.uscgyekat.ur.ru/

CG:Scott Rauland
PO:Scott Rauland
POL/ECO:Matt Purl
CON:Chris Beard
MGT:David Shao
ISO:Scott McKnight
ISSO:David Shao
PAO:Brad Hurst
Last Updated: 9/30/2004

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

October 19, 2004

Country Description: Russia is a vast and diverse nation that continues to evolve politically and economically. T ravel and living conditions in Russia contrast sharply with those in the United States. Major urban centers show tremendous differences in economic development compared to rural areas. While good tourist facilities exist in Moscow, St. Petersburg and some other large cities, they are not developed in most of Russia and some of the goods and services taken for granted in other countries are not yet available. Travelers may need to cross great distances, especially in Siberia and the Far East, to obtain services from Russian government organizations, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow or one of the three U.S. Consulates General in Russia: St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok. The Russian visa regime is very restrictive and complicated. A valid visa is necessary not only to enter Russia but also to transit or leave. U.S. citizens without valid visas, whether the visa is lost, stolen, or expired will be unable to leave Russia. Resolving this situation may take up to twenty days. At the same time, travelers without valid visas may not check in at any lodging establishment (i.e. hotel, guesthouse, hostel) in Russia. U.S. citizens without valid visas face long delays before they may leave and during this time may have trouble finding adequate accommodations. Travel to the Caucasus region of Russia is dangerous. The Department of State recommends Americans not travel to Chechnya and adjoining areas, and recommends that Americans who are in these regions depart immediately.

Entry/Exit Requirements: The Russian government maintains a restrictive and complicated visa regime for foreign travelers who visit, transit, or reside in the Russian Federation. The Russian system includes requirements of sponsorship, visas for entry and exit, migration cards, and registration. American citizens who also carry Russian passports face additional complicated regulations. Dual citizen minors who travel on their Russian passports also face special problems.

Russian immigration and visa laws have been recently changed, and, reportedly more changes are being contemplated. The implementation of these laws has not always been transparent or predictable. In addition, Russian Immigration officials at times implement the laws and regulations governing entry and exit inconsistently, especially in remote areas.

The Russian government does not recognize the standing of U.S. consular officers to intervene in visa cases. The U.S. diplomatic mission in Russia is not able to act as sponsor, submit visa applications, register private travelers, or request that visas or migration cards be corrected, replaced, or extended.

Entry Visas: Before traveling to Russia, U.S. citizens should verify the latest requirements with the nearest Russian Embassy or Consulate.

U.S. citizens must always possess a valid U.S. passport and appropriate visas for travel to or transit through Russia, whether by train, car, ship or airplane. The visas should be obtained from a Russian Embassy or Consulate in the U.S. or abroad in advance of travel, as it is impossible to obtain a Russian entry visa upon arrival. Travelers who arrive without an entry visa are not permitted to enter Russia and face immediate expulsion by route of entry, at the traveler's expense.

U.S. citizens transiting Russia in route to any other country do need transit visas. In several instances, travelers were advised differently and erroneously by their travel agents or sponsors. The misinformation caused great delays and hardships. Similarly, Russia-bound U.S. citizens attempting to transit Belarus or Ukraine or the Central Asian republics without visas, have encountered great difficulties. U.S. citizens are strongly advised to check the visa requirements for all countries on their itinerary.

A Russia entry/exit visa has two dates written in the European style (day, month, year). The first date indicates the earliest day a traveler may enter Russia; the second date indicates the date by which a traveler must leave Russia. Russian tourist visas are often granted only for the specific dates mentioned in the invitation letter provided by the sponsor. United States citizens often receive visas only valid for periods as short as four days. Even if the visa is misdated through error of a Russian Embassy or Consulate, the traveler will still not be allowed into Russia before the visa start date or be allowed to leave after the visa expiration date. Any mistakes in visa dates must be corrected before the traveler enters Russia. It is helpful to have someone who reads Russian check the visa before departing the United States

Visas are valid for specific purposes and dates. Travelers should ensure that they apply for and receive the correct visa that reflects their intended action in Russia (i.e., student visa, religious worker visa, commercial visa). Foreigners can be expelled for engaging in activities inconsistent with their visas.

All travelers must continue to list on the visa application all areas to be visited and subsequently register with authorities at each destination. There are several closed cities throughout Russia. Travelers who attempt to enter these cities without prior authorization are subject to fines, court hearings and/or deportation. Travelers should check with their sponsor, hotel, or the nearest Russian visa and passport office before traveling to unfamiliar cities and towns.

Sponsorship: Under Russian law, every foreign traveler must have a Russian-based sponsor (a hotel, tour company, relative, employer, etc.). Generally speaking, visas sponsored by Russian individuals are "guest" visas, and visas sponsored by tour agencies or hotels are "tourist" visas. Note that travelers who enter Russia on "tourist" visas, but who then reside with Russian individuals, may have difficulty registering their visas and migration cards and may be required by Russian authorities to depart Russia sooner than they had planned.

Even if your visa was obtained through a travel agency in the U.S., there is always a Russian legal entity whose name is indicated on the visa and who is considered to be your legal sponsor. It is important for travelers to know who the sponsor is and how to contact him/her because Russian law requires that the sponsor must apply on the traveler's behalf for replacement, extension, or changes to a Russian visa. U.S. citizens are strongly advised to contact their tour company or hotel in advance for the contact information of the visa sponsor.

To resolve any visa difficulties (lost visa, expired visa), the traveler's sponsor must contact the nearest Russian visa and passport office (OVIR/UVIR) for assistance. Resolving the visa problem usually requires the payment of a fee and a wait of up to twenty calendar days.

Exit Visa: A valid visa is necessary to depart Russia. Generally, the visa issued by a Russian Embassy or Consulate is valid for entry and exit.

Visitors who lose or have their U.S. passport and Russian visa stolen must replace their passport at the U.S. Embassy or one of the Consulates General, and then obtain a new visa to depart with the assistance of their sponsor (see above). Without a valid visa in their new United States passports, U.S. citizens cannot leave Russia.

By Russian law, travelers without a valid visa, whether the visa is lost, stolen, or expired, may not check in at any hotel, guesthouse, hostel, or other lodging establishment in Russia. United States citizens without valid visas face significant delays in leaving Russia and may have trouble finding adequate accommodation.

There are no adequate public shelters or safe havens in Russia and the Embassy or the Consulates General have no means to accommodate such stranded travelers.

Visitors, who overstay their visa's validity, even for one day, will be prevented from leaving until their sponsor intervenes and requests a visa extension on their behalf.

Student visas allow only for one entry. The sponsoring school is responsible for registering the visa and migration card and obtaining an exit visa.

Migration Card: All foreigners entering Russia must fill out a migration card, depositing one part with immigration authorities at the port of entry and holding on to the other part for the duration of their stay. Upon exit, the migration card, which serves as a statistical tool and a record of entry, exit, and registration, must be submitted to immigration authorities. The card is also necessary to register at hotels, most of which will not allow a traveler to check in if he or she does not have a migration card.

Migration cards, in theory, are available at all ports of entry from Russian immigration officials (Border Guards). The cards are generally left in literature racks at arrival points. Officials at borders and airports usually do not point out these cards to travelers and it is up to the travelers to find them and fill them out. From time to time, various ports of entry – even the major international airport in Moscow – run out of these cards. There is no mechanism to obtain such cards once a traveler has entered into Russia. The Russian government has not indicated what a traveler should do in such a case.

Lost/stolen migration cards cannot be replaced. While authorities will not prevent foreigners who have lost their migration cards and have not replaced them with a duplicate from leaving the country, foreigners could experience problems when trying to reenter Russia at a future date.

Registration: Travelers who spend more than three days in the country must register their visa and migration card through their sponsor. However, travelers spending less than three days are advised to register their visas as well, since they may encounter problems finding lodging without proper registration. Travelers staying in a hotel must register their visa and migration card with their hotel within one day. It is helpful to make a photocopy of your visa in the event of loss, but note that a copy of your visa will not be sufficient for leaving the country, as Russian border officials always ask for the original. A failure to register is unlikely to result in problems leaving Russia but travelers could experience problems when trying to reenter Russia at a future date.

Police have the authority to stop people and request their documents at any time without cause. Due to the possibility of random document checks by police, U.S. citizens should carry their original passports, registered migration cards, and visas with them at all times. Failure to provide proper documentation can result in detention and/or heavy fines. It is not necessary for travelers to have either entry or itinerary points in the Russian Federation printed on their visas.

Any person applying for a visa for a stay of more than three months must present a certificate showing that he/she is HIV-negative. The certificate must contain the applicant's passport data, proposed length of stay in Russia, blood test results for HIV infection, including date of the test, signature of the doctor conducting the test, medical examination results, diagnostic series and seal of the hospital/medical organization. The HIV test must be administered no later than three months prior to travel and the certificate must be in both Russian and English. Medical facilities are required to report positive HIV tests to the authorities. Foreigners who test positive for HIV while in Russia are subject to deportation.

American Citizens Also Holding Russian Passports: The United States government recognizes that dual nationality exists but does not encourage it as a matter of policy because of the problems it may cause. It expects American citizens to travel on U.S. passports. However, possessing and traveling on a Russian passport, outside of the United States, does not negate a traveler's American citizenship. American citizens who choose to enter Russia on a Russian passport do face several possible difficulties.

U.S. citizens who have at one time held Russian citizenship are often required to renounce Russian citizenship before applying for a Russian visa in their U.S. passport. Unless a former Russian citizen has formally renounced his or her Russian citizenship through a Russian Embassy or Consulate, he or she always risks being considered a Russian citizen and not allowed to depart on any travel document except a Russian passport. This can also interfere with access to U.S. consular services in case of an emergency. This risk is greatly diminished if the traveler enters Russia on a U.S. passport and Russian visa.

Such persons should also be aware that if their Russian passport expires after entry, Russian authorities will not permit them to depart Russia using their U.S. passport. They will be required to obtain a new Russian passport – a process that generally takes several months. Russian external passports extended by Russian Consulates or Embassies overseas are not considered valid for departure from Russia no matter how long the extension. Bearers of such passports will have to apply for a new passport inside the country.

Males of conscript age (18—27 years old) who are deemed to be Russian citizens may experience problems if they have not satisfied their military service requirement.

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian if not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.

American citizen minors, who also have Russian citizenship, and who are traveling on their Russian passports, must have a power-of-attorney, written in Russian, allowing them to travel if they are traveling alone or in the company of adults who are not their parents. Such minors will be stopped from leaving Russia if they cannot present such a power-of-attorney.

For additional information concerning entry and exit requirements, travelers may contact the Russian Embassy, Consular Section, 2641 Tunlaw Rd., NW, Washington, DC 20007, telephone (202) 939-8907, website http://www.russianembassy.org, or the Consulates in Houston (tel. 713-337-3300), New York (tel. 212-348-0926/55), San Francisco (tel. 415-928-6878, 415-929-0862, 415-202-9800/01) or Seattle (tel. 206-728-1910).

Safety and Security: Due to continued civil and political unrest throughout much of the Caucasus region, the Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Chechnya and all areas that border it: North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Stavropol, Karachayevo-Cherkessiya and Kabardino-Balkariya. The U.S. government's ability to assist Americans who travel to the northern Caucasus is extremely limited. Throughout the region, local criminal gangs have kidnapped foreigners, including Americans, for ransom. U.S. citizens have disappeared in Chechnya and remain missing. Close contacts with the local population do not guarantee safety. Recently, there have been several kidnappings of foreigners and Russians working for non-governmental organizations in the region. United States government personnel are prohibited from traveling to these areas, and American citizens residing in these areas should depart immediately as the safety of Americans and other foreigners cannot be effectively guaranteed.

Acts of terrorism, including bombings and hostage taking, have occurred in large Russian cities over the last several years. Bombings have occurred at Russian government buildings, hotels, tourist sites, markets, residential complexes and on public transportation. In October 2002, terrorists seized a Moscow theater and held its audience captive for several days before Russian Special Forces stormed it. Over 130 persons died in the seizure and subsequent rescue operation. In the summer of 2003, several venues, including an outdoor music festival, were targeted by suicide bombers, and in December 2003, a bomb exploded adjacent to the National Hotel in downtown Moscow, killing six people. In 2004, several incidents occurred: in February, a bomb exploded in a Moscow subway train killing over 40 people; in August explosives on two Russian domestic flights caused them to crash claiming 90 lives, the same week a bomb outside a Moscow Metro station killed another 9 people and injured dozens more; in September, the seizure of a school in the Russian Republic of North Ossetia by armed terrorists resulted in over 300 deaths.

Demonstrations occasionally occur in large cities, and sometimes in front of the U.S. Embassy and Consulates. While these demonstrations are for the most part peaceful and controlled, it is best to avoid such gatherings. For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current travel warnings and public announcements can be found. The Overseas Citizens Services call center at 1-888-407-4747 can answer general inquiries on safety and security overseas. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.

Crime: As a visitor to Russia, be alert to your surroundings. In large cities, take the same precautions against assault, robbery, or pickpockets that you would take in any large U.S. city. Be aware that women and small children, as well as men, can be pickpockets or purse-snatchers. Groups of children and adolescents have been increasingly aggressive in some cities, swarming victims, or assaulting and knocking them down. They frequently target persons who are perceived as vulnerable, especially elderly tourists or persons traveling alone. Some victims report that the attackers use knives. Persons carrying valuables in backpacks, in back pockets of pants, and in coat pockets are especially vulnerable to pickpockets. Keep your billfold in an inner front pocket, carry your purse tucked securely under your arm, and wear the shoulder strap of your camera or bag across your chest. Walk away from the curb and carry your purse away from the street. The most vulnerable areas include underground walkways and the subway, overnight trains, train stations, airports, markets, tourist attractions, restaurants, hotel rooms and residences—even when locked or occupied.

Foreigners who have been drinking alcohol are especially vulnerable to assault and robbery in or around nightclubs or bars, or on their way home. Some travelers have been drugged at bars, while others have taken strangers back to their lodgings, where they were drugged, robbed and/or assaulted.

In many cases involving stolen credit cards, thieves use them immediately. Victims of credit card or ATM card theft should report the theft to the credit card company or bank without delay.

Travelers are advised to be vigilant in bus and train stations and on public transport. Always watch for pick-pockets in these areas. Travelers have generally found it safer to travel in groups organized by reputable tour agencies. Robberies may occur in taxis shared with strangers. Crime aboard overnight trains has occurred as thieves, on some trains, have been able to open locked compartment doors. U.S. citizens should never hitchhike or accept rides from strangers.

To avoid highway crime, travelers should try not to drive at night, especially when alone. Never sleep in vehicles along the road. Do not, under any circumstances, pick up hitchhikers, who not only pose a threat to your physical safety, but also put you in danger of being arrested for unwittingly transporting narcotics or narcotics traffickers in your vehicle. Your vehicle can be confiscated if you are transporting marijuana or other narcotics.

Violent, racially motivated attacks on people of color and foreigners have become widespread in Russia. Many of these attacks target university students, particularly those of Asian and African origin, but older tourists have also been targeted. Travelers are urged to exercise caution in areas frequented by "skinhead" groups and wherever large groups have gathered.

It is not uncommon for foreigners in general to become victims of harassment, mistreatment and extortion by law enforcement and other officials. Police do not need to show probable cause in order to stop, question or detain individuals. Be wary of persons representing themselves as police or other local officials. Try to obtain the officer's name, badge number, and patrol car number, and note where it happened, as this information assists local officials in identifying the perpetrators. Authorities are concerned about these incidents and have cooperated in investigating such cases. Report crimes committed against you by persons presenting themselves as police or other governmental authorities to the U.S. Embassy or the nearest U.S. Consulate.

Extortion and corruption are common in the business environment. Organized criminal groups and sometimes local police target foreign businesses in many cities and have been known to demand protection money. Many western firms hire security services that have improved their overall security, although this is no guarantee. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable. U.S. citizens are encouraged to report all extortion attempts to the Russian authorities and to inform consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or nearest Consulate.

Travelers should be aware that certain activities that would be normal business activities in the United States and other countries are either illegal under the Russian legal code or are considered suspect by the FSB (Federal Security Service). Americans should be particularly aware of potential risks involved in any commercial activity with the Russian military-industrial complex, including research institutes, design bureaus, and production facilities or other high technology, government-related institutions. Any misunderstanding or dispute in such transactions can attract the involvement of the security services and lead to investigation or prosecution for espionage. Rules governing the treatment of information remain poorly defined. During the last several years, there have been incidents involving the arrest and/or detention of U.S. citizens. While the U.S. Embassy has had consular access to these individuals, arrested Americans faced lengthy sentences—sometimes in deplorable conditions—when convicted.

The U.S. Embassy receives reports almost every day of fraud committed against U.S. citizens by internet correspondents professing love and romantic interest. Typically, the Russian correspondent asks the U.S. citizen to send money or credit card information for living expenses, travel expenses, or "visa costs." When the U.S. citizen asks to arrange a face-to-face meeting, the Russian correspondent often "dies" in a sudden accident. The anonymity of the Internet means that the U.S. citizen cannot be sure of the real name, age, marital status, nationality, or even gender of the correspondent. Several citizens' report losing thousands of dollars through such scams. U.S. citizens may refer to http://uscis.gov for authoritative information about the immigration process and the true costs involved. For example, U.S. law does not require Russian visitors to have a certain amount of "pocket money" or "walking around money" in either rubles or dollars.

Thefts of U.S. passports can and do occur. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred.

Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, "A Safe Trip Abroad," for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov, or via the Bureau of Consular affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.

Medical Facilities: Medical care is below western standards, with shortages of basic medical supplies and equipment and inferior standards of care and hygiene. The few "quality" facilities in Moscow that approach acceptable standards have limited spaces and do not accept all cases (i.e., they may reject cases of infectious illnesses or trauma). Access to these facilities usually requires cash payment at western rates upon admission.

The U.S. embassy and consulates maintain lists of such facilities and English-speaking doctors. Many resident Americans travel to the west for their medical needs. Such travel can be very expensive if undertaken under emergency conditions. Travelers should check their insurance coverage and purchase supplemental coverage for medical evacuation. A medical evacuation from Russian can cost between 50,000 to 100,000 U.S. dollars, depending on the complexity of the situation. Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems may be at particular risk. Elective surgery and non-essential blood transfusions are not recommended, due to uncertainties surrounding the local blood supply. Most hospitals and clinics in major urban areas have adopted the use of disposable syringes as standard practice; however, travelers to remote regions should bring a supply of sterile, disposable syringes for eventualities. Travelers should refrain from visiting tattoo parlors or piercing services due to the risk of infection.

Rates of HIV infection have risen markedly in recent years. While most prevalent among intravenous drug users, prostitutes, and their clients, the HIV/AIDS rate in the general population is increasing. Reported cases of syphilis are much higher than in the U.S., and some sources suggest that gonorrhea and chlamydia are also more prevalent than in Western Europe or the U.S. Travelers should be aware of the related health and legal risks and take all appropriate measures.

Information on appropriate health precautions can be obtained from local health departments or private doctors. General guidance can also be found in the U.S. Public Health Service book, "Health Information For International Travel," available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402. Tourists in frail health are strongly advised not to visit Russia because of the harsh conditions and lack of adequate medical facilities.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.

When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Because conditions in many hospitals do not meet American standards, medical evacuation is frequently necessary for illnesses or injuries that could be treated locally in other countries. Medical evacuation companies can require a substantial down payment before they commit themselves to arranging a flight out of Russia. In addition, medical evacuation from remote areas can be especially long and difficult. Evacuation from the interior of the country, such as Siberia, can take days to organize and set into motion. Also note that the U.S. Government cannot pay for a medical evacuation. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.

Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page.

Other Health Information: Outbreaks of diphtheria have been reported throughout the country, even in large cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend up-to-date diphtheria immunizations before traveling to Russia and neighboring countries. Typhoid can be a concern for those who plan to travel extensively in the region. Cases of cholera have also been reported throughout the area. Tap water in St. Petersburg is considered unsafe to drink due to giardia. Drinking bottled water can reduce the risk of exposure to cholera. Tuberculosis and HIV have been an increasing source of concern for Russian healthcare providers.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's international traveler's hotline at (877) FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax: 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via their Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Russia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: poor

In some areas of Russia roads are practically non-existent. Persons planning to drive in Russia should adhere to all local driving regulations. These are strictly enforced and violators are subject to severe legal penalties.

A valid U.S. driver's license with a notarized Russian translation of it or a valid Russian license is necessary to drive a vehicle in Russia. International driver's licenses issued by the American Automobile Association are not accepted in Russia. Tourists may use international driver's licenses issued by the American Automobile Association to drive in Russia. Foreigners who are in Russia on a business visa or with a permanent residence status in Russia are required by law to have a Russian driver's license. In order to obtain this license one has to take the appropriate exam. An American driver's license cannot be exchanged for a Russian license. Travelers without a valid license are often subject to prolonged stops by police and fines.

Drivers must carry third party liability insurance under a policy valid in Russia. U.S. automobile liability insurance is not valid in Russia nor are most collision and comprehensive coverage policies issued by U.S. companies. A good rule of thumb is to buy coverage equivalent to that which you carry in the United States. Drivers should be aware that Russia practices a zero tolerance policy with regard to alcohol consumption prior to driving.

Avoid excessive speed and, if at all possible, do not drive at night. In rural areas, it is not uncommon to find livestock crossing roadways at any given time. Construction sites or stranded vehicles are often unmarked by flares or other warning signals. Sometimes cars have only one headlight with many cars lacking brake lights. Bicycles seldom have lights or reflectors. Due to these road conditions, be prepared for sudden stops at any time. Learn about your route from an auto club, guidebook or a government tourist office. Some routes have heavy truck and bus traffic; others have poor or nonexistent shoulders. Also, some of the newer roads have very few restaurants, motels, gas stations or auto repair shops along their routes. For your safety, have your vehicle serviced and in optimum condition before you travel. It is wise to bring an extra fan belt, fuses and other spare parts.

Law enforcement checkpoints aimed at detecting narcotics, alien smuggling and firearms traffic are located at various places throughout the country. Many checkpoints are operated by uniformed officials; however, others will not be marked and are manned by police or military officers not in uniform. Traffic police sometimes stop motorists to extract cash "fines." For additional information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/travel/abroad_roadsafety.html. For specific information concerning Russian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Russia national tourist organization offices in New York via the Internet at http://www.russia-travel.com.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Russia's civil aviation authority as Category 1 — in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Russia's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm.

Travelers should note that air travel within Russia, particularly in remote regions, could be unreliable at times. Some small local airlines do not have advance reservation systems but sell tickets for cash at the airport. Flights often are canceled if more than 30% of the seats remain unsold.

Customs Regulations: When arriving in Russia travelers must declare all items of value on a customs form; the same form used during arrival in Russia must be presented to customs officials at the time of departure. Travelers may enter Russia with up to 10,000 U.S. dollars without submitting a customs declaration. They may now leave Russia with up to 3,000 U.S. dollars without submitting a customs declaration. Travelers may export up to 10,000 U.S. dollars by submitting a customs declaration form. In order to ensure one's ability to leave with valuable items (such as expensive jewelry) that were brought into the country, travelers should be sure to declare all such items upon arrival and receive a stamp on their customs declaration form. The stamped form will have to be submitted upon exit from Russia. Lost or stolen customs forms should be reported to the Russian police, and a police report (spravka) should be obtained to present to customs officials upon departure. Often, however, the traveler will find that the lost customs declaration cannot be replaced. Travelers attempting to depart Russia with more money than allowed under customs regulations face possible detention, arrest, fines and confiscation of currency.

Travelers should obtain receipts for all high-value items (including caviar) purchased in Russia. Any article that could appear old or as having cultural value to the customs service, including artwork, icons, samovars, rugs, military medals and antiques, must have a certificate indicating that it has no historical or cultural value. It is illegal to remove such items from Russia without this certificate. Certificates will not be granted for the export of articles that are more than 100 years old, no matter the value. These certificates may be obtained from the Russian Ministry of Culture. For further information, Russian speakers may call the Airport Sheremetyevo-2 Customs Information Service in Moscow at (7) (095) 578-2125/578-2120, or, in St. Petersburg, the Ministry of Culture may be reached at 311-3496.

Russia also has very strict rules on the importation of large quantities of medication: certain prescription and over the counter drugs that are common in the United States are prohibited in Russia and large quantities of any medicine will receive scrutiny. It is advisable to contact the Russian embassy or one of Russia's consulates for specific information regarding this or other customs regulations.

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products are illegal and bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines. A current list of those countries with serious problems in this regard can be found here.

Global Positioning Equipment and Radio Electronics: The importation and use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and other radio electronic devices are subject to special rules and regulations in Russia. Mapping and natural resource data collection activities associated with normal, commercial and scientific collaboration may result in the seizure of equipment and/or arrest of the user. The penalty for using a GPS device in a manner that is determined to have compromised Russia's national security can carry a prison term of ten to twenty years. No traveler should attempt to import or use GPS equipment in any manner unless it has been properly and fully documented by the traveler in accordance with the instructions of the Glavgossvyaznadzor (Main Inspectorate of Communications) and is declared in full on a customs declaration at the point of entry to the Russian Federation.

All radio electronic devices brought into Russia must have a certificate from the Glavgossvyaznadzor of the Russian Federation. This includes all emitting, transmitting and receiving equipment such as GPS devices, satellite telephones and other kinds of radio electronic equipment. Excluded from the list are consumer electronic devices such as am/fm radios and cellular phones. A general information sheet on the importation and use of GPS devices, radio-electronic equipment, and computers in Russia is available on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov and from the American Citizens Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow or U.S. Consulates elsewhere in Russia.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens are subject to that country's laws and regulations. In some instances, laws in Russia differ significantly from those in the United States and do not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating the law, even unknowingly, may be arrested, imprisoned, expelled and forced to forfeit the unused part of a pre-purchased tour. Serious transgressions of the law can lead to arrest and imprisonment. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Russia are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

Under the PROTECT Act of April 2003, it is a crime, prosecutable in the United States, for a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien, to engage in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign country with a person under the age of 18, whether or not the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident alien intended to engage in such illicit sexual conduct prior to going abroad. For purposes of the PROTECT Act, illicit sexual conduct includes any commercial sex act in a foreign country with a person under the age of 18. The law defines a commercial sex act as any sex act, on account of which anything of value is given to or received by a person under the age of 18.

Under the Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act of 1998, it is a crime to use the mail or any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including the Internet, to transmit information about a minor under the age of 16 for criminal sexual purposes that include, among other things, the production of child pornography. This same law makes it a crime to use any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including the Internet, to transport obscene materials to minors under the age of 16.

Special Circumstances: The restrictive and complicated Russian visa regime creates situations unique in the world and unexpected and irrational features of the Russian system will surprise even seasoned travelers. Most striking, Russian visa law requires travelers to have a valid visa to depart Russia and resolving this situation may take up to twenty days. At the same time, travelers without valid visas cannot check in to any hotel, guesthouse, hostel, or other lodging establishment in Russia. United States citizens without valid visas face significant delays lasting several days or more in leaving Russia and during this time may have trouble finding adequate accommodation.

There are no adequate public shelters or safe havens in Russia and the Embassy or the Consulates General have no means to accommodate such stranded travelers.

The ruble is the only legal tender. It is illegal to pay for goods and services in U.S. dollars except at authorized retail establishments.

Worn U.S. bills or bills marked in any way are often not accepted at banks and exchange offices, even though this constitutes a violation of currency laws. Travelers may sporadically experience some difficulty in obtaining or exchanging dollars outside of major cities in Russia.

Travelers need no longer bring large amounts of hard currency unless they expect to travel in rural areas. Outside of major cities, commercial enterprises still operate largely on a cash basis and travelers should plan accordingly.

Credit card acceptance, while not universal, is rapidly spreading in Moscow and to a lesser extent in other large cities. However, it is not always predictable. Travelers should check in advance whether a specific store, restaurant, or hotel accepts credit cards. Travelers should know that for no apparent reason Russian credit card readers sometimes decline some valid credit cards. For this reasons, travelers should also have a back up (multiple cards or an ATM card) in case their card is not accepted.

Automated Teller machines (ATMs) are plentiful throughout Moscow and to a lesser extent other large cities. As in any city, American citizens should only use ATMs in well-lit, populated places. Dark, deserted locations invite theft and attacks. In addition, ATM users in Russia are more susceptible to becoming victims of fraud than in the United States. To lessen the possibility of becoming a victim of ATM fraud, American citizens should use ATMs that are physically attached to an established banking institution. Avoid "stand-alone" machines found on street corners and in metro stations. ATM users should also monitor their bank accounts on a regular basis. Any irregular activity associated with unauthorized withdrawals should be reported immediately to the bank.

Holders of travelers' checks have reported problems having them accepted in many commercial enterprises and even some banks. Personal checks are rarely accepted in Russia. Western union agents in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other large cities, which disburse money wired from the U.S. to Russia, sometimes experience periodic cash shortages.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/family/index.html or telephone Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.

Registration/Embassy and Consulate Locations: Americans living or traveling in Russia are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Russia. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

The U.S. Embassy's consular section is located in Moscow at Novinskiy Bulvar 19/23; The Embassy's switchboard is 7 (095) 728-5000, American Citizen Service's tel: (7) (095) 728-5000, after-hours emergencies: (7) (095) 728-5000, fax: (7) (095) 728-5084, email: [email protected], and website: http://www.usembassy.ru.

U.S. Consulates General are located in:
St. Petersburg
15 Ulitsa Furshtadtskaya, St. Petersburg 191028
Tel: (7) (812) 331-2600;
Fax: (7) (812) 331-2646
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.stpetersburgusconsulate.ru/

Vladivostok
32 Ulitsa Pushkinskaya, Vladivostok 690001
Tel: (7) (4232) 30-00-70;
Fax: (7) (4232) 30-00-91
After-hours emergencies: (7) (4232) 71 00 67
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: http://vladivostok.usconsulate.gov

Yekaterinburg
Ulitsa Gogolya 15a, 4th floor, Yekaterinburg 620151
Tel: (7) (343)379-3001;
Fax: (7) (343) 379-4515
After-hours emergencies: (7) 8 902 84 16653
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.usa.ural.ru

Internet Dating Schemes

October 22, 2004

United States citizens should be alert to attempts at fraud by persons claiming to live in Russia professing friendship, romantic interest, and / or marriage intentions over the Internet.

Typically, once a connection is made, the correspondent asks the U.S. citizen to send money or credit card information for living expenses, travel expenses, or "visa costs". Sometimes, the correspondent notifies the American citizen that a close family member, usually the mother, is in desperate need of surgery and begins to request monetary assistance. Scams have even advanced to the point where the U.S. citizen is informed of a serious or fatal accident to the correspondent and the "family" asks for money to cover hospital or funeral costs. Several citizens report losing thousands of dollars through such scams.

The anonymity of the Internet means that the U.S. citizen cannot be sure of the real name, age, marital status, nationality, or even gender of the correspondent. In every case reported to the embassy, the correspondent turned out to be a fictitious persona created only to lure the U.S. citizen into sending money.

These scammers have created male as well as female characters and entice same sex correspondents as well as those of the opposite sex. A disturbing recent twist are scammers who have connected to U.S. citizens through chat rooms for HIV positive individuals, posed as HIV positive individuals themselves, and asked for money for treatment or travel to the United States.

Correspondents who quickly move to professions of romantic interest or discussion of intimate matters are likely inventions of scammers. A request for funds almost always marks a fraudulent correspondent. U.S. citizens are cautioned against sending any money to persons they have not actually met. If they do choose to send money, they can take several precautions.

They may refer to http://uscis.gov for authoritative information about the immigration process and the true costs involved. For example, U.S. law does not require Russian visitors to have a certain amount of "pocket money" or "walking around money" in either rubles or dollars.

They may arrange to prepay for a plane ticket directly with the carrier rather than wiring money for transportation to the traveler.

If the correspondent provides an image of a purported U.S. visa as proof of intention to travel, the U.S. citizen may contact the United States Embassy in Moscow at [email protected] to ascertain the validity of the visa.

Public Announcement

October 27, 2004

This Public Announcement is being issued to alert American citizens traveling or living in Russia that recent incidents of terrorism within Russia have highlighted the continued risk of terrorist activity. There remains a heightened potential for terrorist actions, including attacks against civilians. This situation is likely to continue for some time. Since August 24, 2004, Russia has experienced several terrorist incidents. This supercedes the Public Announcement of September 3, 2004 and expires on March 31, 2005.

On August 24, two airplanes departing from Moscow to cities in southern Russia crashed within minutes of each other. The cause of the crashes, which claimed 90 lives, has been identified as explosives onboard the planes. On the same night, an explosion at a bus stop in Moscow injured several people. On August 31, a suicide bomber detonated a bomb outside a Moscow metro station killing ten people and injuring several dozen more.

On September 1, a group of terrorists believed to have links with Chechen separatists, seized a school in the Russian republic of North Ossetia, holding hostage over 1,200 students, parents and teachers. Over 300 hostages died.

Acts of terrorism, including bombings and hostage taking, have occurred in large Russian cities over the last several years. Bombings have occurred at Russian government buildings, hotels, tourist sites, markets, entertainment venues, schools, residential complexes, and on public transportation.

The Department of State notes that Chechen separatist elements have issued a new statement threatening attacks against Russian and U.S. interests. In addition, there is a general risk of an American citizen being an unintended victim of an indiscriminate terrorist attack. American citizens traveling or living in Russia are advised that the potential for terrorist actions, including actions against civilians, is high and likely will remain so for some time. American citizens in Russia should be aware of their personal surroundings and follow good security practices. Americans are urged to remain vigilant and exercise good judgment and discretion when using any form of public transportation. Americans should consider alternate forms of ground travel other than the metro if possible, especially during peak hours of usage. When going via train, plane or bus, travelers may wish to provide a friend or coworker a copy of any travel schedule. Americans should avoid large crowds and public gatherings that lack enhanced security measures. Travelers should also exercise a high degree of caution and remain alert when patronizing restaurants, casinos, nightclubs, bars, theaters, etc., especially during peak hours of business.

Due to continued civil and political unrest throughout much of the Caucasus region, the Department of State already warns U.S. citizens against travel to Chechnya and all areas that border it: North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Stavropol, Karachayevo-Cherkessiya and Kabardino-Balkariya. United States government personnel are prohibited from traveling to these areas, and American citizens residing in these areas should depart immediately as the safety of Americans and other foreigners cannot be effectively guaranteed.

American citizens living in Russia or traveling there are strongly urged to register with the embassy or nearest consulate general. Registration will allow the embassy to provide direct information on the security situation as necessary. Information on registering with the embassy can be found at the embassy web www.usembassy.ru or at the department of state's consular affairs website: http://travel.state.gov/travel/abroad_registration.html

As the Department continues to develop information on any potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information through its consular information program documents, available on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov. In addition to information on the Internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2328.

International Adoption

January 2005

The information below has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The following is intended as a very general guide to assist U.S. citizens who plan to adopt a child in Russia and apply for an immigrant visa for the child to come to the United States. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Please Note: Please plan to stay a minimum of three business days in Moscow to obtain documents and complete the medical exams necessary for the immigrant visa interview. Parents should calculate a five-day "cushion time" in the validity dates they request when applying for a Russian visa. The U.S. Embassy recommends that flight arrangements for departing Russia not be finalized until the immigrant visa is issued.

Patterns of Immigration of Adopted Orphans to the U.S.: Recent U.S. immigrant visa statistics reflect the following pattern for visa issuance to orphans

Fiscal Year: Number of Immigrant Visas Issued
FY 2003: 5209
FY 2002: 4939
FY 2001: 5004
FY 2000: 4687
FY 1999: 4470

Adoption Authority in Russia: The government office responsible for international adoptions in Russia is the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation.

Ministry of Education and Science
#11 Tverskaya Street
Moscow, Russia 125993 GSP 3
Tel: 011-7-095-229-6610

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents: Married couples may adopt. Single parents can adopt but there must be at least 16 years difference between the parent and adoptive child. Russia also has medical requirements for adoptive parents. Anyone considering adoption in Russia should consult their adoption agency about medical conditions that may disqualify them from adopting in Russia.

Residential Requirements: There are no residency requirements for adopting parents.

Time Frame: The average time for the adoption process is 5 months from the time US CIS approves the I-600A petition to the issuance of the immigrant visa.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: Russia requires adoptive parents to use an adoption agency that is accredited by the Russian Government to provide adoption services. Adoption agencies that do not have Russian accreditation must work under the auspices of an accredited adoption agency. The U.S. Embassy in Russia has a list of agencies accredited by the Russian authorities to provide adoption services. A list of accredited adoption agencies is available at the adoptions page of the U.S. Embassy's Web site at http://www.moscow.usembassy.gov/consular/wwwhci5.html and on the Web site for the Embassy of the Russian Federation http://www.russianembassy.org/.

Adoption Fees in Russia: Based on interviews with adoptive parents by U.S. Embassy officials, the average cost of an adoption is approximately $20,000.00.

Adoption Procedures: Russian law requires that a child must have been registered in the state database for children left without parental care for at least three months before he or she is considered eligible for international adoption.

With assistance of an adoption agency accredited by the Russian Government, parents first apply to a regional Ministry of Education, which directs them to an orphanage. Adoptive parents are required to travel to Russia to meet prospective adoptive children. There they select a child and apply to the court to get a court date. Adoptive parents may return to the United States after applying for a court date. However, the prospective adoptive child must remain in Russia during this time. Adoptive parents travel a second time to Russia to attend the court hearing. After the court hearing, they obtain the adoption certificate and a new birth certificate (showing the child's new name, and the adoptive parents as the parents) from the ZAGS (civil registration office), after which they can obtain the passport for the child from the OVIR (visa and registration department). Parents then can contact the Embassy to make an appointment to apply for the immigrant visa. (Note: the child's passport will be issued in the child's new name, which will appear in Cyrillic characters and in "English." However, the Russian officials will transliterate the name from Cyrillic into English and the result usually will not be spelled as your family spells it. For example, Smith will be Smit (there is no "th" in Russian); Callaghan will be Kalahan, etc. The fact that the child's name is "mis-spelled" in the passport will NOT cause a problem when you travel and should not be a cause for concern.)

Registration of Russian Orphans with the MFA: Adopted Russian children must be registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before they leave the country. For U.S. citizen families, this is done after an adopted child receives an immigrant visa to the United States.

The following documents are needed for registration:

  • Original of the child's passport;
  • Copies of the parents' passports;
  • Letter from the orphanage (orphanage release);
  • Letter from the Ministry of Education of Russia;
  • Court decision;
  • Adoption certificate;
  • mmigrant visa of the child (original).

Documents Required for Adoption in Russia: The following documents are required by the Russian court for an adoption:

  • Home Study;
  • US CIS approval notice (I-171H or I-797);
  • Copies of prospective adoptive parents' passports;
  • Marriage certificate/divorce certificate (if applicable);
  • Police certificate;
  • Medical examination report;
  • Financial documents: employment verification letter, bank statements, tax forms;
  • Evidence of place of residence.

All of these documents should be translated into Russian and apostilled (see below for information on authenticating documents).

After prospective parents identify the child they should fill out the adoption application, which can be obtained at the Russian court where the adoption hearings will take place. Additional required statements for the court hearings from the parents, which should be signed in front of a Russian notary, are:

  • Prospective adoptive parents have been informed about the health conditions of the child and they accept them;
  • They will register their adopted child with the MFA; and
  • They will provide the Department of Education with periodic, required post placement reports on time.

Authenticating U.S. Documents To Be Used Abroad: All U.S. documents submitted to the Russia government/court must be authenticated. Please visit our Web site at travel.state.gov for additional information about authentication procedures.

Russian Embassy and Consulates in the United States: Embassy of the Russian Federation; 2650 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.; Washington, D.C. 20007; Tel: 202-298-5700; Fax: 202-298-5735; http://www.russianembassy.org/

The Russian Federation also has consulates in San Francisco, California, New York, New York, and Seattle, Washington.

U.S. Embassy in Russia: As soon as prospective adopting parents arrive in Russia, they should contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in order to register their presence in Russia. The Consular Section is located at: U.S. Embassy of Russia; #19/23 Novinsky Blvd.; Moscow, Russia 123242; Tel: 728-5000 switchboard; 728-5567 (orphan visas); 728-5058 (orphan visas); Fax: 728-5247 (orphans only); Web site: http://www.usembassy.ru/

Additional Information: Specific questions about adoption in Russia may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Russia. General questions regarding international adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4 th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-404-4747.

views updated

Russia

Compiled from the July 2006 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Russian Federation

PROFILE

PEOPLE

HISTORY

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

ECONOMY

DEFENSE

FOREIGN RELATIONS

U.S.-RUSSIA RELATIONS

TRAVEL

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 17 million sq. km. (6.5 million sq. mi.); about 1.8 times the size of the United States.

Cities: Capital—Moscow (pop. 8.3 million). Other cities—St. Petersburg (4.6 million), Novosibirsk (1.4 million), Nizhniy Novgorod (1.3 million).

Terrain: Broad plain with low hills west of Urals; vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia; uplands and mountains (Caucasus range) along southern borders.

Climate: Northern continental.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective— Russian(s).

Population: (2005) 142.7 million.

Annual growth rate: (2005 est.) -0.56% (population declining).

Ethnic groups: Russian 79.8%, Tatar 3.8%, Ukrainian 2%, other 14.4%.

Religion: Russian Orthodox, Islam, Judaism, Roman Catholicism, Protestant, Buddhist, other.

Language: Russian (official); more than 140 other languages and dialects.

Education: (total pop.) Literacy— 99.6%.

Health: Life expectancy (2002 est.)— 53 yrs. men, 64 yrs. women.

Work force: (74.22 million) Production and economic services—84%; government—16%.

Government

Type: Federation.

Independence: August 24, 1991.

Constitution: December 12, 1993.

Government branches: Executive—president, prime minister (chairman of the government). Legislative—Federal Assembly (Federation Council, State Duma). Judicial— Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, Supreme Court of Arbitration, Office of Procurator General.

Political parties: The December 2003 Duma elections were contested by United Russia, the Communist Party (KPRF), the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), the Homeland (Rodina) bloc, the Union of Right Forces (SPS) and Yabloko. SPS and Yabloko, parties favoring liberal reforms, failed to clear the 5% threshold to enter the Duma as a party.

Political subdivisions: 21 autonomous republics and 68 autonomous territories and regions.

Suffrage: Universal at 18 years.

Economy

GDP: (2005) $740.7 billion.

Growth rate: (2005) 6.4%.

Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, timber, furs, precious and nonferrous metals.

Agriculture: Products—Grain, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, meat, dairy products.

Industry: Types—Complete range of manufactures: automobiles, trucks, trains, agricultural equipment, advanced aircraft, aerospace, machine and equipment products; mining and extractive industry; medical and scientific instruments; construction equipment.

Trade: (2005) Exports—$245 billion: petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas, woods and wood products, metals, chemicals. Major markets—EU, CIS, China, Japan. Imports—$125 billion: machinery and equipment, chemicals, consumer goods, medicines, meat, sugar, semifinished metal products. Major partners—EU, U.S., NIS, Japan, China. U.S. exports—$3 billion. Principal U.S. exports (2005)—oil/gas equipment, poultry, inorganic chemicals, tobacco, aircraft, medical equipment, autos/parts. U.S. imports—$11.8 billion. Principal U.S. imports (2005)— oil, aluminum, chemicals, platinum, iron/steel, fish and crustaceans, knit apparel, nickel, wood, and copper.

PEOPLE

Most of the roughly 143 million Russians derive from the Eastern Slavic family of peoples, whose original homeland was probably present-day Poland. Russian is the official language of Russia and is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. Russian is also the language of such giants of world literature as Pushkin, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekov, Pasternak and Solzhenitsyn.

Russia’s educational system has produced nearly 100% literacy. About 3 million students attend Russia’s 519 institutions of higher education and 48 universities, but continued reform is critical to producing students with skills to adapt to a market economy. Because great emphasis is placed on science and technology in education, Russian medical, mathematical, scientific, and space and aviation research is still generally of a high order. The number of doctors in relation to the population is high by American standards, although medical care in Russia, even in major cities, is far below Western standards. The unraveling of the Soviet state in its last decades and the physical and psychological traumas of transition during the 1990s resulted in a steady decline in the health of the Russian people. Currently Russia faces a demographic crisis as births lag far behind deaths. While its population is aging, skyrocketing deaths of working-age males due to cardiovascular disease is a major cause of Russia’s demographic woes. A rapid increase in HIV/AIDS infections and tuberculosis compounds the problem. In 2002, life expectancy at birth was 53 for men and 64 for women. The large annual excess of deaths over births is expected to cut Russia’s population by 30% over the next 50 years.

The Russian labor force is undergoing tremendous changes. Although well educated and skilled, it is largely mismatched to the rapidly changing needs of the Russian economy. Official unemployment has dropped in recent years to 7.6%, but millions of Russian workers are underemployed. Unemployment is highest among women and young people. Many Russian workers compensate by working other part-time jobs. Following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union and the economic dislocation it engendered, the standard of living fell dramatically. However, the standard of living has been on the rise since 1999, and experts estimate that the middle class ranges from one-fifth to one-third of the population. In 2005, 7.8% of the population lived below the poverty line (with a subsistence wage of $94 per month), in contrast to 38.1% in 1998. However, the gap between rich and poor continues to widen at an unsustainable rate.

Moscow is Russia’s capital and largest city (population 8.3 million). Moscow is also increasingly important as an economic and business center; it has become Russia’s principal magnet for foreign investment and business presence. Its cultural tradition is rich, and there are many museums devoted to art, literature, music, dance, history, and science, as well as hundreds of churches and dozens of notable cathedrals. The second-largest city in Russia is St. Petersburg, which was established by Peter the Great in 1703 to be the capital of the Russian Empire as part of his Western-looking reforms. The city was called Petrograd during World War I and Leningrad after 1924. In 1991, as the result of a city referendum, it was renamed St. Petersburg. Under the tsars, the city was Russia’s cultural, intellectual, commercial, financial, and industrial center. After Lenin moved the capital back to Moscow in 1918, the city’s political significance declined, but it remained a cultural, scientific, and military-industrial center. The Hermitage, formerly the Winter Palace of the tsars, is one of the world’s great fine arts museums.

Russia has an area of about 17 million square kilometers (6.5 million sq. mi.); in geographic terms, this makes Russia the largest country in the world by more than 2.5 million square miles. But with a population density of about 22 persons per square mile (9 per sq. km.), it is sparsely populated, and most of its residents live in urban areas.

HISTORY

Although human experience on the territory of present-day Russia dates back to Paleolithic times, the first lineal predecessor of the modern Russian state was founded in 862. The political entity known as Kievan Rus was established in Novgorod in 962 and lasted until the 12th century. In the 10th century, Christianity became the state religion under Vladimir, who adopted Greek Orthodox rites. Consequently, Byzantine culture predominated, as is evident in much of Russia’s architectural, musical, and artistic heritage. Over the next centuries, various invaders assaulted the Kievan state and, finally, Mongols under Batu Khan destroyed the main population centers except for Novgorod and Pskov and prevailed over the region until 1480.

In the post-Mongol period, Muscovy gradually became the dominant principality and was able, through diplomacy and conquest, to establish suzerainty over European Russia. Ivan III (1462-1505) referred to his empire as “the Third Rome” and considered it heir to the Byzantine tradition. Ivan IV (the Terrible) (1530-1584) was the first Russian ruler to call himself tsar. He pushed Russian eastward with his conquests but his later reign was marked by the cruelty that earned him his familiar epithet. He was succeeded by Boris Godunov, whose reign commenced the so-called Time of Troubles. Relative stability was achieved when Michael Romanov established the dynasty that bore his name in 1613.

During the reign of Peter the Great (1689-1725), modernization and European influences spread in Russia. Peter created Western-style military forces, subordinated the Russian Orthodox Church hierarchy to the tsar, reformed the entire governmental structure, and established the beginnings of a Western-style education system. He moved the capital westward from Moscow to St. Petersburg, his newly-established city on the Baltic. His introduction of European customs generated nationalistic

resentments in society and spawned the philosophical rivalry between “Westernizers” and nationalistic “Slavophiles” that remains a key dynamic of current Russian social and political thought.

Catherine the Great continued Peter’s expansionist policies and established Russia as a European power. During her reign (1762-96), power was centralized in the monarchy, and administrative reforms concentrated great wealth and privilege in the hands of the Russian nobility. Catherine was also known as an enthusiastic patron of art, literature and education and for her correspondence with Voltaire and other Enlightenment figures.

Alexander I (1801-1825) began his reign as a reformer, but after defeating Napoleon’s 1812 attempt to conquer Russia, he became much more conservative and rolled back many of his early reforms. During this era, Russia gained control of Georgia and much of the Caucasus. Throughout the 19th century, the Russian Government sought to suppress repeated attempts at reform from within, particularly under the reign of Nicholas I (1825-1855). Its economy failed to compete with those of Western countries. Russian cities were growing without an industrial base to generate employment, although emancipation of the serfs in 1861 foreshadowed urbanization and rapid industrialization late in the century. At the same time, Russia expanded into the rest of the Caucasus, Central Asia and across Siberia. The port of Vladivostok was opened on the Pacific coast in 1860. The Trans-Siberian Railroad opened vast frontiers to development late in the century. In the 19th century, Russian culture flourished as Russian artists made significant contributions to world literature, visual arts, dance, and music. The names of Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Gogal, Repin, and Tchaikovsky became known to the world.

Alexander II (1855-1881), a relatively liberal tsar, emancipated the serfs. His 1881 assassination, however, prompted the reactionary rule of Alexander III (1881-1894). At the turn of the century, imperial decline became evident. Russia was defeated in the unpopular Russo-Japanese war in 1905. The Russian Revolution of 1905 forced Tsar Nicholas II (1894-1917) to grant a constitution and introduce limited democratic reforms. The government suppressed opposition and manipulated popular anger into anti-Semitic pogroms. Attempts at economic change, such as land reform, were incomplete.

1917 Revolution and the U.S.S.R.

The ruinous effects of World War I, combined with internal pressures, sparked the March 1917 uprising that led Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate the throne. A provisional government came to power, headed by Aleksandr Kerenskiy. On November 7, 1917, the Bolshevik Party, led by Vladimir Lenin, seized control and established the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic. Civil war broke out in 1918 between Lenin’s “Red” army and various “White” forces and lasted until 1920, when, despite foreign interventions, the Bolsheviks triumphed. After the Red army conquered Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia, a new nation, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.), was formed in 1922.

First among its political figures was Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik Party and head of the first Soviet Government, who died in 1924. In the late 1920s, Josef Stalin emerged as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) amidst intraparty rivalries; he maintained complete control over Soviet domestic and international policy until his death in 1953. In the 1930s, Stalin oversaw the forced collectivization of tens of millions of its citizens in state agricultural and industrial enterprises. Millions died in the process. Millions more died in political purges, the vast penal and labor system, and in state-created famines. Although initially allied to Nazi Germany, 20 million Soviet citizens died during World War II in the successful effort to defeat Fascism. After the war, the U.S.S.R. became one of the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council. In 1949, the U.S.S.R. developed its own nuclear arsenal.

Stalin’s successor, Nikita Khrushchev, served as Communist Party leader until he was ousted in 1964. Aleksey Kosygin became Chairman of the Council of Ministers, and Leonid Brezhnev was made First Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee in 1964. But in 1971, Brezhnev rose to become “first among equals” in a collective leadership. Brezhnev died in 1982 and was succeeded by Yuriy Andropov (1982-84) and Konstantin Chernenko (1984-85). In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev became the next (and last) General Secretary of the CPSU. Gorbachev introduced policies of perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (openness). But his efforts to reform the creaky Communist system from within failed. The people of the Soviet Union were not content with half-freedoms granted by Moscow; they demanded more and the system collapsed. Boris Yeltsin was elected the first president of the Russian Federation in 1991. Russia, Ukraine and Belarus formed the Commonwealth of Independent States in December 1991. Gorbachev resigned as Soviet President on December 25, 1991. Eleven days later, the U.S.S.R. was formally dissolved.

The Russian Federation

After the December 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation became its successor state, inheriting its permanent seat on the UN Security Council, as well as the bulk of its foreign assets and debt. By the fall of 1993, politics in Russia reached a stalemate between President Yeltsin and the parliament. The parliament had succeeded in blocking, overturning, or ignoring the President’s initiatives on drafting a new constitution, conducting new elections, and making further progress on democratic and economic reforms.

In a dramatic speech in September 1993, President Yeltsin dissolved the Russian parliament and called for new national elections and a new constitution. The standoff between the executive branch and opponents in the legislature turned violent in October after supporters of the parliament tried to instigate an armed insurrection. Yeltsin ordered the army to respond with force to capture the parliament building and crush the insurrection. In December 1993, voters elected a new parliament and approved a new constitution that had been drafted by the Yeltsin government. Yeltsin remained the dominant political figure, although a broad array of parties, including ultra-nationalists, liberals, agrarians, and communists, had substantial representation in the parliament and competed actively in elections at all levels of government.

In late 1994, the Russian security forces launched a brutal operation in the Republic of Chechnya against rebels who were intent on separation from Russia. Along with their opponents, Russian forces committed numerous violations of human rights. The protracted conflict, which received close scrutiny in the Russian media, raised serious human rights and humanitarian concerns abroad as well as within Russia. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to institute a cease-fire, in August 1996 the Russian and Chechen authorities negotiated a settlement that resulted in a complete withdrawal of Russian troops and the holding of elections in January 1997. A peace treaty was concluded in May 1997. Following a number of terrorist incidents blamed on Chechen separatists, the Russian government launched a new military campaign into Chechnya. By spring 2000, federal forces claimed control over Chechen territory, but fighting continues as rebel fighters regularly ambush Russian forces in the region. Throughout 2002 and 2003, the ability of Chechen separatists to battle the Russian forces waned but they claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist acts.

On December 31, 1999 Boris Yeltsin resigned, and Vladimir Putin was named Acting President. In March 2000, he won election in his own right as Russia’s second president with 53% of the vote. Putin moved quickly to reassert Moscow’s control over the regions, whose governors had confidently ignored edicts from Boris Yeltsin. He sent his own “plenipotentiary representatives” (commonly called ‘polpred’ in Russian) to ensure that Moscow’s policies were followed in recalcitrant regions and republics. He won enactment of liberal economic reforms that rescued a faltering economy and stopped a spiral of hyperinflation. Putin achieved wide popularity by stabilizing the government, especially in marked contrast to what many Russians saw as the chaos of the latter Yeltsin years. The economy grew, both because of rising oil prices and in part because Putin was able to achieve reforms in banking, labor, and private property. During this time, Russia also moved closer to the U.S., especially after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. In 2002, the NATO-Russia Council was established, giving Russia a voice in NATO discussions.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

In the political system established by the 1993 constitution, the president wields considerable executive power. There is no vice president, and the legislative branch is far weaker than the executive. The bicameral legislature consists of the lower house (State Duma) and the upper house (the Federation Council). The president nominates the highest state officials, including the prime minister, who must be approved by the Duma. The president can pass decrees without consent from the Duma. He also is head of the armed forces and of the Security Council.

Duma elections were held most recently on December 7, 2003, and presidential elections on March 14, 2004. The pro-government party, United Russia, won close to half of the seats in the Duma. Combined with its allies, United Russia commands a two-thirds majority. The OSCE judged the Duma elections as failing to meet international standards for fairness, due largely to extensive slanted media bias in the campaign. Vladimir Putin was reelected to a second four-year term with 71% of the vote in March 2004. The Russian constitution does not allow presidents to serve more than two consecutive terms. Next elections for the Duma occur in December 2007, and for President in early 2008.

Russia is a federation, but the precise distribution of powers between the central government and the regional and local authorities is still evolving. The Russian Federation consists of 89 regional administrative units, including two federal cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg. The constitution explicitly defines the federal government’s exclusive powers, but it also describes most key regional issues as the joint responsibility of the federal government and the regional administrative units. In 2000, President Putin grouped the regions into seven federal districts, with presidential appointees established in Moscow and six provincial capitals. In March 2004, the Constitution was amended to permit the merger of some regional administrative units. A law enacted in December 2004 eliminated the direct election of the country’s regional leaders. Governors are now nominated by the president and subject to confirmation by regional legislatures.

Judicial System

The Russian judicial system consists of the Constitutional Court, courts of general jurisdiction, military courts, and arbitrage courts (which hear commercial disputes). The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation is a court of limited subject matter jurisdiction. The 1993 constitution empowers the Constitutional Court to arbitrate disputes between the executive and legislative branches and between Moscow and the regional and local governments. The court also is authorized to rule on violations of constitutional rights, to examine appeals from various bodies, and to participate in impeachment proceedings against the president. The July 1994 Law on the Constitutional Court prohibits the court from examining cases on its own initiative and limits the scope of issues the court can hear. The system of general jurisdiction courts includes the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, regional level courts, district level courts and justices of the peace.

The Duma passed a Criminal Procedure Code and other judicial reforms during its 2001 session. These reforms help make the Russian judicial system more compatible with its Western counterparts and are seen by most as an accomplishment in human rights. The reforms have reintroduced jury trials in certain criminal cases and created a more adversarial system of criminal trials that protect the rights of defendants more adequately. In 2002, the introduction of the new code led to significant reductions in time spent in detention for new detainees, and the number of suspects placed in pretrial detention declined by 30%. Another significant advance in the new Code is the transfer from the Procuracy to the courts of the authority to issue search and arrest warrants. There are rising concerns, however, that prosecutors have selectively targeted individuals for political reasons, as in the prosecution of Yukos Oil CEO Mikhail Khodorkovskiy.

In spite of the general tendency to increase judicial independence (for example, by recent considerable salary raise to judges), many judges still see their role not as of impartial and independent arbiters, but as of government officials protecting state interests. See below for more information on the commercial court/business law.

Human Rights

Russia’s human rights record remains uneven and has worsened in some areas in recent years. Despite significant improvements in conditions following the end of the Soviet Union, problem areas remain. In particular, the Russian Government’s policy in Chechnya is a cause for international concern. Although the government has made progress in recognizing the legitimacy of international human rights standards, the institutionalization of procedures to safeguard these rights has lagged. There are, however, indications that the law is becoming an increasingly important tool for those seeking to protect human rights.

The judiciary is often subject to manipulation by political authorities and is plagued by large case backlogs and trial delays. Lengthy pretrial detention remains a serious problem. Russia has one of the highest prison population rates in the world, at 685 per 100,000. There are credible reports of beating and torture of inmates and detainees by law enforcement and correctional officials. Prison conditions fall well below international standards. In 2001, President Putin pronounced a moratorium on the death penalty. There are reports that the Russian Government might still be violating promises they made upon entering the European Council, especially in terms of prison control and conditions.

In Chechnya, there have been credible allegations of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by Russian and pro-Moscow Chechen forces. Chechen rebels also have committed abuses as well as acts of terrorism. Human rights groups have criticized Russian officials concerning cases of Chechens disappearing while in custody. Chechen rebels have similarly been responsible for politically motivated disappearances. Russian authorities have introduced some improvements, including better access to complaint mechanisms, the formal opening of investigations in most cases, and the introduction of two decrees requiring the presence of civilian investigators and other nonmilitary personnel during all large-scale military operations and targeted search and seizure operations. Human rights groups welcome these changes but claim that most abuses remain uninvestigated and unpunished and may be spreading more broadly in the North Caucasus.

The Russian constitution provides for freedom of religion and the equality of all religions before the law, as well as the separation of church and state. Although Jews and Muslims continue to encounter prejudice and societal discrimination, they have not been inhibited by the government in the free practice of their religion. High-ranking federal officials have condemned anti-Semitic hate crimes, but law enforcement bodies have not effectively prosecuted those responsible. The influx of foreign missionaries has led to pressure by groups in Russia, specifically nationalists and the Russian Orthodox Church, to limit the activities of these “nontraditional” religious groups. In response, the Duma passed a restrictive and potentially discriminatory law on religion in October 1997. The law is complex, with many ambiguous and contradictory provisions. The law’s most controversial provisions distinguish between religious “groups” and “organizations” and introduce a 15-year rule, which allows groups that have been in existence for 15 years or longer to obtain accredited status. Senior Russian officials have pledged to implement the 1997 law on religion in a manner that is not in conflict with Russia’s international human rights obligations. Some local officials, however, have used the law as a pretext to restrict religious liberty.

Government pressure continued to weaken freedom of expression and the independence and freedom of some media, particularly major national television networks and regional media outlets. A government decision resulted in the elimination of the last major non-state television network in 2003. National press is also increasingly in government hands or owned by government officials, narrowing the scope of opinion available. Self-censorship is a growing press problem. Enactment of a new law on foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in 2006 was criticized in many quarters as a device to control civil society. Implementing regulations appear to impose onerous paperwork reporting burdens on NGOs that could be used to limit or even suppress some of them.

The constitution guarantees citizens the right to choose their place of residence and to travel abroad. Some big-city governments, however, have restricted this right through residential registration rules that closely resemble the Soviet-era “propiska” regulations. Although the rules were touted as a notification device rather than a control system, their implementation has produced many of the same results as the propiska system. The freedom to travel abroad and emigrate is respected although restrictions may apply to those who have had access to state secrets. Recognizing this progress, since 1994, the U.S. President has found Russia to be in full compliance with the provisions of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 1/24/2007

Pres.: Vladimir Vladimirovich PUTIN

Premier: Mikhail Yefimovich FRADKOV

First Dep. Premier: Dimitriy Anatolyevich MEDVEDEV

Dep. Premier: Sergey Borisovich IVANOV

Dep. Premier: Aleksandr Dmitriyevich ZHUKOV

Min. of Agriculture: Aleksey Vasilyevich GORDEYEV

Min. of Civil Defense, Emergencies, & Natural Disasters: Sergey Kuzhugetovich SHOYGU

Min. of Culture & Mass Communication: Aleksandr Sergeyevich SOKOLOV

Min. of Defense: Sergey Borisovich IVANOV

Min. of Economic Development & Trade: German Oskarovich GREF

Min. of Education & Science: Andrey Aleksandrovich FURSENKO

Min. of Finance: Aleksey Leonidovich KUDRIN

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Sergey Viktorovich LAVROV

Min. of Health & Social Development: Mikhail Yuryevich ZURABOV

Min. of Industry & Energy: Viktor Borisovich KHRISTENKO

Min. of Information Technology & Communications: Leonid Dododzhonovich REYMAN

Min. of Internal Affairs: Rashid Gumarovich NURGALIYEV

Min. of Justice: Vladimir Vasilyevich USTINOV

Min. of Natural Resources: Yuriy Petrovich TRUTNEV

Min. of Regional Development: Vladimir Anatolyevich YAKOVLEV

Min. of Transportation: Igor Yevgenyevich LEVITIN

Dir., Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR): Sergey Nikolayevich LEBEDEV

Dir., Federal Security Service (FSB): Nikolay Platonovich PATRUSHEV

Head, Govt. Apparatus: Sergey Yevgenyevich NARYSHKIN

First Dep. Chmn. of the Military-Industrial Commission: Vladislav Nikolayevich PUTILIN

Sec., Security Council: Igor Sergeyevich IVANOV

Chmn., Central Bank of Russia: Sergey Mikhaylovich IGNATYEV

Procurator Gen.: Yuriy Yakovlevich CHAYKA

Ambassador to the US: Yuriy Viktorovich USHAKOV

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Vitaliy Ivanovich CHURKIN

The Russian Federation maintains an embassy at 2650 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20007 (tel. 202-298-5700) and a consular section at 2641 Tunlaw Road, Washington, DC (tel. 202-939-8907/8913/8918). Russian consulates also are located in Houston, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle.

ECONOMY

The Russian economy underwent tremendous stress in the 1990s as it moved from a centrally planned economy to a free market system. Difficulties in implementing fiscal reforms aimed at raising government revenues and a dependence on short-term borrowing to finance budget deficits led to a serious financial crisis in 1998. Lower prices for Russia’s major export earners (oil and minerals) and a loss of investor confidence due to the Asian financial crisis exacerbated financial problems. The result was a rapid and steep decline (60%) in the value of the ruble, flight of foreign investment, delayed payments on sovereign and private debts, a breakdown of commercial transactions through the banking system, and the threat of runaway inflation.

Still, Russia weathered the crisis well. In the seven years following the financial crisis, GDP growth averaged 7% due to a devalued ruble, implementation of key economic reforms (tax, banking, labor and land codes), tight fiscal policy, and favorable commodities prices. Since 2003, however, capacity constraints were reached and the rate of GDP growth has slowed absent adequate investment. Investment will need to maintain an annual investment growth of 10.2% to maintain an economic growth rate of 6% (investment grew 10.9% in 2005). Inflation and exchange rates have stabilized due to a prudent fiscal policy (Russia has run a budget surplus since 2003). The government created a stabilization/rainy day fund (currently $246 billion), and has the third-largest foreign exchange reserves in the world (close to $250 billion at the end of June 2006) which should shelter it from commodity price shocks.

Russia’s balance of payments moves from strength to strength. The current account balance grew from $58.6 billion in 2004 to $84.2 billion in 2005, almost entirely due to oil price increases. The capital account weakened slightly, from -$6.3 billion in 2004 to -$10.9 billion in 2005. (The capital account would have been in surplus in 2005 had it not been for prepayment of official debt and the sale of Sibneft, which were classified as outflows.) In addition, net private capital flows in 2005 were positive for the first time during the transition period, as opposed to an outflow of $8.0 billion in 2004. Foreign direct investment (FDI) flows dramatically improved in 2004 and 2005 (inflows totaled $15.4 billion and $14.6 billion, respectively), up from $3.4 billion in 2002. As of July 1, 2006, the ruble is convertible for both current and capital transactions. By the end of 2006, Russia plans to prepay its entire Soviet-era Paris Club debt of $22 billion. Such a dramatic reversal to the macroeconomic situation is truly remarkable. Russia currently has a sovereign investment-grade rating from Standard and Poor’s of BBB-.

Although the economy has begun to diversify, the government budget and economy is more dependent than ever on oil and gas revenues. While currently sheltered from external price shocks, the government realizes the need to intensify reforms that will promote new investment in aging infrastructure and continued productivity gains. The government believes it can do this by controlling strategic enterprises (definition of which is still unclear), state-sponsored investment funds, special economic zones, and by limiting foreign investment in key strategic sectors. The investment climate is still poor, with excessive bureaucracy, corruption, insufficient and insufficiently enforced legislation, selective interpretation of laws (particularly tax laws), unclear limits and conditions on foreign investment, obsolete infrastructure, and stalled economic reforms. In 2005, the government announced reform programs in four priority areas (health, education, housing, and agriculture), but further work is needed on financial regulation, civil service reform, and reform of government monopolies, such as railroads, gas, and electricity.

Gross Domestic Product

A strong expansion in internal demand continues to drive GDP growth, despite a slowdown in manufacturing and tradable sectors. GDP growth and industrial production for 2005 were 6.4% and 4.0%, respectively, relative to 7.2% and 8.3% in 2004. GDP growth is currently derived from non-tradable sectors, but investment remains concentrated in tradables (oil and gas). Recent productivity growth has still been strong in some parts of domestic manufacturing. Real disposable incomes grew by 8.8% in 2005, spurring considerable growth in private consumption.

Monetary Policy

Large balance of payments surpluses have complicated monetary policy for Russia. The Central Bank has followed a policy of managed appreciation to ease the impact on domestic producers and has sterilized capital inflows with its large budget surpluses. However, the Central Bank also has been buying back dollars, pumping additional ruble liquidity into the system. Given the rising demand for money, this has softened the inflationary impact, but these policy choices have complicated the government’s efforts to lower inflation to the single digits. Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation was 10.9% in 2005, having steadily decreased from 20.2% in 2000, due primarily to prudent fiscal policy.

Government Spending/Taxation

The Russian federal budget has run growing surpluses since 2001, as the government has taxed and saved much of the rapidly increasing oil revenues. According to preliminary figures, the 2005 budget surplus was 7.5% of GDP on a cash basis. Although there are strong pressures to relax spending ahead of elections, the government has loosened its spending gradually, as the economy is running at near capacity and there are dangers of increasing inflation and rapid exchange rate appreciation. Spending increases to date have mostly been for increased salaries of government employees and pensions, but some money is also being dedicated to special investment funds and tax breaks to develop new industries in special economic zones. The government overhauled its tax system for both corporations and individuals in 2000-01, introducing a 13% flat tax for individuals and a unified tax for corporations, which improved overall collection. Business has put pressure on the government to reduce value added taxes (VAT) on oil and gas, but the government has postponed this discussion. Tax enforcement of disputes, particularly following the Yukos case, continue to be uneven and unpredictable.

Population

Russia’s population of 142.7 million (2005) is falling. Lower birth rates and higher death rates have reduced Russia’s population at a nearly 0.5% annual rate since the early 1990s. Russia is one of few countries with a declining population (although birth rates in many developed countries have dropped below the long-term population replacement). Population decline is particularly drastic in Russia due to higher death rates, especially among working-age males. Cardiovascular disease, cancer, traffic injuries, suicide, alcohol poisoning, and violence are major causes of death. In a June 2006 speech to the Russian National Security Council, President Putin declared that Russia is facing a demographic crisis and called for measures to improve birth and mortality rates and increase population through immigration, primarily the return of Russian-speaking foreigners.

HIV/AIDS

Russia and Ukraine are said to have the highest growth rates of HIV infection in the world. In Russia HIV seems to be transmitted mostly by intravenous drug users sharing needles, although data is very uncertain. Data from the Federal AIDS Center shows that the number of registered cases is doubling every 12 months and is currently at 300,000 persons. When projections are made which allow for people in high-risk groups who have not been tested for the disease, estimates of the actual number of HIV-infected persons are approximately 3 million.

The high growth rate of AIDS cases, if unchecked, will have negative economic consequences. Investment will suffer from the diversion of private and government funds to AIDS treatment. The effect on the labor force may be acute since about 80% of infected individuals in Russia are under 30 years of age. At the September 2003 Camp David Summit, and again at the Bratislava meeting in February 2005, Presidents Bush and Putin pledged to deepen ongoing cooperation between the two countries to fight HIV/AIDS.

Commercial Law

A particular brake on many areas of economic activity is the absence of relevant legislation—and where there is legislation, lack of effective law enforcement. During 2000 and 2001, changes in government administration increased the power of the central government to compel localities to enforce laws. Progress has been made on pension reform and reform of the electricity sector. Nonetheless, taxation and business regulations are not very predictable, and legal enforcement of private business agreements, especially outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg, is weak. Leftover attitudes from the Soviet period will take many years to overcome. Local officials in some areas interfere in business. Government decisions affecting business have often been arbitrary and inconsistent, and corruption remains a serious problem. Crime has increased costs for both local and foreign businesses. On the positive side, Russian businesses are increasingly turning to the courts to resolve disputes. The passage of an improved bankruptcy code in January 1998 was one of the first steps. In 2001, the Duma passed legislation for positive changes within the business and investment sector; the most critical legislation was a deregulation package. A new flat tax for individuals boosted income tax collections considerably. This trend in legislation continued through 2002 when the new corporate tax code went into effect.

Natural Resources

The mineral-packed Ural Mountains and the vast oil, gas, coal, and timber reserves of Siberia and the Russian Far East make Russia rich in natural resources. However, most such resources are located in remote and climatically unfavorable areas that are difficult to develop and far from Russian ports. Nevertheless, Russia is a leading producer and exporter of minerals, gold, and all major fuels. Natural resources, especially energy, dominate Russian exports. Ninety percent of Russian exports to the United States are minerals or other raw materials.

Industry

Russia is one of the most industrialized of the former Soviet republics. However, years of very low investment have left much of Russian industry antiquated and highly inefficient. Besides its resource-based industries, it has developed large manufacturing capacities, notably in machinery. Russia inherited most of the defense industrial base of the Soviet Union, so armaments are the single-largest manufactured goods export category for Russia. Efforts have been made with varying success over the past few years to convert defense industries to civilian use, and the Russian Government is engaged in an ongoing process to privatize the remaining 9,222 state-owned enterprises, 33% of which are in the industrial manufacturing sector.

Agriculture

For its great size, Russia has relatively little area suited for agriculture because of its arid climate and inconsistent rainfall. Northern areas concentrate mainly on livestock, and the southern parts and western Siberia produce grain. Restructuring of former state farms has been an extremely slow process. Foreigners are not allowed to own farmland in Russia although long-term leases are permitted. Private farms and garden plots of individuals account for over one-half of all agricultural production.

Investment

Russia attracted $14.6 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2005. However, FDI at the end of September 2005 was $18 billion (over 3% of GDP) and could have easily exceeded $20 billion had it not been for Gazprom’s late 2005 acquisition of Sibneft, which was classified as an investment outflow. For the first time, Russia’s annual FDI figures are in line with China, India, and Brazil. However, Russia’s per capita cumulative FDI still lags far behind such countries as Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic. Experts believe that Russia still is not attracting the FDI it needs to double GDP growth in 10 years, President Putin’s stated goal. Although foreign investment increased during 2005, Russia’s total cumulative ratio of foreign direct investment to GDP is still low at about 6%. This is less than one-third the level in many other transition economies. The paradox is that Russia’s poor business climate, lack of transparency, and weak rule of law/corruption has taken a back seat to Russia’s extraordinary macroeconomic fundamentals and the consumer and retail boom, which is providing double digit returns to investors and attracting new flows. Russian domestic investment is also returning home, as the foreign investment coming into Russia from havens like Cyprus and Gibraltar, is actually returning Russian capital. A significant drawback for investment is the banking sector, which lacks the resources, the capability, and the trust of the population needed to attract substantial savings and direct it toward productive investments. Russia’s banks contribute only about 3% of overall investment in Russia, and the sector remains small relative to its international peers. Ruble lending has increased since the October 1998 financial crisis, and in 2005 loans were 60% of total bank assets, with consumer loans posting the fastest growth at 95% that same year. Although many Russians prefer to keep their money outside the banking sector, the recent appreciation of the ruble against the dollar has persuaded some Russians to keep their money in rubles or other currencies such as the euro, and retail deposits grew by 39.3% in 2005. Despite recent growth, the poorly developed banking system, along with contradictory regulations across banking, bond, and equity markets, still makes it difficult for entrepreneurs to raise capital as well as to permit capital transfer from a capital-rich sector such as energy to capital-poor sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing and to diversify risk. Banks still perceive small and medium commercial lending as risky, and some banks are inexperienced with assessing credit risk, though the situation is improving. In 2003, Russia enacted a deposit insurance law to protect deposits up to 100,000 rubles (about $3,700) per depositor, and a bill is currently in the Duma, which if passed will increase this coverage to 190,000 rubles (about $7,000) per depositor.

Trade

The U.S. exported $3.0 billion in goods to Russia in 2005, a 33.1% increase from the previous year. Corresponding U.S. imports from Russia were $15.3 billion, up 28.5%. Russia is current the 33rd-largest export market for U.S. goods. Russian exports to the U.S. were fuel oil, inorganic chemicals, aluminum, and precious stones. U.S. exports to Russia were machinery, meat (mostly poultry), electrical equipment, and hightech products. Russia’s overall trade surplus during 2005 was $118 billion, up from $86 billion in 2004. World prices continue to have a major effect on export performance, since commodities—particularly oil, natural gas, metals, and timber—comprise 80% of Russian exports. Russian GDP growth and the surplus/deficit in the Russian Federation state budget are closely linked to world oil prices.

Russia is in the process of negotiating terms of accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). By the end of 2005, the Government of Russia had met over 30 times with WTO members in formal and informal Working Party meetings. The U.S. and Russia have not yet concluded a bilateral WTO accession agreement. Russia reports that the U.S. is the last country not to have concluded a bilateral agreement with Russia.

According to the 2005 U.S. Trade Representative’s National Trade Estimate, Russia continues to maintain a number of barriers with respect to imports, including tariffs and tariff-rate quotas; discriminatory and prohibitive charges and fees; and discriminatory licensing, registration, and certification regimes. Discussions continue within the context of Russia’s WTO accession to eliminate these measures or modify them to be consistent with internationally accepted trade policy practices. Non-tariff barriers are frequently used to restrict foreign access to the market and are also a significant topic in Russia’s WTO negotiations. In addition, large losses to U.S. audiovisual and other companies in Russia owing to poor enforcement of intellectual property rights in Russia is an ongoing irritant in U.S.-Russia trade relations. Russia continues to work to bring its technical regulations, including those related to product and food safety, into conformity with international standards.

DEFENSE

Russia’s efforts to transform its Soviet-legacy military into a smaller, lighter and more mobile force continue to be hampered by an ossified military leadership, discipline problems and human rights violations, limited funding and demographics. Recent steps by the Government of Russia suggest a desire to reform. There has been an increased emphasis on practical training, such as the Mobility 2004 Exercises, and the government is introducing bills to improve the organization of the military.

Despite recent increases in the budget, however, defense spending is still unable to sustain Russia’s oversized military. Current troop strength, estimated at one million, is large in comparison to Russia’s GDP and military budget, which continues to make the process of transformation to a professional army difficult. This is the result of the Soviet legacy and military thinking that has changed little since the Cold War. Senior Russian leaders continue to emphasize a reliance on a large strategic nuclear force capable of deterring a massive nuclear attack.

Russian military salaries are low. Theoretically, the army provides all necessities, but housing and food shortages continue to plague the armed forces. Problems with both discipline and brutal hazing are common as well. HIV infection rates in the Russian army are estimated to be between two to five times higher than in the general population, and tuberculosis is a persistent problem.

Such conditions and the poor combat performance of the Russian Armed Forces in the Chechen conflict continue to encourage draft evasion and efforts to delay military service. Although the available manpower (males 15-49) for the Russian Armed Forces was projected at 39.1 million in 2004, only approximately 11% of eligible males do military service. Moreover, military officials complain that new recruit cohorts are plagued by increasingly incidences of poor education, communicable diseases and criminality. In 2006, the Duma is slated to consider reducing available deferments for military service.

The Russian Government has stated a desire to convert to a professional army, but implementation has been delayed repeatedly. Current plans envision a transition to a mixed force, in which professional soldiers fill the ranks of select units and conscription is gradually phased out. Some officials have talked of developing a noncommissioned officer corps to lead the professional army, but the military has yet to make any concrete investments in training or facilities that would begin this process.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

In the years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia took important steps to become a full partner in the world’s principal political groupings. On December 27, 1991, Russia assumed the permanent UN Security Council seat formerly held by the Soviet Union. Russia also is a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). It signed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Partnership for Peace initiative in 1994. The NATO-Russia Founding Act in 1997 and the NATO-Russia Council superseded that in 2002. Russia and the European Union (EU) signed a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. Russia acquiesced (despite misgivings) in enlargement of NATO by members first of the former Warsaw Pact and most recently by the Baltic states that had been forcibly integrated into the Soviet Union.

Since 2003, Russia has increased its international profile and plays an increasing role in regional issues, as well as being more assertive in dealing with its neighbors. The rise in energy prices has given it leverage over countries which are dependent on Russian sources. Russia continues to support separatist regimes in Georgia and Moldova.

U.S.-RUSSIA RELATIONS

The United States and Russia share common interests on a broad range of issues, including the drastic reduction of our strategic arsenals. We are also allies in the global war on terrorism. Russia shares our basic goal of stemming the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. We are working with Russia to compel Iran to bring its nuclear programs into compliance with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) rules. On North Korea, Russia is a participant in the Six-Party Talks aimed at the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear program. Russia also takes part in the Middle East Peace Process “Quartet” (along with the UN and the EU). Russia now interacts with NATO members as an equal through the NATO-Russia Council but without veto power over NATO decisions. During the past several years, Russia has intensified its efforts to combat trafficking in persons. We are cooperating in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

U.S. Assistance to Russia

For more detailed information on U.S. Government assistance to Russia, please see the annual reports to Congress on U.S. Government Assistance to and Cooperative Activities with Eurasia, which are available in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs section on the State Department’s website. A fact sheet on FY 2006 U.S. Assistance to Russia can be found at http://www.state.gov/p/eur/rls/fs/66166.htm.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

MOSCOW (E) Address: 8 Bolshoy Devyatinskiy Pereulok Moscow 121099 Russian Federation; APO/FPO: Name PSC-77, (Name of Section) APO AE 09721; Phone: +7 (495) 728-5000; Fax: +7 (495) 728-5090; INMARSAT Tel: 881-621-456-659; Workweek: MON-FRI 9:00 am–6:00 pm; Web site: http://www.usembassy.ru/.

AMB:William J. Burns
AMB OMS:Suzonne M. Woytovech
DCM:Daniel A. Russell
DCM OMS:Harriet M. Noonan
CG:James Pettit
CG OMS:Laura Gilpin
DPO/PAO:James Kenney
POL:Alice Wells
MGT:James D. Melville, Jr.
AGR:Allan Mustard
AID:Terry Myers
ATO:Eric Wenberg
CLO:Kathryn Viguerie
CUS:Victor Vartanian (DHS Acting)
DAO:Daniel R. Eagle
DEA:Steve Monaco
ECO:Pamela Quanrud
EEO:Bobby Balderas
EST:Daniel O’Grady
FCS:Dorothy Lutter
FMO:Kemp Long
GSO:Earl Graves
ICASSChair:Eric Wenberg
IMO:Bobby Balderas
INS:Karen Landsness
IPO:Karen Mummaw
ISO:Paul Phipps
ISSO:Louis Fleitz (Acting)
LAB:Briana Saunders
LEGATT:Keith Bethke
NAS:Dennis McSweeney
OMS:Olga Pavlova
RSO:Robert Barton
State ICASS:James Pettit

Last Updated: 1/30/2007

ST. PETERSBURG (CG) Address: Furshtadskaya Ulitsa 15, 191028 St. Petersburg, Russian Federation; APO/FPO: AmConGen, St. Petersburg, PSC 78, Box L, APO AE 09723; Phone: 7(812) 331-2600; Fax: 7(812) 331-2852; Workweek: 9:00–5:30 M–F; Web site: www.stpetersburg-usconsulate.ru.

PO:Mary Kruger
DPO:Allen Greenberg
POL/ECO:Ben Wohlauer
CON:Michael Flores
MGT:Marjut Robinson
CLO:Raschelle Scheppman
FCS:Keith Silver
GSO:Rebecca Landis
IPO:Joseph Scheppman
IRS:Susan Stanley–in Frankfurt
ISO:Andrew Berdy
OMS:Susan Heckman
PAO:Mary Ellen Countryman
RSO:Mona Mitchell

Last Updated: 11/24/2006

VLADIVOSTOK (CG) Address: 32 Pushkinskaya; Phone: 7-4232-30-00-70; Fax: 7 4232 49-93-72/71; INMARSAT Tel: Dial 9-810-873-683-142-222; Workweek: M–F 0900 to 1800; Website: vladivostok.usconsulate.gov.

CG:John Mark Pommersheim
PO:John Mark Pommersheim
POL/ECO:Randall Houston
COM:VACANT
CON:Christopher H. Dorn
MGT:Matthew E. Johnson
AGR:Svetlana Ily’ina
AID:Irina Isaeva
CLO:Maya Nazarian-Hastings
ECO:Randall Houston
EEO:Daniel O. Hastings
FMO:Matthew E. Johnson
GSO:Lloyd Hannemann
ISO:Stansbury, David
ISSO:Stansbury, David
PAO:Daniel O. Hastings
RSO:PSO/Matthew E. Johnson
State ICASS:Matthew E. Johnson

Last Updated: 1/18/2006

YEKATERINBURG (CG) Address: Gogolya, 15 Yekaterinburg 620151 Russian Federation; APO/FPO: 5890 Yekaterinburg Pl Washington, DC 20521-5890; Phone: 7 (343) 379-3001; Fax: 7 (343) 379-4515; INMARSAT Tel: 76-322-2891; Workweek: MON-FRI 8:30 am–5:30 pm; Web site: http://www.uscgyekat.ur.ru/.

CG:John Stepanchuk
POL/ECO:James McNaught
CON:Sonata Coulter
MGT:Elizabeth K. Thompson
CLO:Isabella Strohmeyer
ISO:Steven Schuman
ISSO:Steven Schuman
PAO:Virgil Strohmeyer

Last Updated: 11/21/2006

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet : February 22, 2007

Country Description: Russia is a vast and diverse nation that continues to evolve politically, economically and socially. Travel and living conditions in Russia contrast sharply with those in the United States. Major urban centers show tremendous differences in economic development compared to rural areas. While good tourist facilities exist in Moscow, St. Petersburg and some other large cities, they are not developed in most of Russia, and some of the goods and services taken for granted in other countries are not yet available. Travel to the Caucasus region of Russia is dangerous. The Department of State recommends Americans not travel to Chechnya and adjoining areas, and recommends that Americans who are in these regions depart immediately.

Exit/Entry Requirements: The Russian government maintains a restrictive and complicated visa regime for foreign travelers who visit, transit, or reside in the Russian Federation. The Russian system includes requirements of sponsorship, visas for entry and exit, migration cards, and registration. American citizens who also carry Russian passports face additional complicated regulations. Dual citizen minors who travel on their Russian passports also face special problems.

Russian immigration and visa laws change regularly. The implementation of immigration laws has not always been transparent or predictable. In addition, Russian Immigration officials at times implement laws and regulations governing entry and exit inconsistently, especially in remote areas.

The Russian government does not recognize the standing of U.S. consular officers to intervene in visa cases. The U.S. diplomatic mission in Russia is not able to act as sponsor, submit visa applications, register private travelers, or request that visas or migration cards be corrected, replaced, or extended.

Entry Visas: Before traveling to Russia, U.S. citizens should verify the latest requirements with the nearest Russian Embassy or Consulate.

U.S. citizens must always possess a valid U.S. passport and appropriate visas for travel to or transit through Russia, whether by train, car, ship or airplane. It is impossible to obtain a Russian entry visa upon arrival. Travelers must obtain visas well in advance of travel from a Russian Embassy or Consulate in the United States or in a third country. Travelers who arrive without an entry visa are not permitted to enter Russia and face immediate expulsion by route of entry, at the traveler’s expense.

U.S. citizens transiting Russia en route to any other country are advised to have transit visas. It is theoretically possible to transit Russia without a visa but in several instances, travelers experienced delays and hardships because they did not have a transit visa. Similarly, Russia-bound U.S. citizens attempting to transit Belarus or the Central Asian republics without visas have encountered difficulties. U.S. citizens are strongly advised to check the visa requirements for all countries on their itinerary.

A Russia entry/exit visa has two dates written in the European style (day. month, year) as opposed to the American style (month/day/year). The first date indicates the earliest day a traveler may enter Russia; the second date indicates the date by which a traveler must leave Russia. A Russian visa is only valid for those exact dates.

Russian tourist visas are often granted only for the specific dates mentioned in the invitation letter provided by the sponsor. U.S. citizens often receive visas valid for periods as short as four days. Even if the visa is misdated through error of a Russian Embassy or Consulate, the traveler will still not be allowed into Russia before the visa start date or be allowed to leave after the visa expiration date. Any mistakes in visa dates must be corrected before the traveler enters Russia. It is helpful to have someone who reads Russian check the visa before departing the United States.

Visas are valid for specific purposes and dates. Travelers should ensure that they apply for and receive the correct visa that reflects their intended action in Russia (i.e., student visa, religious worker visa, commercial visa). Foreigners can be expelled for engaging in activities inconsistent with their visas. All travelers must list on the visa application all areas to be visited and subsequently register with authorities upon arrival at each destination. There are several closed cities throughout Russia. Travelers who attempt to enter these cities without prior authorization are subject to fines, court hearings and/or deportation. Travelers should check with their sponsor, hotel, or the nearest Russian visa and passport office before traveling to unfamiliar cities and towns.

Sponsorship: Under Russian law, every foreign traveler must have a Russian-based sponsor (a hotel, tour company, relative, employer, etc). The official sponsor is listed on the visa. Generally speaking, visas sponsored by Russian individuals are “guest” visas, and visas sponsored by tour agencies or hotels are “tourist” visas. Note that travelers who enter Russia on “tourist” visas, but who then reside with Russian individuals, may have difficulty registering their visas and migration cards and may be required by Russian authorities to depart Russia sooner than they had planned.

Even if a visa was obtained through a travel agency in the United States, there is always a Russian legal entity whose name is indicated on the visa and who is considered to be the legal sponsor. It is important for travelers to know who their legal sponsor is and how to contact that sponsor. Russian law requires that the sponsor must apply on the traveler’s behalf for replacement, extension, or changes to a Russian visa. U.S. citizens are strongly advised to obtain the contact information of the visa sponsor from their tour company or hotel, in advance. To resolve any visa difficulties (lost visa, expired visa), the traveler’s sponsor must contact the nearest Russian visa and passport office (OVIR/UVIR) for assistance. Resolving the visa problem usually requires the payment of a fee and a wait of up to twenty calendar days.

Exit Visa: A valid visa is necessary to depart Russia. Generally, the visa issued by a Russian Embassy or Consulate is valid for entry and exit. It is helpful to make a photocopy of your visa in the event of loss, but note that a copy of your visa will not be sufficient for leaving the country, as Russian immigration officials always ask for the original.

Visitors who lose or have their U.S. passport and Russian visa stolen must replace their passport at the U.S. Embassy or one of the Consulates General, and then obtain a new visa to depart with the assistance of their sponsor. Without a valid visa in their new United States passports, U.S. citizens cannot leave Russia. As noted above, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates General are not able to intercede in cases in which visas must be replaced, corrected, or extended.

Travelers, who overstay their visa’s validity, even for one day, will be prevented from leaving until their sponsor intervenes and requests a visa extension on their behalf. United States citizens without valid visas face significant delays in leaving Russia and may have trouble finding adequate accommodation. By Russian law, travelers with an expired visa may not check in at any hotel, guesthouse, hostel, or other lodging establishment in Russia. There are no adequate public shelters or safe havens in Russia and the Embassy or the Consulates General have no means to accommodate such stranded travelers.

Visas for students and English teachers sometimes allow only one entry. In these cases, the sponsoring school is responsible for registering the visa and migration card and obtaining an exit visa. Obtaining an exit visa can take up to twenty days so students and teachers need to plan accordingly.

Migration Card: All foreigners entering Russia must fill out a migration card, depositing one part with immigration authorities at the port of entry and holding on to the other part for the duration of their stay. Upon exit, the migration card, which serves as a record of entry, exit, and registration, must be submitted to immigration authorities. The card is also necessary to register at hotels.

Migration cards, in theory, are available at all ports of entry from Russian immigration officials (Border Guards). The cards are generally distributed to passengers on incoming flights and left in literature racks at arrival points. Officials at borders and airports usually do not point out these cards to travelers and it is up to the travelers to find them and fill them out. From time to time, various ports of entry – even the major international airport in Moscow – run out of these cards. There is no mechanism to obtain such cards once a traveler has entered into Russia. The Russian government has not indicated what a traveler should do in such a case.

Lost/stolen migration cards cannot be replaced. While authorities will not prevent foreigners who have lost their migration cards and have not replaced them with a duplicate from leaving the country, foreigners could experience problems when trying to reenter Russia at a future date.

Visa Registration: Travelers who spend more than three days in the country must register their visa and migration card through their sponsor. However, travelers spending less than three days are advised to register their visas as well, since they may encounter problems finding lodging without proper registration. Travelers staying in a hotel must register their visa and migration card with their hotel within one day. A failure to register is unlikely to result in problems leaving Russia but travelers could experience problems when trying to reenter Russia at a future date.

Police have the authority to stop people and request their documents at any time without cause. Due to the possibility of random document checks by police, U.S. citizens should carry their original passports, registered migration cards, and visas with them at all times. Failure to provide proper documentation can result in detention and/or heavy fines. It is not necessary for travelers to have either entry or itinerary points in the Russian Federation printed on their visas.

Special Entry/Exit Requirements for International Cruise Ship Passengers: International cruise ship passengers are permitted to visit Russian ports without a visa for a period of up to 72 hours. Passengers who wish to go ashore during port calls may do so without a visa only if they are part of an organized tour, operated by a licensed Russian tour company approved by the Russian Immigration Service. According to Russian legislation, cruise passengers on organized tours must remain with their tour group and/or a representative of their tour company at all times while ashore. Tour operators affiliated with cruise companies as well as a variety of local tour operators in Russia are licensed to provide tour services to cruise passengers.

Note: These special entry/exit requirements do not apply to river boat cruise passengers and travelers coming to Russia on package tours. These travelers will need to apply for visas prior to entry, and should follow the general guidelines provided for entry/exit requirements.

American Citizens Also Holding Russian Passports: The U.S. government recognizes that dual nationality exists but does not encourage it as a matter of policy because of the problems it may cause. It expects American citizens to travel on U.S. passports. However, possessing and traveling on a Russian passport outside of the United States does not negate a traveler’s American citizenship. American citizens who choose to enter Russia on a Russian passport do face several possible difficulties, however.

U.S. citizens who have at one time held Russian citizenship are often required to renounce Russian citizenship before applying for a Russian visa in their U.S. passport. Unless a Russian citizen has formally renounced his or her Russian citizenship through a Russian Embassy or Consulate, he or she always risks being considered a Russian citizen and not allowed to depart on any travel document except a Russian passport. This can also interfere with access to U.S. consular services in case of an emergency. This risk is greatly diminished if the traveler enters Russia on a U.S. passport and Russian visa.

Such persons should also be aware that if a Russian passport has expired before entry or expires after entry, Russian authorities will not permit departure from Russia using a U.S. passport. The traveler will be required to obtain a new Russian passport – a process that can take several months. Russian external passports extended by Russian Consulates or Embassies overseas are not considered valid for departure from Russia no matter how long the extension. Bearers of such passports will have to apply for a new passport inside the country.

Males of conscript age (18 - 27 years old) who are deemed to be Russian citizens may experience problems if they have not satisfied their military service requirement.

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child’s travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian if not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not legally required, may facilitate entry/departure.

American citizen minors, who also have Russian citizenship, and who are traveling on their Russian passports, must have a power-of-attorney, written in Russian, allowing them to travel if they are traveling alone or in the company of adults who are not their parents. Such minors will be prevented from leaving Russia if they cannot present such a power-of-attorney. For additional information concerning entry and exit requirements, travelers may contact the Embassy of the Russian Federation, Consular Section, 2641 Tunlaw Rd., NW, Washington, DC 20007, Telephone (202) 939-8907. In addition, there are Russian Consulates in:

Houston: 1333 West Loop South, Ste.1300, Houston, TX, 77027, tel. 713-337-3300

New York: 9 East 91 Street, New York, NY, 10128, tel. 212-348-0926

San Francisco: 2790 Green Street, San-Francisco, CA, 94123, tel. 415-928-6878 or 415-202-9800

Seattle: 2323 Westin Building, 2001 6th Ave., Seattle, WA, 98121, tel. 206-728-1910.

Visit the Embassy of the Russian Federationweb site at http://www.russianembassy.org for the most current visa information.

Safety and Security: Due to continued civil and political unrest throughout much of the Caucasus region, the Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Chechnya and all areas that border it: North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Stavropol, Karachayevo-Cherkessiya and Kabardino-Balkariya. The U.S. government’s ability to assist Americans who travel to the northern Caucasus is extremely limited. Throughout the region, local criminal gangs have kidnapped foreigners, including Americans, for ransom. U.S. citizens have disappeared in Chechnya and remain missing. Close contacts with the local population do not guarantee safety. There have been several kidnappings of foreigners and Russians working for non-governmental organizations in the region. Due to the ongoing security concerns, U.S. Government travel to the area is very limited. American citizens residing in these areas should depart immediately as the safety of Americans and other foreigners cannot be effectively guaranteed.

Acts of terrorism, including bombings and hostage taking, have occurred in Russia over the last several years. Bombings have occurred at Russian government buildings, hotels, tourist sites, markets, entertainment venues, schools, residential complexes, and on public transportation including the subway and scheduled commercial air flights. Hostage taking incidents have included a raid on a school that resulted in horrific losses of life of children, teachers, and parents.

There is no current indication that American institutions or citizens are targets but there is a general risk of American citizens being victims of indiscriminate terrorist attacks. American citizens in Russia should be aware of their personal surroundings and follow good security practices. Americans are urged to remain vigilant and exercise good judgment and discretion when using any form of public transportation. When traveling, Americans may wish to provide a friend, family member, or coworker a copy of their itinerary. Americans should avoid large crowds and public gatherings that lack enhanced security measures. Travelers should also exercise a high degree of caution and remain alert when patronizing restaurants, casinos, nightclubs, bars, theaters, etc., especially during peak hours of business.

American citizens living in Russia or traveling there for even a few days are strongly urged to register with the U.S. Embassy or nearest Consulate General. Registration will allow the embassy to provide direct information on the security situation as necessary. Registration can be done on-line and can be done in advance of travel. For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site where the current Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, including the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime: Reports of unprovoked, violent harassment against racial and ethnic minorities are increasing, including well-publicized cases in which members of minorities have been beaten and in several instances, even murdered. Travelers are urged to exercise caution in areas frequented by “skinhead” groups and wherever large crowds have gathered. Americans most at risk are those of African, South Asian, or East Asian descent, or those, who because of their complexion, are perceived to be from the Caucasus region or the Middle East. These Americans are also at risk for harassment by police authorities.

Visitors to Russia need to be alert to their surroundings. In large cities, they need to take the same precautions against assault, robbery, or pickpockets that they would take in any large U.S. city:

  • Keep billfolds in inner front pockets,
  • Carry purses tucked securely under arms,
  • Wear the shoulder strap of cameras or bags across their chests,
  • Walk away from the curb and carry purses away from the street.

The most vulnerable areas include underground walkways and the subway, overnight trains, train stations, airports, markets, tourist attractions, and restaurants.

Groups of children and adolescents have been increasingly aggressive in some cities, swarming victims, or assaulting and knocking them down. They frequently target persons who are perceived as vulnerable, especially elderly tourists or persons traveling alone. Some victims report that the attackers use knives. Persons carrying valuables in backpacks, in back pockets of pants and in coat pockets are especially vulnerable to pickpockets.

Foreigners who have been drinking alcohol are especially vulnerable to assault and robbery in or around nightclubs or bars, or on their way home. Some travelers have been drugged at bars, while others have taken strangers back to their lodgings, where they were drugged, robbed and/or assaulted.

In many cases involving stolen credit cards, thieves use them immediately. Victims of credit card or ATM card theft should report the theft to the credit card company or bank without delay.

Travelers are advised to be vigilant in bus and train stations and on public transport. Always watch for pickpockets in these areas. Bogus trolley inspectors, who aim to extort a bribe from individuals while checking for trolley tickets are also a threat. Travelers have generally found it safer to travel in groups organized by reputable tour agencies. Robberies may occur in taxis shared with strangers. Travelers should be aware that there are few registered taxi services in Russia and should be aware of the safety risks inherent in flagging down informal or “gypsy” cabs.

A common street scam in Russia is the “turkey drop”, in which an individual “accidentally” drops the money on the ground in front of the mark, while a confederate either waits for the money to be picked up, or picks up the money himself and offers to split it with the pedestrian. The individual who dropped the currency returns, aggressively accusing both of stealing the money. This confrontation generally results in the mark’s money being stolen. Avoidance is the best defense. Do not get trapped into picking up the money, and walk quickly away from the scene.

To avoid highway crime, travelers should try not to drive at night, especially when alone, or sleep in vehicles along the road. Travelers should not, under any circumstances, pick up hitchhikers: they not only pose a threat to physical safety, but also put the driver in danger of being arrested for unwittingly transporting narcotics.

Extortion and corruption are common in the business environment. Threats of violence and acts of violence are commonly resorted to in business disputes. Organized criminal groups and sometimes local police target foreign businesses in many cities and have been known to demand protection money. Many Western firms hire security services that have improved their overall security, although this is no guarantee. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable. U.S. citizens are encouraged to report all extortion attempts to the Russian authorities and to inform consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or nearest Consulate General.

Travelers should be aware that certain activities that would be normal business activities in the United States and other countries are either illegal under the Russian legal code or are considered suspect by the FSB (Federal Security Service). Americans should be particularly aware of potential risks involved in any commercial activity with the Russian military-industrial complex, including research institutes, design bureaus, and production facilities or other high technology, government-related institutions. Any misunderstanding or dispute in such transactions can attract the involvement of the security services and lead to investigation or prosecution for espionage. Rules governing the treatment of information remain poorly defined.

It is not uncommon for foreigners in general to become victims of harassment, mistreatment and extortion by law enforcement and other officials. Police do not need to show probable cause in order to stop, question or detain individuals. If stopped, travelers should try to obtain, if safe to do so, the officer’s name, badge number, and patrol car number, and note where it happened, as this information assists local officials in identifying the perpetrators. Authorities are concerned about these incidents and have cooperated in investigating such cases. Travelers should report crimes to the U.S. Embassy or the nearest U.S. Consulate.

The U.S. Embassy receives reports almost every day of fraud committed against U.S. citizens by Internet correspondents professing love and romantic interest. Typically, the Russian correspondent asks the U.S. citizen to send money or credit card information for living expenses, travel expenses, or “visa costs.” The anonymity of the Internet means that the U.S. citizen cannot be sure of the real name, age, marital status, nationality, or even gender of the correspondent. The U.S. Embassy has received many reports of citizens losing thousands of dollars through such scams. American citizens are advised never to send money to anyone they have not met in person. See our flyer on internet dating schemes.

In many countries around the world including Russia, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. In Russia, CD and DVD piracy is an especially serious problem. Transactions involving such products are illegal under Russian law, and the Russian government has markedly increased its enforcement activities against intellectual property rights infringements. In addition, bringing counterfeit and pirated products back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the U.S. Embassy or nearest Consulate General. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the U.S. Embassy or nearest Consulate General for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Medical care in most localities is below Western standards; shortages of medical supplies, differing practice standards and the lack of comprehensive primary care all combine to make the medical system difficult to negotiate as well as suspect. The few “quality” facilities in Moscow and St. Petersburg that approach acceptable standards do not necessarily accept all cases (i.e., they may not be licensed to treat trauma, infectious disease or maternity cases). Access to these facilities usually requires cash or credit card payment at Western rates at the time of service.

Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems may be at particular risk. Elective surgeries requiring blood transfusions and non-essential blood transfusions are not recommended, due to uncertainties surrounding the local blood supply. Most hospitals and clinics in major urban areas have adopted the use of disposable IV supplies, syringes and needles as standard practice; however, travelers to remote areas might consider bringing a supply of sterile, disposable syringes and corresponding IV supplies for eventualities. Travelers should refrain from visiting tattoo parlors or piercing services due to the risk of infection.

Outbreaks of diphtheria and Hepatitis A have been reported throughout the country, even in large cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend up-to-date tetanus and diphtheria immunizations before traveling to Russia and neighboring countries. Typhoid can be a concern for those who plan to travel extensively in the region. Rarely, cases of cholera have also been reported throughout the area. Drinking bottled water can reduce the risk of exposure to infectious and noxious agents. Tap water in Russia, outside of Moscow, is generally considered unsafe to drink. Travelers are strongly urged to use bottled water for drinking and food preparation.

Rates of HIV infection have risen markedly in recent years. While most prevalent among intravenous drug users, prostitutes, and their clients, the HIV/AIDS rate in the general population is increasing. Reported cases of syphilis are much higher than in the U.S., and some sources suggest that gonorrhea and chlamydia are also more prevalent than in Western Europe or the U.S. Travelers should be aware of the related health and legal risks.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC’s Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/ For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en/. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith/ en.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Medicare does not provide benefits for medical care overseas. Travelers should consider obtaining traveler’s insurance prior to going abroad.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Russia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

In some areas of Russia roads are practically non-existent. Persons planning to drive in Russia should adhere to all local driving regulations. These are strictly enforced and violators are subject to severe legal penalties. Drivers should be aware that Russia practices a zero tolerance policy with regard to alcohol consumption prior to driving. The maximum punishment is a two year suspension of a driver’s license. An intoxicated driver may also be detained until they are deemed to be sober.

Avoid excessive speed and, if at all possible, do not drive at night, particularly outside of major cities. In rural areas, it is not uncommon to find livestock crossing roadways at any given time. Construction sites or stranded vehicles are often unmarked by flares or other warning signals. Sometimes cars have only one headlight with many cars lacking brake lights. Bicycles seldom have lights or reflectors. Due to these road conditions, be prepared for sudden stops at any time. Learn about your route from an auto club, guidebook or a government tourist office. Some routes have heavy truck and bus traffic; others have poor or nonexistent shoulders; many are one-way or do not permit left-hand turns. Also, some of the newer roads have very few restaurants, motels, gas stations or auto repair shops along their routes. For your safety, have your vehicle serviced and in optimum condition before you travel. It is wise to bring an extra fan belt, fuses and other spare parts.

A valid U.S. driver’s license with a notarized Russian translation of it or a valid Russian license is necessary to drive a vehicle in Russia. Tourists may use international driver’s licenses issued by the American Automobile Association to drive in Russia. Foreigners who are in Russia on a business visa or with a permanent residence status in Russia are required by law to have a Russian driver’s license. In order to obtain this license one has to take the appropriate exams in Russian. An American driver’s license cannot be exchanged for a Russian license. Travelers without a valid license are often subject to prolonged stops by police and fines.

Drivers must carry third party liability insurance under a policy valid in Russia. U.S. automobile liability insurance is not valid in Russia nor are most collision and comprehensive coverage policies issued by U.S. companies. A good rule of thumb is to buy coverage equivalent to that which you carry in the United States. Roadside checkpoints are commonplace. These checkpoints are ostensibly in place to detect narcotics, alien smuggling, and firearms violations. However, they are generally viewed as a means for traffic police to extract cash “fines.”

For specific information concerning Russian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please refer to the Russia national tourist organization at http://www.russia-travel.com.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Russia’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Russia’s air carrier operations. For more information travelers may visit the FAA’s internet web site at http://www.faa.gov.

Travelers should be aware that local air carriers in remote regions may not meet internationally accepted customer service standards. Some local airlines do not have advance reservation systems but sell tickets for cash at the airport. Flights often are canceled if more than 30% of the seats remain unsold. Travelers should have their passport with them at all times.

Teaching in Russia: Many Americans come to Russia to teach English, and some have complained about schools’ failure to facilitate proper visas and pay agreed salaries. Prospective teachers should ensure that schools are prepared to comply with Russian laws governing the employment and documentation of foreigners, including proper visa support, registration and legal salary payments. Prospective teachers should ask for references from other foreigners who have taught at the school being considered and should consider insisting upon written contracts stipulating the provisions of their employment, just as they would in the United States. Warning signs include instructions to arrive in Russia on a tourist visa and “change status” later, payment under the table (in cash with no documentation or tax withholding), and requirements that the school retain a passport for the length of the employment. (Upon arrival, a legal employee must surrender his or her passport for registration by the employer but this process should take less then three weeks.)

Currency: The Russian ruble is the only legal tender currency. It is illegal to pay for goods and services in U.S. dollars except at authorized retail establishments. Worn U.S. bills or bills marked in any way are often not accepted at banks and exchange offices.

Travelers need no longer bring large amounts of hard currency unless they expect to travel in rural areas. ATM machines are plentiful in major cities. Travelers should follow all normal precautions about using ATMs. In particular, they should avoid “stand-alone” machines and opt for machines at banks or higher-class hotels and stores. Credit card acceptance, while not universal, is rapidly spreading in Moscow and to a lesser extent in other large cities. Travelers should check in advance whether a specific store, restaurant, or hotel accepts credit cards. Outside of major cities, commercial enterprises still operate largely on a cash basis and travelers should plan accordingly.

Customs Information: There have been increasing reports of rigorous searches of baggage and stricter enforcement of customs regulations against the exportation of items of “cultural value.” Travelers should obtain receipts for all high-value items (including caviar) purchased in Russia. Any article that could appear old or as having cultural value to the Customs Service, including artwork, icons, samovars, rugs, military medals and antiques, must have a certificate indicating that it has no historical or cultural value. Certificates will not be granted for the export of articles that are more than 100 years old, irrespective of the value. These certificates may be obtained from the Russian Ministry of Culture. For further information, Russian speakers may call the Airport Sheremetyevo-2 Customs Information Service in Moscow at (7) (095) 578-2125/578-2120, or, in St. Petersburg, the Ministry of Culture may be reached at 311-3496.

Russia also has very strict rules on the importation of large quantities of medication: certain prescription and over the counter drugs that are common in the United States are prohibited in Russia and large quantities of any medicine will receive scrutiny. It is advisable to contact the Russian embassy or one of Russia’s consulates for specific information regarding this or other customs regulations.

The importation and use of Global Positioning Systems (GPSs) and other radio electronic devices are sometimes subject to special rules and regulations in Russia. The Russian Customs Service has most recently stated that terminal GPSs can be imported upon their simple declaration on arrival. A special customs permit should be obtained in the case of importation of a GPS to be used as a peripheral device to a separate computer and/or antenna to increase its capability.

In general, mapping and natural resource data collection activities associated with normal commercial and scientific collaboration may result in seizure of the associated equipment and/or arrest. The penalty for using a GPS device in a manner which is determined to compromise Russian national security can be a prison term of ten to twenty years.

Visitors may bring in regular cellular telephones to Russia without restriction. Satellite telephones require advance approval from the Russian authorities.

The State Customs Committee has stated that there are no restrictions on bringing laptop computers into the country for personal use. The software, however, can be inspected upon departure. Hardware and software found to contain sensitive or encrypted data may be subject to confiscation.

Travelers should address specific questions to the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation, e-mail: [email protected], web site: http://www.customs.ru.

Great care should be taken to safeguard against the loss of airline tickets for Russian carriers. Generally, a central office must authorize the replacement of lost airline tickets, which can take 24 hours or more. In some cases, Americans who have lost their tickets just prior to their flights on local airlines have been forced to buy new full-fare tickets or miss the flight because replacements tickets were not authorized in time.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Russian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Russia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children’s Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children’s Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/ family.

Registration/Embassy Locations: Americans living or traveling in Russia are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Russia. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy’s consular section is located at Novinskiy Bulvar 21, Moscow, metro station Barrikadnaya. The Embassy’s switchboard is tel. (7) (495) 728-5000, and the American Citizen Services Unit at tel. (7) (495) 728-5577. In the event of an after-hours emergency, please contact the main switchboard. The American Citizens Services Unit may also be contacted by fax at (7) (495) 728-5084, by e-mail at [email protected], and through the Embassy website at http://www.usembassy.ru.

U.S. Consulates General are located in:

St. Petersburg
15 Ulitsa Furshtadtskaya,
St. Petersburg 191028
Tel: (7) (812) 331-2600
Fax: (7) (812) 331-2646
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.stpetersburgusconsulate.ru/

Vladivostok
32 Ulitsa Pushkinskaya, Vladivostok
690001
Tel: (7) (4232) 30-00-70
Fax: (7) (4232) 30-00-91
After-hours emergencies: (7) (4232)
71 00 67
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: http://vladivostok.usconsulate.gov

Yekaterinburg
Ulitsa Gogolya 15a, 4th floor,
Yekaterinburg 620151
Tel: (7) (343)379-3001
Fax: (7) (343) 379-4515
After-hours emergencies:
(7) 8 902 84 16653
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.usa.ural.ru

International Adoption : April 2006

The information below has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Please Note: Please plan to stay a minimum of three business days in Moscow to obtain documents and complete the medical exams necessary for the immigrant visa interview. Parents should calculate a five-day “cushion time” in the validity dates they request when applying for a Russian visa. The U.S. Embassy recommends that flight arrangements for departing Russia not be finalized until the immigrant visa is issued.

Patterns of Immigration: Please review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Adoption Authority: The Russian government office responsible for intercountry adoptions is the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation.

Ministry of Education and Science
#11 Tverskaya Street
Moscow, Russia 125993 GSP 3
Tel: 011-7-095-629-6610

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents: Married couples may adopt. Single persons may adopt but there must be at least a 16-year age difference between the prospective parent and the prospective adoptive child. Russia also has medical requirements for adoptive parents. Persons considering adoption in Russia should consult their adoption agency about medical conditions that may disqualify them. These include TB, active and chronic; illness of internal organs and nervous system; dysfunction of the limbs; infectious diseases; drug and alcohol addictions; and, any disability which prevents the person from working.

Residency Requirements: There are no residency requirements for prospective adoptive parents. However, prospective adoptive parents will have to travel to Russia twice during the adoption process.

Time Frame: The average time for the adoption process is 6-12 months from the time the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) approves the I-600A petition to the date of the immigrant visa interview. (Please see below for further information on the various steps in the inter-country adoption process.)

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: Adoptive parents who work through an adoption agency must use an agency that the Russian Government has accredited to provide adoption services. The U.S. Embassy discourages intercountry adoptions conducted independently without the assistance of an accredited agency. A list of accredited adoption agencies is available at the adoptions page of the U.S. Embassy’s Web site at http://moscow.usembassy.gov/consular/consular.php?record_id=adoptions and on the Web site for the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Washington, D.C. at http://www.russianembassy.org/.

Adoption Fees: U.S. citizens who have adopted from Russia report an average total cost of approximately U.S.$20,000—$30,000 (including travel, lodging and fees).

Adoption Procedures: Russian law requires that a child be registered first on a local databank for one month and a regional data bank for a month plus six months on the federal databank. Therefore, the total amount of time before a child is released for international adoption is usually eight months.

With the assistance of an adoption agency accredited by the Russian Government, prospective adoptive parents first apply to a regional Ministry of Education office for permission to adopt in that region. The prospective adoptive parent(s) does not travel to Russia at this stage. The agency obtains the referral without the presence of the parents. The Ministry of Education, upon approving the application, directs the prospective parents to an orphanage. Prospective adoptive parents then travel to Russia, and with the assistance of their accredited adoption agency, make arrangements to visit the identified orphanage. There they may select a child and apply to the court to get a court date.

After prospective parents identify the child, they should fill out an adoption application (a court document), which can be obtained at the Russian court where the adoption hearings will take place.

Prospective adoptive parents may return to the United States after applying for a court date. However, the prospective adoptive child must remain in Russia during this time. Prospective adoptive parents may stay in country but the wait for the court date can be 4-6 weeks and often the PAP is not allowed to spend time with the orphan prior to the court decision. It is expensive to wait in country and there can be problems with visa validity so it is advised that the prospective adoptive parents return to the U.S. and make a second trip once the court date is established.

For their court date, prospective adoptive parents will be required to produce three additional statements on the issues below. The prospective parents must sign these statements in front of a Russian notary:

  • Prospective adoptive parents have been informed about the health conditions of the child and they accept them;
  • They will register their adopted child with the MFA [See the “Registration of Russian Orphans” section towards the end of this flyer for additional information.]; and
  • They will provide the Ministry of Education with periodic, required post-placement reports on time. Post-placement reports are periodic reports on the welfare of the adopted orphan in his American family. The first post-placement report is due six months after the court decision went into effect; the second report is due six months after the first one but not later than 12 months after the court decision went into effect. The third post-placement report is due at 24 months, and the fourth, at 36 months.

After the court hearing, the new parents will obtain the adoption certificate and a new birth certificate (showing the child’s new name, and the adoptive parents as the parents) from the civil registration office (ZAGS), after which they can obtain the Russian passport for the child from the visa and registration department (OVIR). Once the new birth certificate and Russian passport have been issued, parents then can contact the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to make an appointment to apply for the child’s immigrant visa.

Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Embassy of the Russian Federation:
2650 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007
Tel: 202-298-5700
Fax: 202-298-5735
http://www.russianembassy.org/

The Russian Federation also has consulates in San Francisco, New York, and Seattle.

U.S. Immigration Requirements: Prospective adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to consult USCIS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adopting Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

U.S. Embassy of Russia:
#21 Novinsky Blvd.
Moscow, Russia 123242

Tel: 728-5000 switchboard
728-5567 (orphan visas)
Fax: 728-5247 (orphans only)
Website: http://moscow.usembassy.gov/

The United States also has Consulates General in the cities of St. Petersburg, Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg. Please note that these are small offices that are able to provide only emergency services to U.S. citizens. Moreover, they are not directly involved in the U.S. immigrant visa process. All questions regarding the adoption or immigrant visa processes in Russia should be directed to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

Additional Information: General questions regarding intercountry adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children’s Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-407-4747.

Public Announcement : October 2, 2006

This Public Announcement reminds American citizens traveling or living in Russia that there remains a heightened potential for terrorist actions, including attacks against civilians. This situation is likely to continue for some time. This supersedes the Public Announcement of April 4, 2006 and expires on March 31, 2007.

Acts of terrorism including bombings and hostage taking have occurred in Russia over the last several years. Bombings have occurred at Russian government buildings, hotels, tourist sites, markets, entertainment venues, schools, residential complexes, and on public transportation including the subway and scheduled commercial air flights. Hostage taking incidents have included a raid in 2004 on a school that resulted in horrific losses of life of children, teachers, and parents. In October 2005, 200-300 gunmen attacked police and military facilities in a city in the North Caucasus region. Presently, there is no specific indication that American institutions or citizens are targets but there is a general risk of American citizens being victims of indiscriminate terrorist attacks. American citizens in Russia should be aware of their personal surroundings and follow good security practices. Americans are urged to remain vigilant and exercise good judgment and discretion when using any form of public transportation. When traveling, Americans may wish to provide a friend, family member, or co-worker a copy of their itinerary. Americans should avoid large crowds and public gatherings that lack enhanced security measures. Travelers should also exercise a high degree of caution and remain alert when patronizing restaurants, casinos, nightclubs, bars, theaters, etc., especially during peak hours of business.

The North Caucasus region is of special concern. Due to continued civil and political unrest throughout much of the Caucasus region, the Department of State already warns U.S. citizens against travel to Chechnya and all areas that border it: North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Stavropol, Karachayevo-Cherkessiya, and Kabardino-Balkariya. U.S. government personnel are generally prohibited from traveling to these areas, and American citizens residing in these areas should depart immediately as the safety of Americans and other foreigners cannot be effectively guaranteed.

American citizens living in Russia or traveling there for even a few days are strongly urged to register with the embassy or nearest consulate general. Registration will allow the embassy to provide direct information on the security situation as necessary. Registration is done on-line and can be done in advance of travel. Information on registering can be found at the embassy web site, http://www.usembassy.ru, or at the Department of State’s Consular Affairs website, https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs.

As the department continues to develop information on any potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information through its consular information program documents, available on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov. In addition to information on the Internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.

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Russia

PROFILE
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
DEFENSE
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-RUSSIA RELATIONS
TRAVEL

Compiled from the September 2007 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:

Russian Federation

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 17 million sq. km. (6.5 million sq. mi.); about 1.8 times the size of the United States.

Cities: Capital—Moscow (pop. 8.3 million). Other cities—St. Petersburg (4.6 million), Novosibirsk (1.4 million), Nizhniy Novgorod (1.3 million).

Terrain: Broad plain with low hills west of Urals; vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia; uplands and mountains (Caucasus range) along southern borders.

Climate: Northern continental.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Russian(s).

Population: (2007 est.) 141.4 million.

Annual growth rate: (2007 est.) -0.484% (population declining).

Ethnic groups: Russian 79.8%, Tatar 3.8%, Ukrainian 2%, other 14.4%.

Religions: Russian Orthodox, Islam, Judaism, Roman Catholicism, Protestant, Buddhist, other.

Languages: Russian (official); more than 140 other languages and dialects.

Education: (total pop.) Literacy—99.4%.

Health: Life expectancy (2007 est.)—59.12 yrs. men, 73.03 yrs. women.

Work force: (73.88 million) (2006 est.) Production and economic services—84%; government—16%.

Government

Type: Federation.

Independence: August 24, 1991.

Constitution: December 12, 1993.

Government branches: Executive—president, prime minister (chairman of the government). Legislative—Federal Assembly (Federation Council, State Duma). Judicial—Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, Supreme Court of Arbitration, Office of Procurator General.

Political parties: The December 2003 Duma elections were contested by United Russia, the Communist Party (KPRF), the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), the Homeland (Rodina) bloc, the Union of Right Forces (SPS) and Yabloko. SPS and Yabloko, parties favoring liberal reforms, failed to clear the 5% threshold to enter the Duma as a party.

Political subdivisions: 21 autonomous republics and 68 autonomous territories and regions.

Suffrage: Universal at 18 years.

Economy

GDP: (2006) $989 billion.

Growth rate: (2006) 6.7%.

Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, timber, furs, precious and nonferrous metals.

Agriculture: Products—Grain, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, meat, dairy products.

Industry: Types—Complete range of manufactures: automobiles, trucks, trains, agricultural equipment, advanced aircraft, aerospace, machine and equipment products; mining and extractive industry; medical and scientific instruments; construction equipment.

Trade: (2006) Exports—$304 billion: petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas, woods and wood products, metals, chemicals. Major markets—EU, CIS, China, Japan. Imports—$165 billion: machinery and equipment, chemicals, consumer goods, medicines, meat, sugar, semi-finished metal products. Major partners—EU, U.S., NIS, Japan, China. U.S. exports—$4.7 billion. Principal U.S. exports (2006)—oil/gas equipment, meat, inorganic chemicals, tobacco, aircraft, medical equipment, autos/parts. U.S. imports—$19.8 billion. Principal U.S. imports (2006)— oil, aluminum, chemicals, platinum, iron/steel, fish and crustaceans, nickel, wood, and copper.

PEOPLE

Most of the roughly 141 million Russians derive from the Eastern Slavic family of peoples, whose original homeland was probably present-day Poland. Russian is the official language of Russia and is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. Russian is also the language of such giants of world literature as Pushkin, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Pasternak and Solzhenitsyn.

Russia's educational system has produced nearly 100% literacy. About 3 million students attend Russia's 519 institutions of higher education and 48 universities, but continued reform is critical to producing students with skills to adapt to a market economy. Because great emphasis is placed on science and technology in education, Russian medical, mathematical, scientific, and space and aviation research is still generally of a high order. The number of doctors in relation to the population is high by American standards, although medical care in Russia, even in major cities, is generally far below Western standards. The unraveling of the Soviet state in its last decades and the physical and psychological traumas of transition during the 1990s resulted in a steady decline in the health of the Russian people. Currently Russia faces a demographic crisis as births lag far behind deaths. While its population is aging, skyrocketing deaths of working-age males due to cardiovascular disease is a major cause of Russia's demographic woes. A rapid increase in HIV/AIDS infections and tuberculosis compounds the problem. In 2007, life expectancy at birth was 59 for men and 73 for women. The large annual excess of deaths over births is expected to cut Russia's population by 30% over the next 50 years.

The Russian labor force is undergoing tremendous changes. Although well educated and skilled, it is largely mismatched to the rapidly changing needs of the Russian economy. Official unemployment has dropped in recent years to 6.9%, and labor shortages have started to appear in some high-skilled job markets. Nonetheless, pockets of high unemployment remain and many Russian workers are underemployed. Unemployment is highest among women and young people. Following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union and the economic dislocation it engendered, the standard of living fell dramatically. However, real disposable incomes have doubled since 1999, and experts estimate that the middle class ranges from one-fifth to one-third of the population. In 2006, 15.8% of the population lived below the subsistence level, in contrast to 38.1% in 1998.

Moscow is Russia's capital and largest city (population 8.3 million). Moscow is also increasingly important as an economic and business center; it has become Russia's principal magnet for foreign investment and business presence. Its cultural tradition is rich, and there are many museums devoted to art, literature, music, dance, history, and science, as well as hundreds of churches and dozens of notable cathedrals.

The second-largest city in Russia is St. Petersburg, which was established by Peter the Great in 1703 to be the capital of the Russian Empire as part of his Western-looking reforms. The city was called Petrograd during World War I and Leningrad after 1924. In 1991, as the result of a city referendum, it was renamed St. Petersburg. Under the tsars, the city was Russia's cultural, intellectual, commercial, financial, and industrial center. After Lenin moved the capital back to Moscow in 1918, the city's political significance declined, but it remained a cultural, scientific, and military-industrial center. The Hermitage, formerly the Winter Palace of the tsars, is one of the world's great fine arts museums.

Russia has an area of about 17 million square kilometers (6.5 million sq. mi.); in geographic terms, this makes Russia the largest country in the world by more than 2.5 million square miles. But with a population density of about 22 persons per square mile (9 per sq. km.), it is sparsely populated, and most of its residents live in urban areas.

HISTORY

Although human experience on the territory of present-day Russia dates back to Paleolithic times, the first lineal predecessor of the modern Russian state was founded in 862. The political entity known as Kievan Rus was established in Kiev in 962 and lasted until the 12th century. In the 10th century, Christianity became the state religion under Vladimir, who adopted Greek Orthodox rites. Consequently, Byzantine culture predominated, as is evident in much of Russia's architectural, musical, and artistic heritage. Over the next centuries, various invaders assaulted the Kievan state and, finally, Mongols under Batu Khan destroyed the main population centers except for Novgorod and Pskov in the 13th century and prevailed over the region until 1480. Some historians believe that the Mongol period had a lasting impact on Russian political culture.

In the post-Mongol period, Muscovy gradually became the dominant principality and was able, through diplomacy and conquest, to establish suzerainty over European Russia. Ivan III (1462-1505) referred to his empire as “the Third Rome” and considered it heir to the Byzantine tradition. Ivan IV (the Terrible) (1530-1584) was the first Russian ruler to call himself tsar. He pushed Russian eastward with his conquests but his later reign was marked by the cruelty that earned him his familiar epithet. He was succeeded by Boris Godunov, whose reign commenced the so-called Time of Troubles. Relative stability was achieved when Michael Romanov established the dynasty that bore his name in 1613.

During the reign of Peter the Great (1689-1725), modernization and European influences spread in Russia. Peter created Western-style military forces, subordinated the Russian Orthodox Church hierarchy to the tsar, reformed the entire governmental structure, and established the beginnings of a Western-style education system. He moved the capital westward from Moscow to St. Petersburg, his newly-established city on

the Baltic. His introduction of European customs generated nationalistic resentments in society and spawned the philosophical rivalry between “Westernizers” and nationalistic “Slavophiles” that remains a key dynamic of current Russian social and political thought.

Catherine the Great continued Peter's expansionist policies and established Russia as a European power. During her reign (1762-96), power was centralized in the monarchy, and administrative reforms concentrated great wealth and privilege in the hands of the Russian nobility. Catherine was also known as an enthusiastic patron of art, literature and education and for her correspondence with Voltaire and other Enlightenment figures. Catherine also engaged in a territorial resettlement of Jews into what became known as “The Pale of Settlement,” where great numbers of Jews were concentrated and later subject to vicious attacks known as pogroms.

Alexander I (1801-1825) began his reign as a reformer, but after defeating Napoleon's 1812 attempt to conquer Russia, he became much more conservative and rolled back many of his early reforms. During this era, Russia gained control of Georgia and much of the Caucasus. Throughout the 19th century, the Russian Government sought to suppress repeated attempts at reform and attempts at liberation by various national movements, particularly under the reign of Nicholas I (1825-1855). Its economy failed to compete with those of Western countries. Russian cities were growing without an industrial base to generate employment, although emancipation of the serfs in 1861 foreshadowed urbanization and rapid industrialization late in the century. At the same time, Russia expanded into the rest of the Caucasus, Central Asia and across Siberia. The port of Vladivostok was opened on the Pacific coast in 1860. The Trans-Sibe-rian Railroad opened vast frontiers to development late in the century. In the 19th century, Russian culture flourished as Russian artists made significant contributions to world literature, visual arts, dance, and music. The names of Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Gogal, Repin, and Tchaikovsky became known to the world.

Alexander II (1855-1881), a relatively liberal tsar, emancipated the serfs. His 1881 assassination, however, prompted the reactionary rule of Alexander III (1881-1894). At the turn of the century, imperial decline became evident. Russia was defeated in the unpopular Russo-Japanese war in 1905. The Russian Revolution of 1905 forced Tsar Nicholas II (1894-1917) to grant a constitution and introduce limited democratic reforms. The government suppressed opposition and manipulated popular anger into anti-Semitic pogroms. Attempts at economic change, such as land reform, were incomplete.

1917 Revolution and the U.S.S.R.

The ruinous effects of World War I, combined with internal pressures, sparked the March 1917 uprising that led Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate the throne. A provisional government came to power, headed by Aleksandr Kerenskiy. On November 7, 1917, the Bolshevik Party, led by Vladimir Lenin, seized control and established the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic. Civil war broke out in1918 between Lenin's “Red” army and various “White” forces and lasted until 1920, when, despite foreign interventions and a war with Poland, the Bolsheviks triumphed. After the Red army conquered Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia, a new nation, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.), was formed in 1922.

First among its political figures was Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik Party and head of the first Soviet Government, who died in 1924. In the late 1920s, Josef Stalin emerged as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) amidst intra-party rivalries; he mainttained complete control over Soviet domestic and international policy until his death in 1953. In the 1930s, Stalin oversaw the forced collectivization of tens of millions of its citizens in state agricultural and industrial enterprises. Millions died in the process. Millions more died in political purges, the vast penal and labor system, and in state-created famines. Initially allied to Nazi Germany, which resulted in significant territorial additions on its western border, the U.S.S.R. was attacked by the Axis on June 22, 1941. Twenty million Soviet citizens died during World War II in the successful effort to defeat the Axis, in addition to over two million Soviet Jews who perished in the Holocaust. After the war, the U.S.S.R. became one of the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council. In 1949, the U.S.S.R. developed its own nuclear arsenal.

Stalin's successor, Nikita Khrushchev, served as Communist Party leader until he was ousted in 1964. Aleksey Kosygin became Chairman of the Council of Ministers, and Leonid Brezhnev was made First Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee in 1964. In 1971, Brezhnev rose to become “first among equals” in a collective leadership. Brezhnev died in 1982 and was succeeded by Yuriy Andropov (1982-84) and Konstantin Chernenko (1984-85). In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev became the next (and last) General Secretary of the CPSU. Gorbachev introduced policies of perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (openness). But his efforts to reform the creaky Communist system from within failed. The people of the Soviet Union were not content with half-freedoms granted by Moscow; they demanded more and the system collapsed. Boris Yeltsin was elected the first president of the Russian Federation in 1991. Russia, Ukraine and Belarus formed the Commonwealth of Independent States in December 1991. Gorbachev resigned as Soviet President on December 25, 1991. Eleven days later, the U.S.S.R. was formally dissolved.

The Russian Federation

After the December 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation became its successor state, inheriting its permanent seat on the UN Security Council, as well as the bulk of its foreign assets and debt. By the fall of 1993, politics in Russia reached a stalemate between President Yeltsin and the parliament. The parliament had succeeded in blocking, overturning, or ignoring the President's initiatives on drafting a new constitution, conducting new elections, and making further progress on democratic and economic reforms.

In a dramatic speech in September 1993, President Yeltsin dissolved the Russian parliament and called for new national elections and a new constitution. The standoff between the executive branch and opponents in the legislature turned violent in October after supporters of the parliament tried to instigate an armed insurrection. Yeltsin ordered the army to respond with force to capture the parliament building and crush the insurrection. In December 1993, voters elected a new parliament and approved a new constitution that had been drafted by the Yeltsin government. Yeltsin remained the dominant political figure, although a broad array of parties, including ultranationalists, liberals, agrarians, and communists, had substantial representation in the parliament and competed actively in elections at all levels of government.

In late 1994, the Russian security forces launched a brutal operation in the Republic of Chechnya against rebels who were intent on separation from Russia. Along with their opponents, Russian forces committed numerous violations of human rights. The protracted conflict, which received close scrutiny in the Russian media, raised serious human rights and humanitarian concerns abroad as well as within Russia. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to institute a cease-fire, in August 1996 the Russian and Chechen authorities negotiated a settlement that resulted in a complete withdrawal of Russian troops and the holding of elections in January 1997. A peace treaty was concluded in May 1997. Following a number of terrorist incidents blamed on Chechen separatists, the Russian government launched a new military campaign into Chechnya. By spring 2000, federal forces claimed control over Chechen territory, but fighting continues as rebel fighters regularly ambush Russian forces in the region. Throughout 2002 and 2003, the ability of Chechen separatists to battle the Russian forces waned but they claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist acts. In 2005 and 2006, key separatist leaders were killed by Russian forces.

On December 31, 1999 Boris Yeltsin resigned, and Vladimir Putin was named Acting President. In March 2000, he won election in his own right as Russia's second president with 53% of the vote. Putin moved quickly to reassert Moscow's control over the regions, whose governors had confidently ignored edicts from Boris Yeltsin. He sent his own “plenipotentiary representatives” (commonly called ‘polpred’ in Russian) to ensure that Moscow's policies were followed in recalcitrant regions and republics. He won enactment of liberal economic reforms that rescued a faltering economy and stopped a spiral of hyperinflation. Putin achieved wide popularity by stabilizing the government, especially in marked contrast to what many Russians saw as the chaos of the latter Yeltsin years. The economy grew, both because of rising oil prices and in part because Putin was able to achieve reforms in banking, labor, and private property. During this time, Russia also moved closer to the U.S., especially after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. In 2002, the NATO-Russia Council was established, giving Russia a voice in NATO discussions.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

In the political system established by the 1993 constitution, the president wields considerable executive power. There is no vice president, and the legislative branch is far weaker than the executive. The bicameral legislature consists of the lower house (State Duma) and the upper house (the Federation Council). The president nominates the highest state officials, including the prime minister, who must be approved by the Duma. The president can pass decrees without consent from the Duma. He also is head of the armed forces and of the Security Council.

Duma elections were held most recently on December 7, 2003, and presidential elections on March 14, 2004. The pro-government party, United Russia, won close to half of the seats in the Duma. Combined with its allies, United Russia commands a two-thirds majority. The OSCE judged the Duma elections as failing to meet international standards for fairness, due largely to extensive slanted media bias in the campaign. Vladimir Putin was reelected to a second four-year term with 71% of the vote in March 2004. The Russian constitution does not allow presidents to serve more than two consecutive terms. Next elections for the Duma occur in December 2007, and for President in March 2008.

Russia is a federation, but the precise distribution of powers between the central government and the regional and local authorities is still evolving. The Russian Federation consists of 89 regional administrative units, including two federal cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg. The constitution explicitly defines the federal government's exclusive powers, but it also describes most key regional issues as the joint responsibility of the federal government and the regional administrative units. In 2000, President Putin grouped the regions into seven federal districts, with presidential appointees established in Moscow and six provincial capitals. In March 2004, the Constitution was amended to permit the merger of some regional administrative units. A law enacted in December 2004 eliminated the direct election of the country's regional leaders. Governors are now nominated by the president and subject to confirmation by regional legislatures.

Judicial System

The Russian judicial system consists of the Constitutional Court, courts of general jurisdiction, military courts, and arbitrage courts (which hear commercial disputes). The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation is a court of limited subject matter jurisdiction. The 1993 constitution empowers the Constitutional Court to arbitrate disputes between the executive and legislative branches and between Moscow and the regional and local governments. The court also is authorized to rule on violations of constitutional rights, to examine appeals from various bodies, and to participate in impeachment proceedings against the president. The July 1994 Law on the Constitutional Court prohibits the court from examining cases on its own initiative and limits the scope of issues the court can hear. The system of general jurisdiction courts includes the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, regional level courts, district level courts and justices of the peace.

The Duma passed a Criminal Procedure Code and other judicial reforms during its 2001 session. These reforms help make the Russian judicial system more compatible with its Western counterparts and are seen by most as an accomplishment in human rights. The reforms have reintroduced jury trials in certain criminal cases and created a more adversarial system of criminal trials that protect the rights of defendants more adequately. In 2002, the introduction of the new code led to significant reductions in time spent in detention for new detainees, and the number of suspects placed in pretrial detention declined by 30%. Another significant advance in the new Code is the transfer from the Procuracy to the courts of the authority to issue search and arrest warrants. There are rising concerns, however, that prosecutors have selectively targeted individuals for political reasons, as in the prosecution of Yukos Oil CEO Mikhail Khodorkovskiy.

In spite of the general tendency to increase judicial independence (for example, by recent considerable salary raise to judges), many judges still see their role not as of impartial and independent arbiters, but as of government officials protecting state interests.

Human Rights

Russia's human rights record remains uneven and has worsened in some areas in recent years. Despite significant improvements in conditions following the end of the Soviet Union, problem areas remain. In particular, the Russian Government's policy in Chechnya has been a cause for international concern. Although the government has made progress in recognizing the legitimacy of international human rights standards, the institutionalization of procedures to safeguard these rights has lagged. There are, however, some indications that the law is becoming an increasingly important tool for those seeking to protect human rights.

The judiciary is often subject to manipulation by political authorities and is plagued by large case backlogs and trial delays. Lengthy pretrial detention remains a serious problem. Russia has one of the highest prison population rates in the world, at 685 per 100,000. There are credible reports of beating and torture of inmates and detainees by law enforcement and correctional officials. Prison conditions fall well below international standards. In 2001, President Putin pronounced a moratorium on the death penalty. There are reports that the Russian Government might still be violating promises they made upon entering the European Council, especially in terms of prison control and conditions.

In Chechnya, there have been credible allegations of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by Russian and pro-Moscow Chechen forces. Chechen rebels also have committed abuses as well as acts of terrorism. Human rights groups have criticized Russian officials concerning cases of Chechens disappearing while in custody. Chechen rebels have similarly been responsible for politically motivated disappearances. Russian authorities have introduced some improvements, including better access to complaint mechanisms, the formal opening of investigations in most cases, and the introduction of two decrees requiring the presence of civilian investigators and other nonmilitary personnel during all large-scale military operations and targeted search and seizure operations. Human rights groups welcome these changes but claim that most abuses remain uninvestigated and unpunished and may be spreading more broadly in the North Caucasus.

The Russian constitution provides for freedom of religion and the equality of all religions before the law, as well as the separation of church and state. Although Jews and Muslims continue to encounter prejudice and societal discrimination, they have not been inhibited by the government in the free practice of their religion. High-ranking federal officials have condemned anti-Semitic hate crimes, but law enforcement bodies have not always effectively prosecuted those responsible. The influx of foreign missionaries has led to pressure by groups in Russia, specifically nationalists and the Russian Orthodox Church, to limit the activities of these “nontraditional” religious groups. In response, the Duma passed a restrictive and potentially discriminatory law on religion in October 1997. The law is complex, with many ambiguous and contradictory provisions. The law's most controversial provisions distinguish between religious “groups” and “organizations” and introduce a 15-year rule, which allows groups that have been in existence for 15 years or longer to obtain accredited status. Senior Russian officials have pledged to implement the 1997 law on religion in a manner that is not in conflict with Russia's international human rights obligations. Some local officials, however, have used the law as a pretext to restrict religious liberty.

Government pressure continued to weaken freedom of expression and the independence and freedom of some media, particularly major national television networks and regional electronic media outlets. A government decision resulted in the elimination of the last major non-state television network in 2003. National press is also increasingly in government hands or owned by government officials, narrowing the scope of opinion available. Self-censorship is a growing press problem. Unsolved murders of journalists, including the killing of respected investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya in October 2006, have caused significant international concern and increased pressure on journalists to avoid subjects considered sensitive. In August 2007, authorities arrested several suspects in connection with the Politkovksaya case. Enactment of a new law on foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in 2006 was criticized in many quarters as a device to control civil society. Implementing regulations appear to impose onerous paperwork reporting burdens on NGOs that could be used to limit or even suppress some of them. This law was used to shut down an NGO for the first time in January 2007 on the basis of extremism charges; however, most foreign NGOs have successfully re-registered. Domestic NGOs were not required to re-register, but are required to meeting new reporting requirements. The constitution guarantees citizens the right to choose their place of residence and to travel abroad. Some big-city governments, however, have restricted this right through residential registration rules that closely resemble the Soviet-era “propiska” regulations. Although the rules were touted as a notification device rather than a control system, their implementation has produced many of the same results as the prop-iska system. The freedom to travel abroad and emigrate is respected although restrictions may apply to those who have had access to state secrets. Recognizing this progress, since 1994, the U.S. President has found Russia to be in full compliance with the provisions of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 3/17/2008

Pres.: Dmitriy Anatolyevich MEDVEDEV

Premier: Vladimir Vladimirovich PUTIN

First Dep. Premier: Sergey Borisovich IVANOV

First Dep. Premier: Dep. Premier: Aleksey Leonidovich KUDRIN

Dep. Premier: Sergey Yevgenyevich NARYSHKIN

Dep. Premier: Aleksandr Dmitriyevich ZHUKOV

Min. of Agriculture: Aleksey Vasilyevich GORDEYEV

Min. of Civil Defense, Emergencies, &Natural Disasters: Sergey Kuzhugetovich SHOYGU

Min. of Culture & Mass Communication: Aleksandr Sergeyevich SOKOLOV

Min. of Defense: Anatoliy Eduardovich SERDYUKOV

Min. of Economic Development & Trade: Elvira Sakhipzadovna NABIULLINA

Min. of Education & Science: Andrey Aleksandrovich FURSENKO

Min. of Finance: Aleksey Leonidovich KUDRIN

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Sergey Viktorovich LAVROV

Min. of Health & Social Development: Tatyana Alekseyevna GOLIKOVA

Min. of Industry & Energy: Viktor Borisovich KHRISTENKO

Min. of Information Technology & Communications: Leonid Dododzhonovich REYMAN

Min. of Internal Affairs: Rashid Gumarovich NURGALIYEV

Min. of Justice: Vladimir Vasilyevich USTINOV

Min. of Natural Resources: Yuriy Petrovich TRUTNEV

Min. of Regional Development: Dmitriy Nikolayevich KOZAK

Min. of Transportation: Igor Yevgenyevich LEVITIN

Dir., Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR): Mikhail Yefimovich FRADKOV

Dir., Federal Security Service (FSB): Nikolay Platonovich PATRUSHEV

Head, Govt. Apparatus: Sergey Yevgenyevich NARYSHKIN

First Dep. Chmn. of the Military-Industrial Commission: Vladislav Nikolayevich PUTILIN

Sec., Security Council (Acting): Valentin Alekseyevich SOBOLEV

Procurator Gen.: Yuriy Yakovlevich CHAYKA

Chmn., Central Bank of Russia: Sergey Mikhaylovich IGNATYEV

Ambassador to the US: Yuriy Viktorovich USHAKOV

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Vitaliy Ivanovich CHURKIN

The Russian Federation maintains an embassy at 2650 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20007 (tel. 202-298-5700) and a consular section at 2641 Tunlaw Road, Washington, DC (tel. 202-939-8907/8913/8918). Russian consulates also are located in Houston, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle.

ECONOMY

The Russian economy underwent tremendous stress in the 1990s as it moved from a centrally planned economy to a free market system. Difficulties in implementing fiscal reforms aimed at raising government revenues and a dependence on short-term borrowing to finance budget deficits led to a serious financial crisis in 1998. Lower prices for Russia's major export earners (oil and minerals) and a loss of investor confidence due to the Asian financial crisis exacerbated financial problems. The result was a rapid and steep decline (60%) in the value of the ruble, flight of foreign investment, delayed payments on sovereign and private debts, a breakdown of commercial transactions through the banking system, and the threat of runaway inflation.

Still, Russia weathered the crisis well. In the 8 years following the financial crisis, GDP growth averaged just under 7% due to a devalued ruble, implementation of key economic reforms (tax, banking, labor and land codes), tight fiscal policy, and favorable commodities prices. Household consumption and fixed capital investments have both grown by about 10 percent per year since 1999 and have replaced net exports as the main drivers of demand growth. Inflation and exchange rates have stabilized due to a prudent fiscal policy (Russia has run a budget surplus since 2003). The government created a stabilization/rainy day fund ($127 billion in mid-2007), and has the third-largest foreign exchange reserves in the world (close to $420 billion in mid-2007) which should shelter it from commodity price shocks.

Russia's balance of payments moves from strength to strength. The current account balance grew from $58.6 billion in 2004 to $95.3 billion in 2006, almost entirely due to oil price increases. The capital account turned positive in 2006, with net inflow of $6.1 billion. In addition, net private capital flows in 2006 increased significantly to $40.9 billion, compared to an inflow of $0.1 billion in 2005 due to liberalization of the capital account in mid-2006. Foreign direct investment (FDI) flows dramatically improved in 2006 to an estimated $31 billion (inflows totaled $15.4 billion and $14.6 billion in 2004 and 2005, respectively). As of July 1, 2006, the ruble is convertible for both current and capital transactions. Russia prepaid its entire Soviet-era Paris Club debt of $22 billion in late 2006, pushing Russia's sovereign foreign debt down to $45 billion at the end of 2006, or about 5 percent of GDP. Russia's total public and private foreign debt at the end of 2006 was $310 billion, or 31 percent of GDP. Such a dramatic reversal to the macroeconomic situation is truly remarkable. Russia currently has a sovereign investmentgrade rating from Standard and Poor's of BBB+.

Although the economy has begun to diversify, the government budget remains dependent on oil and gas revenues; consumption and investment are, however, contributing to an increasing share to GDP growth. While currently sheltered from external price shocks, the government realizes the need to intensify reforms that will promote new investment in aging infrastructure and continued productivity gains. The government believes it can do this by creating state-sponsored investment funds, special economic zones, and by exercising control of strategic enterprises (a draft law defining strategic sectors was submitted to the Duma in August 2007). Although investors are returning to Russia, excessive bureaucracy, corruption, insufficient and insufficiently enforced legislation, selective interpretation of laws (particularly tax laws), unclear limits and conditions on foreign investment, obsolete infrastructure, and stalled economic reforms still remain a problem. In 2005, the government announced reform programs in four priority areas (health, education, housing, and agriculture), but further work is needed on them as well as in financial regulation, civil service reform, and reform of government monopolies, such as railroads, gas, and electricity.

Gross Domestic Product

A strong expansion in domestic demand continues to drive GDP growth, despite a slowdown in manufacturing. GDP growth and industrial production for 2006 were 6.7% and 4.8%, respectively, relative to 6.4% and 5.7% in 2005. GDP growth is currently derived from non-tradable sectors, but investment remains concentrated in tradables (oil and gas). Construction was the fastest growing sector of the economy, expanding by 14% in 2006. The main private sector services—wholesale & retail trade, banking & insurance, and transportation & communications—showed strong growth of about 10%. In contrast, public sector services—education, health care, and public administration—lagged behind with only 2-4% growth in 2006. Recent productivity growth has still been strong in some parts of domestic manufacturing. Real disposable incomes grew by 10.2% in 2006, spurring considerable growth in private consumption.

Monetary Policy

Large balance of payments surpluses have complicated monetary policy for Russia. The Central Bank has followed a policy of managed appreciation to ease the impact on domestic producers and has sterilized capital inflows with its large budget surpluses. However, the Central Bank also has been buying back dollars, pumping additional ruble liquidity into the system. Given the rising demand for money, this has softened the inflationary impact, but these policy choices have complicated the government's efforts to lower inflation to the single digits. Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation was 9% in 2006 and 10.9% in 2005, having steadily decreased from 20.2% in 2000, due primarily to prudent fiscal policy and in 2006 lower world oil prices.

Government Spending/ Taxation

The Russian federal budget has run growing surpluses since 2001, as the government has taxed and saved much of the rapidly increasing oil revenues. According to preliminary figures, the 2006 budget surplus was 7.4% of GDP on a cash basis. Although there are strong pressures to relax spending ahead of elections, the government has loosened its spending gradually, as the economy is running at near capacity and there are dangers of increasing inflation and rapid exchange rate appreciation. Spending increases to date have mostly been for increased salaries of government employees and pensions, but some money is also being dedicated to special investment funds and tax breaks to develop new industries in special economic zones. The government overhauled its tax system for both corporations and individuals in 2000-01, introducing a 13% flat tax for individuals and a unified tax for corporations, which improved overall collection. Business has put pressure on the government to reduce value added taxes (VAT) on oil and gas, but the government has postponed this discussion. Tax enforcement of disputes, particularly following the Yukos case, continues to be uneven and unpredictable.

Population

Russia's population of 142.9 million (2006) is falling. Lower birth rates and higher death rates have reduced Russia's population at a nearly 0.5% annual rate since the early 1990s. Russia is one of few countries with a declining population (although birth rates in many developed countries have dropped below the long-term population replacement). Population decline is particularly drastic in Russia due to higher death rates, especially among working-age males. Cardiovascular disease, cancer, traffic injuries, suicide, alcohol poisoning, and violence are major causes of death. In a June 2006 speech to the Russian National Security Council, President Putin declared that Russia is facing a demographic crisis and called for measures to improve birth and mortality rates and increase population through immigration, primarily the return of Russian-speaking foreigners.

HIV/AIDS

Russia and Ukraine are said to have the highest growth rates of HIV infection in the world. In Russia HIV seems to be transmitted mostly by intravenous drug users sharing needles, although data is very uncertain. Data from the Federal AIDS Center shows that the number of registered cases is doubling every 12 months and is currently at 300,000 persons. When projections are made which allow for people in high-risk groups who have not been tested for the disease, estimates of the actual number of HIV-infected persons are approximately 3 million. The high growth rate of AIDS cases, if unchecked, will have negative economic consequences. Investment will suffer from the diversion of private and government funds to AIDS treatment. The effect on the labor force may be acute since about 80% of infected individuals in Russia are under 30 years of age. At the September 2003 Camp David Summit, and again at the Bratislava meeting in February 2005, Presidents Bush and Putin pledged to deepen ongoing cooperation between the two countries to fight HIV/AIDS.

Commercial Law

Russia has a body of conflicting, overlapping and rapidly changing laws, decrees and regulations, which has resulted in an ad hoc and unpredictable approach to doing business. In this environment, negotiations and contracts from commercial transactions are complex and protracted. Uneven implementation of laws creates further complications. Regional and local courts are often subject to political pressure, and corruption is widespread. However, more and more small and medium businesses in recent years have reported fewer difficulties in this regard, especially in the Moscow region. In addition, Russian businesses are increasingly turning to the courts to resolve disputes. Russia's WTO accession process is also helping to bring the country's legal and regulatory regime in line with internationally accepted practices.

Natural Resources

The mineral-packed Ural Mountains and the vast oil, gas, coal, and timber reserves of Siberia and the Russian Far East make Russia rich in natural resources. However, most such resources are located in remote and climatically unfavorable areas that are difficult to develop and far from Russian ports.

Nevertheless, Russia is a leading producer and exporter of minerals, gold, and all major fuels. Natural resources, especially energy, dominate Russian exports. Ninety percent of Russian exports to the United States are minerals or other raw materials.

Industry

Russia is one of the most industrialized of the former Soviet republics. However, years of very low investment have left much of Russian industry antiquated and highly inefficient. Besides its resource-based industries, it has developed large manufacturing capacities, notably in metals, food products, and transport equipment. Russia is now the world's third-largest exporter of steel and primary aluminum. Russia inherited most of the defense industrial base of the Soviet Union, so armaments remain an important export category for Russia. Efforts have been made with varying success over the past few years to convert defense industries to civilian use, and the Russian Government is engaged in an ongoing process to privatize the remaining 9,222 state-owned enterprises, 33% of which are in the industrial manufacturing sector.

Agriculture

For its great size, Russia has relatively little area suited for agriculture because of its arid climate and inconsistent rainfall. Northern areas concentrate mainly on livestock, and the southern parts and western Siberia produce grain. Restructuring of former state farms has been an extremely slow process. Foreigners are not allowed to own farmland in Russia although long-term leases are permitted. Private farms and garde plots of individuals account for over one-half of all agricultural production.

Investment/Banking

Russia attracted an estimated $31 billion in FDI in 2006 (3.2% of GDP), up from $13 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2005.Russia's annual FDI figures are now in line with those of China, India, and Brazil. However, Russia's per capita cumulative FDI still lags far behind such countries as Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic. The paradox is that Russia's challenging business climate, lack of transparency, and weak rule of law/corruption has taken a back seat to Russia's extraordinary macroeconomic fundamentals and the consumer and retail boom, which is providing double digit returns to investors and attracting new flows. Russian domestic investment is also returning home, as the foreign investment coming into Russia from havens like Cyprus and Gibraltar, is actually returning Russian capital. As of the end of 2006, loans to the financial sector were 57.2% of total banking sector assets. Retail loans amounted to $78.4 billion at the end of 2006, up from $41 billion at the end of 2005. Retail deposits increased to $144.1 billion from $95.7 billion over the same period. Also, currently deposits are fully insured up to $4,000 and an additional $12,000 is insured at 90%.

Although still small by international standards, the Russian banking sector is growing fast and is becoming a larger source of investment funds. To meet a growing demand for loans, which they were unable to cover with domestic deposits, Russian banks borrowed heavily abroad in 2006, accounting for two-thirds of the private-sector capital inflows in that year. Ruble lending has increased since the October 1998 financial crisis, and in 2006 loans were 63% of total bank assets, with consumer loans posting the fastest growth at 74% that same year. Fewer Russians prefer to keep their money outside the banking sector, the recent appreciation of the ruble against the dollar has persuaded many Russians to keep their money in rubles or other currencies such as the euro, and retail deposits grew by 65% in 2006. Despite recent growth, the poorly developed banking system, along with contradictory regulations across banking, bond, and equity markets, still makes it difficult for entrepreneurs to raise capital as well as to permit capital transfer from a capital-rich sector such as energy to capital-poor sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing and to diversify risk. Banks still perceive small and medium commercial lending as risky, and some banks are inexperienced with assessing credit risk, though the situation is improving. In 2003, Russia enacted a deposit insurance law to protect deposits up to 100,000 rubles (about $3,700) per depositor, and a bill is currently in the Duma, which if passed will increase this coverage to 190,000 rubles (about $7,000) per depositor.

Trade

The U.S. exported $4.7 billion in goods to Russia in 2006, a 21% increase from the previous year. Corresponding U.S. imports from Russia were $19.8 billion, up 29%. Russia is currently the 33rd-largest export market for U.S. goods. Russian exports to the U.S. were fuel oil, inorganic chemicals, aluminum, and precious stones. U.S. exports to Russia were machinery, meat (mostly poultry), electrical equipment, and hightech products.

Russia's overall trade surplus in 2006 was $139 billion, up from $118 billion in 2005. World prices continue to have a major effect on export performance, since commodities—particularly oil, natural gas, metals, and timber—comprise 80% of Russian exports. Russian GDP growth and the surplus/deficit in the Russian Federation state budget are closely linked to world oil prices.

Russia is in the process of negotiating terms of accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The U.S. and Russia concluded a bilateral WTO accession agreement in late 2006, and negotiations continue in 2007 on meeting WTO requirements for accession. Russia reports that it has yet to conclude bilateral agreements with Saudi Arabia and Georgia.

According to the 2005 U.S. Trade Representative's National Trade Estimate, Russia continues to maintain a number of barriers with respect to imports, including tariffs and tariff-rate quotas; discriminatory and prohibitive charges and fees; and discriminatory licensing, registration, and certification regimes. Discussions continue within the context of Russia's WTO accession to eliminate these measures or modify them to be consistent with internationally accepted trade policy practices. Non-tariff barriers are frequently used to restrict foreign access to the market and are also a significant topic in Russia's WTO negotiations. In addition, large losses to U.S. audiovisual and other companies in Russia owing to poor enforcement of intellectual property rights in Russia is an ongoing irritant in U.S.-Russia trade relations. Russia continues to work to bring its technical regulations, including those related to product and food safety, into conformity with international standards.

DEFENSE

Russia's efforts to transform its Soviet-legacy military into a smaller, lighter and more mobile force continue to be hampered by an ossified military leadership, discipline problems and human rights violations, limited funding and demographics. Recent steps by the Government of Russia suggest a desire to reform. There has been an increased emphasis on practical training, and the government is introducing bills to improve the organization of the military.

Despite recent increases in the budget, however, defense spending is still unable to sustain Russia's oversized military. Current troop strength, estimated at 1.1 million, is large in comparison to Russia's GDP and military budget, which continues to make the process of transformation to a professional army difficult. This is the result of the Soviet legacy and military thinking that has changed little since the Cold War. Senior Russian leaders continue to emphasize a reliance on a large strategic nuclear force capable of deterring a massive nuclear attack.

Russian military salaries are low. Theoretically, the army provides all necessities, but housing and food shortages continue to plague the armed forces. Problems with both discipline and brutal hazing are common as well. HIV infection rates in the Russian army are estimated to be between two to five times higher than in the general population, and tuberculosis is a persistent problem.

Such conditions continue to encourage draft evasion and efforts to delay military service. Although the available manpower (males 15-49) for the Russian Armed Forces was projected at 35.2 million in 2005, only approximately 11% of eligible males do military service. Moreover, military officials complain that new recruit cohorts are plagued by increasing incidences of poor education, communicable diseases and criminality.

The Russian Government has stated a desire to convert to a professional army, but implementation has been delayed repeatedly. Current plans envision a transition to a mixed force, in which professional soldiers fill the ranks of select units and conscription is gradually phased out. Some officials have talked of developing a noncommissioned officer corps to lead the professional army, but the military has yet to make any concrete investments in training or facilities that would begin this process.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

In the years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia took important steps to become a full partner in the world's principal political groupings. On December 27, 1991, Russia assumed the permanent UN Security Council seat formerly held by the Soviet Union. Russia also is a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). Russia and the European Union (EU) signed a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. It signed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Partnership for Peace initiative in 1994. The NATO-Russia Founding Act in 1997 and the NATO-Russia Council superseded that in 2002. Russia acquiesced (despite misgivings) in enlargement of NATO by members first of the former Warsaw Pact and most recently by the Baltic states that had been forcibly integrated into the Soviet Union.

Over the past several years Russia has increased its international profile, played an increasing role in regional issues, and been more assertive in dealing with its neighbors. The rise in energy prices has given it leverage over countries which are dependent on Russian sources. Russia continues to support separatist regimes in Georgia and Moldova.

U.S.-RUSSIA RELATIONS

The United States and Russia share common interests on a broad range of issues, including counterterrorism and the drastic reduction of our strategic arsenals. Russia shares our basic goal of stemming the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. We are working with Russia to compel Iran to bring its nuclear programs into compliance with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) rules and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1737. On North Korea, Russia is a participant in the Six-Party Talks aimed at the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantling of North Korea's nuclear program. Russia also takes part in the Middle East Peace Process “Quartet” (along with the UN and the EU). Russia now interacts with NATO members as an equal through the NATO-Russia Council but without veto power over NATO decisions. During the past several years, Russia has intensified its efforts to combat trafficking in persons. We are cooperating in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

U.S. Assistance to Russia

For more detailed information on U.S. Government assistance to Russia, please see the annual reports to Congress on U.S. Government Assistance to and Cooperative Activities with Eurasia, which are available in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs section on the State Department's website. A fact sheet on FY 2006 U.S. Assistance to Russia can be found at http://www.state.gov/p/eur/rls/fs/66166.htm.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Last Updated: 2/19/2008

MOSCOW (E) 8 Bolshoy Devyatin-skiy Pereulok Moscow 121099 Russian Federation, APO/FPO Name PSC-77, (Name of Section) APO/AE 09721, +7 (495) 728-5000, Fax +7 (495) 728-5090, INMARSAT Tel 881-621-456-659, Workweek: MON-FRI 9:00 am–6:00 pm, Website: http://moscow.usembassy.gov.

DCM OMS:Harriet M. Noonan
AMB OMS:Suzonne M. Woytovech
CG OMS:Laura Gilpin
DHS/CIS:Suzanne Sinclair-Smith
DHS/ICE:Marshall Heeger
DPO/PAO:James Kenney
ECO:Eric Schultz
FCS:Beryl Blecher
FM:Robert R. Perreault
HRO:Sherrie Marafino
MGT:Mcm James D. Melville, Jr../ Mgt Heather Townsend
OMS:Olga Pavlova
AMB:William J. Burns
CG:Kurt Amend
DCM:Daniel A. Russell
GSO:Earl Graves
RSO:Robert Reed
AGR:Allan Mustard
AID:Terry Myers
ATO:Kim Svec (Acting)
CLO:Jackie Graves
DAO:BG Daniel R. Eagle
DEA:Tim Jones
EEO:Wendy Bieber
EST:Colin Cleary
FAA:Brian Staurseth
FMO:Kemp Long
ICASS:Chair Eric Wenberg
IMO:Harry Lumley
IPO:David Douthit
ISO:Marcia Henke
ISSO:Richard Marafino
LAB:Briana Saunders
LEGATT:James Treacy
NAS:Dennis McSweeney
POL:Alice Wells
State ICASS:Kurt Amend

ST. PETERSBURG (CG) Furshtad-skaya Ulitsa 15, 191028 St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, APO/FPO AmConGen, St. Petersburg, PSC 78, Box L, APO/AE 09723, 7 (812) 331-2600, Fax 7 (812) 331-2852, Work-week: 9:00–17:30 Mon.-Fri., Website: http://stpetersburg.usconsulate.gov.

DPO:Allen Greenberg
FCS:Keith Silver
MGT:Terry Alston
OMS:Kathryn Ramsay
POL ECO:Benjamin Wohlauer
PO:Mary Kruger
CON:Andrew Flashberg
PAO:Mary Ellen Countryman
GSO:Russell Singer
RSO:Julia Sweeney
CLO:Mirna Lopez
IPO:Joseph Scheppman
IRS:Susan Stanley - In Frankfurt
ISO:Bruce Zacharzuk

VLADIVOSTOK (CG) 32 Pushkin-skaya, 7-4232-30-00-70, Fax 7 4232 49-93-72/71, INMARSAT Tel Dial 9-810-873-683-142-222, Workweek: Monday-Friday 0900 to 1800, Website: http://vladivostok.usconsulate.gov.

ECO:Daniel Kronenfeld
MGT:Bevan Benjamin
POL ECO:Daniel Kronenfeld
CG:John Mark Pommersheim
PO:John Mark Pommersheim
CON:Emily King
PAO:Daniel O. Hastings
COM:Vacant
GSO:Robert (Chris) Wolf
RSO:Pso/Bevan Benjamin
AGR:Svetlana Ily'Ina
AID:Lindberg
CLO:Maya Nazarian-Hastings
EEO:Daniel O. Hastings
FMO:Bevan Benjamin
ISO:Stansbury, David
ISSO:Stansbury, David
State ICASS:Bevan Benjamin

YEKATERINBURG (CG) 15 ul. Gogolya, Yekaterinburg 620151 Russian Federation, APO/FPO 5890 Yekaterinburg PI Washington, DC 20521-5890, 7 (343) 379-3001, Fax 7 (343) 379-4515, INMARSAT Tel 76-322-2891, Workweek: MON-FRI 8:30 am–5:30 pm, Website: http://yekaterinburg.usconsulate.gov.

MGT:Elizabeth K. Thompson
POL ECO:James McNaught
CG:John Stepanchuk
CON:Christopher Barnes
PAO:Virgil Strohmeyer
CLO:Isabella Strohmeyer
ISO:Steven Schuman
ISSO:Steven Schuman

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

December 26, 2007

Country Description: Russia is a vast and diverse nation that continues to evolve politically, economically, and socially. Travel and living conditions in Russia contrast sharply with those in the United States. Major urban centers show tremendous differences in economic development compared to rural areas. While good tourist facilities exist in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and some other large cities, they are not developed in most of Russia, and some of the goods and services taken for granted in other countries are not yet available. Travel to the Caucasus region of Russia is dangerous. The Department of State recommends Americans not travel to Chechnya and adjoining areas, and recommends that Americans who are in these regions depart immediately.

Entry Requirements: The Russian government maintains a restrictive and complicated visa regime for foreign travelers who visit, transit, or reside in the Russian Federation. The Russian system includes requirements of sponsorship, visas for entry and exit, migration cards, and registration. American citizens who also carry Russian passports face additional complicated regulations. Dual citizen minors who travel on their Russian passports also face special problems. Russian immigration and visa laws change regularly. The implementation of immigration laws has not always been transparent or predictable. In addition, Russian immigration officials at times implement laws and regulations governing entry and exit inconsistently, especially in remote areas.

The Russian government does not recognize the standing of U.S. consular officers to intervene in visa cases. The U.S. diplomatic mission in Russia is not able to act as sponsor, submit visa applications, register private travelers, or request that visas or migration cards be corrected, replaced, or extended.

Entry Visas: Before traveling to Russia, U.S. citizens should verify the latest requirements with the nearest Russian Embassy or Consulate (for contact information for the Russian Embassy and Consulates in the United States, please refer to the last paragraph of this section).

U.S. citizens must always possess a valid U.S. passport and appropriate visas for travel to or transit through Russia, whether by train, car, ship, or airplane. It is impossible to obtain a Russian entry visa upon arrival. Travelers must obtain visas well in advance of travel from a Russian Embassy or Consulate in the United States or in a third country. Travelers who arrive without an entry visa are not permitted to enter Russia and face immediate expulsion by route of entry, at the traveler's expense. Foreigners must apply for Russian visas in their country of citizenship, unless they have permission to stay for more than 90 days in the country where they are making the visa application.

U.S. citizens transiting Russia en route to any other country are strongly advised to have transit visas. It is theoretically possible to transit Russia without a visa but in several instances, travelers experienced delays and hardships because they did not have a transit visa. Similarly, Russia-bound U.S. citizens attempting to transit Belarus or the Central Asian republics without visas have encountered difficulties. U.S. citizens are strongly advised to check the visa requirements for all countries on their itinerary.

A Russia entry/exit visa has two dates written in the European style (day. month, year) as opposed to the American style (month/day/year). The first date indicates the earliest day a traveler may enter Russia; the second date indicates the date by which a traveler must leave Russia. A Russian visa is only valid for those exact dates.

Russian tourist visas are often granted only for the specific dates mentioned in the invitation letter provided by the sponsor. U.S. citizens often receive visas valid for periods as short as four days. Even if the visa is misdated through error of a Russian Embassy or Consulate, the traveler will still not be allowed into Russia before the visa start date or be allowed to leave after the visa expiration date. Any mistakes in visa dates must be corrected before the traveler enters Russia. It is helpful to have someone who reads Russian check the visa before departing the United States.

Visas are valid for specific purposes and dates. Travelers should ensure that they apply for and receive the correct visa that reflects their intended action in Russia (i.e., student visa, religious worker visa, commercial visa). Foreigners can be expelled for engaging in activities inconsistent with their visas.

All travelers must list on the visa application all areas to be visited and subsequently register with authorities upon arrival at each destination. This is normally done through the traveler's hotel or local sponsor. There are several closed cities throughout Russia. Travelers who attempt to enter these cities without prior authorization are subject to fines, court hearings and/or deportation. Travelers should check with their sponsor, hotel, or the nearest Russian visa and passport office before traveling to unfamiliar cities and towns.

Limitations on Length of Stay: In October 2007, the Russian government made significant changes to its rules regarding the length of stay permitted to most foreign visitors. For any visa issued on or after October 18, 2007, unless that visa specifically authorizes employment or study, a foreigner may stay in Russia only 90 days in any 180-day period. This applies to business, tourist, humanitarian and cultural visas, among other categories. Failure to comply with this rule could result in arrest, deportation, and a five-year ban from entering Russia.

Sponsorship: Under Russian law, every foreign traveler must have a Russian-based sponsor (a hotel, tour company, relative, employer, etc). The official sponsor is listed on the visa. Generally speaking, visas sponsored by Russian individuals are “guest” visas, and visas sponsored by tour agencies or hotels are “tourist” visas. Note that travelers who enter Russia on “tourist” visas, but who then reside with Russian individuals, may have difficulty registering their visas and migration cards and may be required by Russian authorities to depart Russia sooner than they had planned.

Even if a visa was obtained through a travel agency in the United States, there is always a Russian legal entity whose name is indicated on the visa and who is considered to be the legal sponsor. It is important for travelers to know who their legal sponsor is and how to contact that sponsor. Russian law requires that the sponsor must apply on the traveler's behalf for replacement, extension, or changes to a Russian visa. U.S. citizens are strongly advised to obtain the contact information of the visa sponsor from their tour company or hotel, in advance. To resolve any visa difficulties (lost visa, expired visa), the traveler's sponsor must contact the nearest Russian visa and passport office (OVIR/UVIR) for assistance. Resolving the visa problem usually requires the payment of a fee and a wait of up to twenty calendar days.

Exit Visa: A valid visa is necessary to depart Russia. Generally, the visa issued by a Russian Embassy or Consulate is valid for entry and exit. It is helpful to make a photocopy of your visa in the event of loss, but note that a copy of your visa will not be sufficient for leaving the country, as Russian immigration officials always ask for the original.

Visitors who lose or have their U.S. passport and Russian visa stolen must replace their passport at the U.S. Embassy or one of the Consulates General, and then obtain a new visa to depart with the assistance of their sponsor. Without a valid visa in their new U.S. passports, U.S. citizens cannot leave Russia. As noted above, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates General are not able to intercede in cases in which visas must be replaced, corrected, or extended.

Travelers who overstay their visa's validity, even for one day, will be prevented from leaving until their sponsor intervenes and requests a visa extension on their behalf. United States citizens without valid visas face significant delays—up to 20 days—in leaving Russia, and may have trouble finding adequate accommodation. A foreigner in Russia without a valid visa may also be subject to arrest and detention. Travelers with an expired visa may have difficulty checking into a hotel, guesthouse, hostel, or other lodging establishment in Russia. There are no adequate public shelters or safe havens in Russia and neither the U.S. Embassy nor the Consulates General have means to accommodate such stranded travelers.

Visas for students and English teachers sometimes allow only one entry. In these cases, the sponsoring school is responsible for registering the visa and migration card and obtaining an exit visa. Obtaining an exit visa can take up to twenty days so students and teachers need to plan accordingly.

Migration Card: All foreigners entering Russia must fill out a migration card, depositing one part with immigration authorities at the port of entry and holding on to the other part for the duration of their stay. Upon exit, the migration card, which serves as a record of entry, exit, and registration, must be submitted to immigration authorities. The card is also necessary to register at hotels.

Migration cards, in theory, are available at all ports of entry from Russian immigration officials (Border Guards). The cards are generally distributed to passengers on incoming flights and left in literature racks at arrival points. Officials at borders and airports usually do not point out these cards to travelers; it is up to the individual travelers to find them and fill them out. From time to time, various ports of entry—even the major international airport in Moscow—run out of these cards. There is no mechanism to obtain such cards once a traveler has entered into Russia. The Russian government has not indicated what a traveler should do in such a case.

Replacing a lost or stolen migration card is extremely difficult. While authorities will not prevent foreigners from leaving the country if they cannot present their migration cards, travelers could experience problems when trying to reenter Russia at a future date. Although Russia and Belarus use the same migration card, travelers should be aware that each country maintains its own visa regime. U.S. citizens wishing to travel to both nations must apply for two separate visas, and obtain a new migration card upon entering each country.

Transit Through Russia: Travelers transiting through Russia en route to a third country should be aware that a Russian transit visa is normally required. Even travelers who are simply changing planes in Moscow or another international airport in Russia for an onward destination will be asked to present a transit visa issued by a Russian Embassy or Consulate. Russian authorities may refuse to allow a U.S.citizen who does not have a transit visa to continue with his or her travel, obliging the person to immediately return to the point of embarkation.

Visa Registration: Travelers who spend more than three days in the country must register their visa and migration card through their sponsor. However, travelers spending less than three days are advised to register their visas as well, since they may encounter problems finding lodging without proper registration. Travelers staying in a hotel must register their visa and migration card with their hotel within one day. The Embassy is aware of incidents in which U.S. citizens have been arrested and detained for not having properly registered visas.

Police have the authority to stop people and request their documents at any time without cause. Due to the possibility of random document checks by police, U.S. citizens should carry their original passports, registered migration cards, and visas with them at all times. Failure to provide proper documentation can result in detention and/or heavy fines. It is not necessary for travelers to have either entry or itinerary points in the Russian Federation printed on their visas.

Special Entry/Exit Requirements for International Cruise Ship Passengers: International cruise ship passengers are permitted to visit Russian ports without a visa for a period of up to 72 hours. Passengers who wish to go ashore during port calls may do so without a visa only if they are part of an organized tour, operated by a licensed Russian tour company approved by the Russian Immigration Service. According to Russian legislation, cruise passengers on organized tours must remain with their tour group and/or a representative of their tour company at all times while ashore. Tour operators affiliated with cruise companies as well as a variety of local tour operators in Russia are licensed to provide tour services to cruise passengers. Note: These special entry/exit requirements do not apply to river boat cruise passengers and travelers coming to Russia on package tours. These travelers will need to apply for visas prior to entry, and should follow the general guidelines provided for entry/exit requirements.

American Citizens Also Holding Russian Passports: The U.S. government recognizes that dual nationality exists, but does not encourage it as a matter of policy because of the problems it may cause. It expects American citizens to travel on U.S. passports. However, possessing and traveling on a Russian passport outside of the United States does not negate a traveler's American citizenship. American citizens who choose to enter Russia on a Russian passport do face several possible difficulties.

U.S. citizens who have at one time held Russian citizenship are often required to renounce Russian citizenship before applying for a Russian visa in their U.S. passport. Unless a Russian citizen has formally renounced his or her Russian citizenship through a Russian Embassy or Consulate, he or she always risks being considered a Russian citizen and not allowed to depart on any travel document except a Russian passport. This can also interfere with access to U.S. consular services in case of an emergency. This risk is greatly diminished if the traveler enters Russia on a U.S. passport and Russian visa.

Dual nationals should also be aware that Russian authorities will not permit departure from Russia using a U.S. passport if that person's Russian passport has expired. The traveler will be required to obtain a new Russian passport—a process that can take several months. Russian external passports extended by Russian Consulates or Embassies overseas are not considered valid for departure from Russia no matter how long the extension. Bearers of such passports will have to apply for a new passport inside the country. Males of conscript age (18—27 years old) who are deemed to be Russian citizens may experience problems if they have not satisfied their military service requirement.

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian if not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not legally required, may facilitate entry/departure.

American citizen minors, who also have Russian citizenship, and who are traveling on their Russian passports, must have a power-of-attorney, written in Russian, allowing them to travel if they are traveling alone or in the company of adults who are not their parents. Such minors will be prevented from leaving Russia if they cannot present such a power-of-attorney.

For additional information concerning entry and exit requirements, travelers may contact the Embassy of the Russian Federation, Consular Section, 2641 Tunlaw Rd. NW, Washington, DC 20007, tel. 202-939-8907. In addition, there are Russian Consulates in: Houston, 1333 West Loop South, Ste.1300, Houston, TX 77027, tel. 713-337-3300; New York, 9 East 91 St., New York, NY 10128, tel. 212-348-0926; San Francisco, 2790 Green St., San Francisco, CA 94123, tel. 415-928-6878 or 415-202-9800; Seattle, 2323 Westin Building, 2001 6th Ave., Seattle, WA 98121, tel. 206-728-1910.

Visit the Embassy of the Russian Federation web site at http://www.russianembassy.org for the most current visa information.

Safety and Security: Due to continued civil and political unrest throughout much of the Caucasus region, the Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Chechnya and all areas that border it: North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Stavropol, Karachayevo-Cherkessiya, and Kabardino-Balkariya. The U.S. Government's ability to assist Americans who travel to the northern Caucasus is extremely limited. Throughout the region, local criminal gangs have kidnapped foreigners, including Americans, for ransom. U.S. citizens have disappeared in Chechnya and remain missing. Close contacts with the local population do not guarantee safety. There have been several kidnappings of foreigners and Russians working for media and non-governmental organizations in the region. Due to the ongoing security concerns, U.S. Government travel to the area is very limited. American citizens residing in these areas should depart immediately as the safety of Americans and other foreigners cannot be effectively guaranteed.

Acts of terrorism, including bombings and hostage taking, have occurred in Russia over the last several years. Bombings have occurred at Russian government buildings, hotels, tourist sites, markets, entertainment venues, schools, residential complexes, and on public transportation including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights. Hostage-taking incidents have included a raid on a school that resulted in horrific losses of life of children, teachers, and parents.

There is no current indication that American institutions or citizens are targets, but there is a general risk of American citizens being victims of indiscriminate terrorist attacks. American citizens in Russia should be aware of their personal surroundings and follow good security practices. Americans are urged to remain vigilant and exercise good judgment and discretion when using any form of public transportation. When traveling, Americans may wish to provide a friend, family member, or coworker a copy of their itinerary. Americans should avoid large crowds and public gatherings that lack enhanced security measures. Travelers should also exercise a high degree of caution and remain alert when patronizing restaurants, casinos, nightclubs, bars, theaters, etc., especially during peak hours of business.

American citizens living in Russia or traveling there for even a few days are strongly urged to register with the U.S. Embassy or nearest Consulate General. Registration will allow the embassy to provide direct information on the security situation as necessary. Registration can be done on-line and can be done in advance of travel. For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's web site, where the current Worldwide Caution Travel Alert, Travel Warnings and other Travel Alerts can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.

Crime: The U.S. Embassy and Consulates General continue to receive reports of unprovoked, violent harassment against racial and ethnic minorities, including well-publicized cases in which members of minorities have been beaten and in several instances, murdered. Travelers are urged to exercise caution in areas frequented by “skinhead” groups and wherever large crowds have gathered. Americans most at risk are those of African, South Asian, or East Asian descent, or those who, because of their complexion, are perceived to be from the Caucasus region or the Middle East. These Americans are also at risk for harassment by police authorities.

Visitors to Russia need to be alert to their surroundings. In large cities, they need to take the same precautions against assault, robbery, or pickpockets that they would take in any large U.S. city:

  • keep billfolds in inner front pockets,
  • carry purses tucked securely under arms,
  • wear the shoulder strap of cameras or bags across the chest,
  • alk away from the curb and arry purses away from the treet.

The most vulnerable areas include underground walkways and the subway, overnight trains, train stations, airports, markets, tourist attractions, and restaurants.

Groups of children and adolescents have been aggressive in some cities, swarming victims, or assaulting and knocking them down. They frequently target persons who are perceived as vulnerable, especially elderly tourists or persons traveling alone. Some victims report that the attackers use knives. Persons carrying valuables in backpacks, in back pockets of pants and in coat pockets are especially vulnerable to pickpockets.

Foreigners who have been drinking alcohol are especially vulnerable to assault and robbery in or around nightclubs or bars, or on their way home. Some travelers have been drugged at bars, while others have taken strangers back to their lodgings, where they were drugged, robbed and/or assaulted.

In many cases involving stolen credit cards, thieves use them immediately. Victims of credit card or ATM card theft should report the theft to the credit card company or bank without delay.

Travelers are advised to be vigilant in bus and train stations and on public transport. Always watch for pickpockets in these areas. Bogus trolley inspectors, who aim to extort a bribe from individuals while checking for trolley tickets are also a threat. Travelers have generally found it safer to travel in groups organized by reputable tour agencies. Robberies may occur in taxis shared with strangers. Travelers should be aware that there are few registered taxi services in Russia and should be aware of the safety risks inherent in flagging down informal or “gypsy” cabs.

A common street scam in Russia is the “turkey drop” in which an individual “accidentally” drops the money on the ground in front of an intended victim, while a confederate either waits for the money to be picked up, or picks up the money himself and offers to split it with the pedestrian. The individual who dropped the currency returns, aggressively accusing both of stealing the money. This confrontation generally results in the pedestrian's money being stolen. Avoidance is the best defense. Do not get trapped into picking up the money, and walk quickly away from the scene. To avoid highway crime, travelers should try not to drive at night, especially when alone, or sleep in vehicles along the road. Travelers should not, under any circumstances, pick up hitchhikers: they not only pose a threat to physical safety, but also put the driver in danger of being arrested for unwittingly transporting narcotics.

Extortion and corruption are common in the business environment. Threats of violence and acts of violence are commonly resorted to in business disputes. Organized criminal groups and sometimes local police target foreign businesses in many cities and have been known to demand protection money. Many Western firms hire security services that have improved their overall security, although this is no guarantee. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable. U.S. citizens are encouraged to report all extortion attempts to the Russian authorities and to inform consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or nearest Consulate General.

Travelers should be aware that certain activities that would be normal business activities in the United States and other countries are either illegal under the Russian legal code or are considered suspect by the FSB (Federal Security Service). U.S. citizens should be particularly aware of potential risks involved in any commercial activity with the Russian military-industrial complex, including research institutes, design bureaus, production facilities or other high technology, government-related institutions. Any misunderstanding or dispute in such transactions can attract the involvement of the security services and lead to investigation or prosecution for espionage. Rules governing the treatment of information remain poorly defined.

It is not uncommon for foreigners in general to become victims of harassment, mistreatment and extortion by law enforcement and other officials. Police do not need to show probable cause in order to stop, question or detain individuals. If stopped, travelers should try to obtain, if safe to do so, the officer's, badge number, and patrol car number, and note where the stop happened, as this information assists local officials in identifying the perpetrators. Authorities are concerned about these incidents and have cooperated in investigating such cases. Travelers should report crimes to the U.S. Embassy or the nearest Consulate General.

Internet Dating Schemes: The U.S. Embassy receives reports almost every day of fraud committed against U.S. citizens by Internet correspondents professing love and romantic interest. Typically, the correspondent asks the U.S. citizen to send money or credit card information for living expenses, travel expenses, or “visa costs.” The anonymity of the Internet means that the U.S. citizen cannot be sure of the real name, age, marital status, nationality, or gender of the correspondent. The U.S. Embassy has received many reports of citizens los-ng thousands of dollars through such scams. American citizens are advised never to send money to anyone they have not met in person.

In many countries around the world including Russia, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. In Russia, CD and DVD piracy is an especially serious problem. Transactions involving such products are illegal under Russian law, and the Russian government has markedly increased its enforcement activities against intellectual property rights infringements. In addition, bringing counterfeit and pirated products back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearst U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Medical care in most localities is below Western standards; shortages of medical supplies, differing practice standards and the lack of comprehensive primary care all combine to make the medical system difficult to negotiate as well as suspect. The few facilities in Moscow and St. Petersburg that approach acceptable standards do not necessarily accept all cases (i.e., they may not be licensed to treat trauma, infectious disease or maternity cases). Access to these facilities usually requires cash or credit card payment at Western rates at the time of service.

Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems may be at particular risk. Elective surgeries requiring blood transfusions and non-ssential blood transfusions are not recommended, due to uncertainties surrounding the local blood supply. Most hospitals and clinics in major urban areas have adopted the use of disposable IV supplies, syringes and needles as standard practice; however, travelers to remote areas might consider bringing a supply of sterile, disposable syringes and corresponding IV supplies for eventualities. Travelers should refrain from visiting tattoo parlors or piercing services due to the risk of infection.

Outbreaks of diphtheria and Hepatitis A have been reported throughout the country, even in large cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend up-to-date tetanus and diphtheria immunizations before traveling to Russia and neighboring countries. Typhoid can be a concern for those who plan to travel extensively in the region. Rarely, cases of cholera have also been reported throughout the area. Drinking bottled water can reduce the risk of exposure to infectious and noxious agents. Tap water in Russia, outside of Moscow, is generally considered unsafe to drink. Travelers are strongly urged to use bottled water for drinking and food preparation. Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Russia. For further information, please consult the CDC's Travel Notice on TB at http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel.

Rates of HIV infection have risen markedly in recent years. While most prevalent among intravenous drug users, prostitutes, and their clients, the HIV/AIDS rate in the general population is increasing. Reported cases of syphilis are much higher than in the United States, and some sources suggest that gonorrhea and chlamydia are also more prevalent than in Western Europe or the United States. Travelers should be aware of the related health and legal risks.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877FYI-TRIP (1-877394-8747) or via the CDC's website at http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) web site at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith/en.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Medicare does not provide benefits for medical care overseas. Travelers should consider obtaining traveler's insurance prior to going abroad.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Russia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance. In some areas of Russia roads are practically non-existent. Persons planning to drive in Russia should adhere to all local driving regulations; these are strictly enforced and violators are subject to severe legal penalties. Drivers should be aware that Russia practices a zero tolerance policy with regard to alcohol consumption prior to driving. The maximum punishment is a two-year suspension of a driver's license. An intoxicated driver may also be detained until they are deemed to be sober.

Avoid excessive speed and, if at all possible, do not drive at night, particularly outside of major cities. In rural areas, it is not uncommon to find livestock crossing roadways at any given time. Construction sites or stranded vehicles are often unmarked by flares or other warning signals. Sometimes cars have only one headlight with many cars lacking brake lights. Bicy-cles seldom have lights or reflectors. Due to these road conditions, be pre-pared for sudden stops at any time. Learn about your route from an auto club, guidebook or government tourist office. Some routes have heavy truck and bus traffic, while others have poor or nonexistent shoulders; many are one-way or do not permit left-hand turns. Also, some of the newer roads have very few restaurants, motels, gas stations or auto repair shops along their routes. For your safety, have your vehicle serviced and in optimum condition before you travel. It is wise to bring an extra fan belt, fuses and other spare parts.

A valid U.S. driver's license with a notarized Russian translation or a valid Russian license is necessary to drive a vehicle in Russia. Tourists may use international driver's licenses issued by the American Automobile Association to drive in Russia. Foreigners in Russia on a business visa or with a permanent residence status in Russia are required by law to have a Russian driver's license. In order to obtain this license one has to take the appropriate exams in Russian. An American driver's license cannot be exchanged for a Russian license. Travelers without a valid license are often subject to prolonged stops by police and fines.

Drivers must carry third party liability insurance under a policy valid in Russia. U.S. automobile liability insurance is not valid in Russia nor are most collision and comprehensive coverage policies issued by U.S. companies. A good rule of thumb is to buy coverage equivalent to that which you carry in the United States.

Roadside checkpoints are commonplace. These checkpoints are ostensibly in place to detect narcotics, alien smuggling, and firearms violations. However, they are generally viewed as a means for traffic police to extract cash “fines.”

For specific information concerning Russian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please refer to the Russia national tourist organization at www.russia-travel.com.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Russia's Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Russia's air carrier operations. For more information travelers may visit the FAA's web site at http://www.faa.gov.

Travelers should be aware that local air carriers in remote regions may not meet internationally accepted customer service standards. Some local airlines do not have advance reservation systems but sell tickets for cash at the airport. Flights often are canceled if more than 30% of the seats remain unsold. Travelers should have their passports with them at all times.

Teaching In Russia: Many Americans come to Russia to teach English, and some have complained about schools' failure to facilitate proper visas and pay agreed salaries. Prospective teachers should ensure that schools are prepared to comply with Russian laws governing the employment and documentation of foreigners, including proper visa support, registration and legal salary payments.

Prospective teachers should ask for references from other foreigners who have taught at the school being considered and should consider insisting upon written contracts stipulating the provisions of their employment, just as they would in the United States. Warning signs include instructions to arrive in Russia on a tourist visa and “change status” later, payment under the table (in cash with no documentation or tax withholding), and requirements that the school retain a passport for the length of the employment. (Upon arrival, a legal employee must surrender his or her passport for registration by the employer but this process should take less then three weeks.)

Currency: The Russian ruble is the only legal tender currency. It is illegal to pay for goods and services in U.S. dollars except at authorized retail establishments. Worn U.S. bills or bills marked in any way are often not accepted at banks and exchange offices.

Travelers need no longer bring large amounts of hard currency unless they expect to travel in rural areas. ATMs are plentiful in major cities. Travelers should follow all normal precautions about using ATMs. In particular, they should avoid “standalone-alone” machines and opt for machines at banks or higher-class hotels and stores. Credit card acceptance, while not universal, is rapidly spreading in Moscow and to a lesser extent in other large cities. Travelers should check in advance whether a specific store, restaurant, or hotel accepts credit cards. Outside of major cities, commercial enterprises still operate largely on a cash basis and travelers should plan accordingly.

Customs Regulations: There have been increasing reports of rigorous searches of baggage and stricter enforcement of customs regulations against the exportation of items of “cultural value.” Visitors to Russia have been arrested for attempting to leave the country with antique items which they believed were legally purchased from licensed vendors. Travelers should obtain receipts for all high-value items (including caviar) purchased in Russia. Any article that could appear old or as having cultural value to the Customs Service, including artwork, icons, samovars, rugs, military medals and antiques, must have a certificate indicating that it has no historical or cultural value. Certificates will not be granted for the export of articles that are more than 100 years old, irrespective of the value. These certificates may be obtained from the Russian Ministry of Culture. For further information, Russian speakers may call the Airport Sheremetyevo-2 Customs Information Service in Moscow at (7) (495) 578-2125/578-2120. In St. Petersburg, the Ministry of Culture may be reached at 311-3496.

Russia also has very strict rules on the importation of large quantities of medication: certain prescription and over-the-counter drugs common in the United States are prohibited in Russia, and large quantities of any medicine will receive scrutiny. It is advisable to contact a Russian Embassy or Consulate for specific information regarding this or other customs regulations.

The importation and use of Global Positioning Systems (GPSs) and other radio electronic devices are sometimes subject to special rules and regulations in Russia. The Russian Customs Service has most recently stated that terminal GPSs can be imported upon their simple declaration on arrival. A special customs permit should be obtained in the case of importation of a GPS to be used as a peripheral device to a separate computer and/or antenna to increase its capability.

In general, mapping and natural resource data collection activities associated with normal commercial and scientific collaboration may result in seizure of the associated equipment and/or arrest. The penalty for using a GPS device in a manner which is determined to compromise Russian national security can be a prison term of ten to twenty years.

Visitors may bring regular cellular telephones to Russia without restriction. Satellite telephones require advance approval from the Russian authorities. The State Customs Committee has stated that there are no restrictions on bringing laptop computers into the country for personal use. The software, however, can be inspected upon departure. Hardware and software found to contain sensitive or encrypted data may be subject to confiscation.

Travelers should address specific questions to the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation, email: [email protected], web site: http://www.customs.ru/en.

Great care should be taken to safeguard against the loss of airline tickets for Russian carriers. Generally, a central office must authorize the replacement of lost airline tickets, which can take 24 hours or more. In some cases, Americans who have lost their tickets just prior to their flights on local airlines have been forced to buy new full-fare tickets or miss the flight because replacement tickets were not authorized in time.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Russian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Russia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Registration and Embassy Locations: Americans living or traveling in Russia are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration web site so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within Russia. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

The U.S. Embassy's consular section is located at Novinskiy Bulvar 21, Moscow, metro station Barrikadnaya. The Embassy's switchboard is tel. (7) (495) 728-5000, and the American Citizen Services Unit at tel. (7) (495) 728-5577. In the event of an after-hours emergency, please contact the main switchboard. The American Citizens Services Unit may also be contacted by fax at (7) (495) 728-5084, by e-mail at [email protected] govand through the Embassy web site at http://moscow.usembassy.gov.

U.S. Consulates General are located in:

St. Petersburg
15 Ulitsa Furshtadtskaya,
St. Petersburg 191028
Tel: (7) (812) 331-2600
Fax: (7) (812) 331-2646
Email: [email protected]
Web site:
http://stpetersburg.usconsulate.gov

Vladivostok
32 Ulitsa Pushkinskaya,
Vladivostok 690001
Tel: (7) (4232) 30-00-70
Fax: (7) (4232) 30-00-91
After-hours emergencies:
(7) (4232) 71 00 67
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:
http://vladivostok.usconsulate.gov

Yekaterinburg
Ulitsa Gogolya 15a, 4th floor;
Yekaterinburg 620151
Tel: (7) (343)379-3001
Fax: (7) (343) 379-4515
After-hours emergencies:
(7) 8 902 84 16653
Email: [email protected]
Web site:
http://yekaterinburg.usconsulate.gov

International Adoption

April 2006

The information in this section has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services.

For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel. Prospective adoptive parents are advised to fully research any adoption agency or facilitator they plan to use for adoption services.

Please Note: Please plan to stay a minimum of three business days in Moscow to obtain documents and complete the medical exams necessary for the immigrant visa interview. Parents should calculate a five-day “cushion time” in the validity dates they request when applying for a Russian visa. The U.S. Embassy recommends that flight arrangements for departing Russia not be finalized until the immigrant visa is issued.

Patterns of Immigration: Please review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Adoption Authority: The Russian government office responsible for intercountry adoptions is the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation.

Ministry of Education and Science
#11 Tverskaya Street
Moscow, Russia 125993 GSP 3
Tel: 011-7-095-629-6610

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents: Married couples may adopt. Single persons may adopt but there must be at least a 16-year age difference between the prospective parent and the prospective adoptive child. Russia also has medical requirements for adoptive parents. Persons considering adoption in Russia should consult their adoption agency about medical conditions that may disqualify them. These include TB, active and chronic; illness of internal organs and nervous system; dysfunction of the limbs; infectious diseases; drug and alcohol addictions; psychiatric disorders; and, any disability which prevents the person from working.

Residency Requirements: There are no residency requirements for prospective adoptive parents. However, prospective adoptive parents will have to travel to Russia twice during the adoption process.

Time Frame: The average time for the adoption process is 6-12 months from the time the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) approves the I-600A petition to the date of the immigrant visa interview.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: Adoptive parents who work through an adoption agency must use an agency that the Russian Government has accredited to provide adoption services. The U.S. Embassy discourages intercountry adoptions conducted independently without the assistance of an accredited agency. A list of accredited adoption agencies is available at the adoptions page of the U.S. Embassy's Web site at http://moscow.usembassy.gov and on the Web site for the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Washington, D.C. at http://www.russianembassy.org.

Adoption Fees: U.S. citizens who have adopted from Russia report an average total cost of approximately US$20,000—$30,000 (including travel, lodging and fees).

Adoption Procedures: The Russian government maintains a database of children without parental care. Russian law requires that a child be registered first on a local databank for one month and a regional data bank for a month plus six months on the federal databank. Therefore, the total amount of time before a child is released for international adoption is usually eight months.

With the assistance of an adoption agency accredited by the Russian Government, prospective adoptive parents first apply to a regional Ministry of Education office for permission to adopt in that region. The agency obtains the referral without the presence of the parents.

The Ministry of Education, upon approving the application, directs the prospective parents to an orphanage. Adoptive parents must travel to Russia to meet prospective adoptive children. If the prospective adoptive parents does not bond with that child they can ask for another referral. The prospective adoptive parents receive whatever information the orphanage has about the orphan's medical condition and his/her biological parents. Sometimes there is no information available. The prospective adoptive parent can review the medical information on the orphan at the orphanage at the time of the first meeting.

After prospective parents identify the child, they should fill out an adoption application (a court document), which can be obtained at the Russian court where the adoption hearings will take place. Prospective adoptive parents may return to the United States after applying for a court date. However, the prospective adoptive child must remain in Russia during this time.Prospective adoptive parents may stay in country but the wait for the court date can be 4–6 weeks and often the prospective adoptive parents is not allowed to spend time with the orphan prior to the court decision. It is expensive to wait in country and there can be problems with visa validity so it is advised that the prospective adoptive parents return to the U.S. and make a second trip once the court date is established.

For their court date, prospective adoptive parents will be required to produce three additional statements on the issues below. The prospective parents must sign these statements in front of a Russian notary:

  • Prospective adoptive parents have been informed about the health conditions of the child and they accept them;
  • They will register their adopted child with the MFA; and
  • They will provide the Ministry of Education with periodic, required post-placement reports on time.

Post-placement reports are periodic reports on the welfare of the adopted orphan in his American family.The first post-placement report is due six months after the court decision went into effect; the second report is due six months after the first one but not later than 12 months after the court decision went into effect. The third post-placement report is due at 24 months, and the fourth, at 36 months. After the court hearing, the new parents will obtain the adoption certificate and a new birth certificate (showing the child's new name, and the adoptive parents as the parents) from the civil registration office (ZAGS), after which they can obtain the Russian passport for the child from the visa and registration department (OVIR).

Once the new birth certificate and Russian passport have been issued, parents then can contact the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to make an appointment to apply for the child's immigrant visa. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Embassy of the Russian Federation
2650 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007
Tel: 202-298-5700
Fax: 202-298-5735
http://www.russianembassy.org

The Russian Federation also has consulates in San Francisco, New York, and Seattle.

U.S. Immigration Requirements: Prospective adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to consult USCIS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective

Adoptive Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

U.S. Embassy of Russia
#21 Novinsky Blvd.,
Moscow, Russia 123242
Tel: 728-5000 switchboard
728-5567 (orphan visas)
Fax: 728-5247 (orphans only)
Website: http://moscow.usembassy.gov

The United States also has Consulates General in the cities of St. Petersburg, Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg. Please note that these are small offices that are able to provide only emergency services to U.S. citizens. Moreover, they are not directly involved in the U.S. immigrant visa process. All questions regarding the adoption or immigrant visa processes in Russia should be directed to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

Additional Information: General questions regarding intercountry adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-407-4747.

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RUSSIA

Russian Federation

Major Cities:
Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhniy Novgorod, Novosibirsk

Other Cities:
Samara, Vladivostok, Volgograd, Yekaterinburg

EDITOR'S NOTE

This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report 2000 for Russia. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at http://travel.state.gov/ for the most recent information available on travel to this country.

INTRODUCTION

Russia sprawls across nearly one-sixth of the Earth's land mass (about 17 million square kilometers). It embraces a varied topography and has every type of climate except tropical.

The Ural Mountains mark the traditional division between European and Asiatic Russia. To the west, Russian territory stretches over a broad plain, broken only by occasional low hills. To the east are the vast Siberian lowlands and the deserts of central Asia. Beyond are the barren Siberian highlands and the mountain ranges of the Russian Far East. Great pine forests cover half the country; south of these are the steppes (prairies), where the soil is rich and dark. A small subtropical zone lies south of the steppes, along the shores of the Black and Caspian Seas.

Climate is varied. Winters are long and cold and summers brief. In parts of the eastern Siberian tundra, temperatures of-68°C (-90°F) have been recorded.

The Russian Federation is a multi-ethnic state that comprises more than 100 ethnic groups. The majority of the population is Eastern Slavic, but it is made up of peoples belonging to less numerous ethnic groups, including Eskimos. Although most groups are distinguished by their own language and culture, Russian language and traditions are well established, with Russian the common language in government and education.

Religion, long suppressed under the Soviet regime, now flourishes, and examples of all major and many less widely practiced religions can be found. Once an underdeveloped, peasant society, Russia made considerable economic progress under Communist rule, mainly by the force of a centralized command economy and basic industrialization. Soviet communism, already stagnant by the 1980s and ill-equipped to meet the demands of Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost and perestroika, collapsed by 1991, forcing Russia into a difficult transition toward a democratic state and market-based economy.

The Russian Federation continues to seek to redefine its relationships with its new independent neighbors, as well as its role in the world.

MAJOR CITIES

Moscow

Moscow's official population is approximately 9 million. It is the center of government and plays an important role in the country's political, economical, cultural, scientific, and military activity. Moscow is first mentioned in history in 1147 A.D. as Prince Yuriy Dolgorukiy's hunting camp. Due to its strategic position on a north-south trade route from Rostov to Ryazan, Moscow was the center of trade and government in what eventually became the Russian Empire.

As the Russian Empire expanded, so grew Moscow's influence and importance, until the early 18th century when Peter the Great moved the nation's capital to St. Petersburg. As Russia's second city, Moscow retained its primacy only in trade, until the leaders of Soviet Russia transferred the capital back to Moscow early in 1918. Subsequently, Moscow more than quadrupled in population and territory (878 square kilometers). In the past 20 years, the city's difficulties in housing and in supplying its large and growing population have led to calls for limits on growth and crack-downs on the huge "unregistered" population.

After a decade-long lapse, the U.S. entered into diplomatic relations with the U.S.S.R. in 1933. In 1991, the U.S.S.R. was formally dissolved. The Russian Federation emerged as the largest of the new independent states of the former Soviet Union. Russia has diplomatic relations with most of the world's countries, and more than 100 of these maintain missions in Moscow. News correspondents, business representatives, and students from throughout the world live in the Russian capital. There is a heavy, year-round flow of foreign tourists and official delegations. Moscow's resident American community numbers about 5,000 (including dependents), consisting of Embassy personnel, business representatives, correspondents, clergy, exchange students, and professors.

American tourists number about 100-200,000 annually. Moscow contains many attractions of interest for visitors. Those open to the public include the Kremlin; monasteries and churches in and around Moscow, as well as museums, parks, permanent exhibition centers, and a variety of musical, dramatic, and dance attractions. Many small towns of interest lie within a day's drive of Moscow, including the old monastery town of Sergiyev Posad (formerly Zagorsk), Yasnaya Polyana, Tolstoy's home, and the Borodino battlefield, site of the greatest battle of Napoleon's 1812 invasion of Russia.

Moscow offers a rich cultural environment, and warrants the enormous local pride in its treasures and traditions. Myriad museums are devoted to the various arts, literature, music, politics, history, and sciences. Hundreds of small churches and large cathedrals throughout the city are open to visitors. In addition to the famous Bolshoi Theater, with its large repertoire of Russian and internationally famous opera and ballet, other theaters and concert halls feature popular and classical plays, concerts, recitals, and all of the performing arts. Children's theater, a puppet theater, a planetarium, and other performances geared especially to younger people are also available. The Russian circuses with their rich history are overwhelmingly popular with children and adults alike.

On the negative side, life in Moscow can be difficult and stressful. Air pollution, severe winter conditions, language barriers, chaotic rush hour traffic, and long hours at work take their toll on even the most well-adjusted residents. Street crime is still a problem and African and Asian Americans have been victims of racially motivated attacks.

Moscow is 3 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, and 8 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Utilities

Electric clocks and other electrical items with motors designed for 60 cycles may not work correctly; 220v 50hz items can be purchased locally, if needed.

Food

For the Western consumer, the availability of food and household products is improving. Most food and household products used by a typical American family can now be purchased.

When American brands are not available locally, a European equivalent can usually be purchased. Vendors other than Russian stores and markets include Western outlets such as Stockmann.

Some visitors do a lot of shopping at local "rynoks" These are open-air farmers' markets located in different parts of the city, typically near metro stations. Rynoks carry a large selection of fresh bread and seasonal as well as imported fresh produce. Meat is also available for purchase, but buying fresh, unrefrigerated meat is risky. Rynoks often have stalls that stock non-food items, such as cleaning products, soft drinks and liquor, health care products, pet food and paper goods at prices that are cheaper than in the other stores. In many instances the quality of the products tends to be lower. Larger rynoks also sell flowers, plants, clothing items, and leather goods. Be aware, however, that shopping in rynoks can pose challenges, including the need to maneuver through crowded spaces and language problems for non-Russian speakers. Bargaining is an accepted and common practice at rynoks but not at conventional stores and supermarkets, where prices are marked.

Clothing

Temperatures during the year can range from-40° to +95 °F. Moscow winters can be very cold, especially if one is used to winter temperatures above freezing. It is necessary to be prepared for the harsh winter climate with plenty of warm clothing and outerwear. Men and women often wait until they arrive to buy a fur hat, and many women also purchase fur coats and boots locally. Other locally available winter gear may not meet American standards and/or style. Summers are short and often cool. Sweaters and a coat are necessary no matter what time of year you arrive.

The best type of clothing to have in Moscow is washable since clothing soils easily. Sturdy, waterproof clothing and footwear with good treads is essential. Sidewalks can be slick in winter and muddy and wet during the rest of the year. One should consider bringing enough clothing to last until replacements can be ordered through catalogs or while on leave outside of Russia.

Slippers or clogs are useful around the house in winter and spring as mud, ice, salt, and dirt can be tracked in off the streets and playgrounds. Russians usually take off their shoes when entering a home (and children are expected to), so it is appropriate to have a couple of extra pairs of slippers for guests who do not feel comfortable coming into your home with their shoes on. Slippers can be purchased locally.

Sports equipment and sportswear should be brought to Moscow when possible. There are various recreational activities at hand, including swimming, soccer, baseball, volleyball, cycling, rollerblading, etc. Traditional Russian wooden children's sleds are available for purchase in the city, but may be hard to find. Western winter sports equipment can be found around town but the prices tend to be high. Cross-country skiing, ice-skating and sledding are all common winter sports. The outdoor tennis court at Rosinka is also turned into a skating rink during the winter.

Men: Both heavy and light topcoats are desirable for spring and fall. Men wear down parkas and heavy topcoats appropriate for evening over their suits in the winter. Lined raincoats are not warm enough in the dead of winter although many people wear them in the spring and fall.

Warm gloves, warm and waterproof boots, and a warm hat are all essential. Building interiors are often too hot by American standards in winter, but in fall and spring, when there is no central heating, indoors can be uncomfortably cool. Light sweaters or vests that can be worn under suit jackets are convenient. Bring appropriate cold-weather clothes for outdoor sports. Lighter wool suits are desirable for summer wear.

Women: In general, women in Moscow wear the same style clothing as worn in the U.S. Moderately dressy suits with nice blouses and dresses are worn most often for receptions, dinners, and evenings out.

Women need a light coat, raincoat, and heavy coat. These could include anything from a mid-calf washable down coat with a hood, to fur coats, and/or a raincoat with a zip-out liner. Warm, waterproof, thick-soled boots, rainboots, warm gloves or mittens, and thermal or silk long underwear are useful. It is quite common (and completely acceptable by Russian standards) to wear sturdy boots to a dinner or reception, carrying other "inside" shoes and changing upon arrival. Sportswear, a bathing suit, and a large supply of stockings, tights, and underwear are important to bring, although they may all be obtained locally at prices higher than in the U.S.

Children: Children can never have enough hats and scarves, sets of gloves and mittens, rain boots and rain gear, as well as snowsuits, pants and boots. Locally purchased clothing may not meet American standards and/or styles and in many cases is more expensive than in the U.S.

Babies need warm winter clothing. Scarves, hats, mittens, and wool clothing for infants are available locally, but the prices are much higher than one would pay in the U.S.

Supplies and Services

European toiletries, paper goods, household cleaners, film, and basic children's toys and games are available in local shops. Be aware that prices are often much higher than in the U.S.

CDs are available for sale in kiosks around town and in music stores. There is even a CD rynok. There are numerous computer stores and a computer rynok in Moscow, but it could be more affordable to buy dual-voltage equipment, computer games and supplies in the U.S. Computer paper, ribbon cartridges and other computer supplies are available at computer stores, kiosks and large bookstores. Be advised that the locally available A4 size paper may not fit all printers.

E-mail and Internet surfing helps keep visitors in touch with the U.S. There are several providers from which to choose. Plan to spend about twice as much for an internet connection in Moscow as you might in the U.S.

A multisystem television set and multisystem VCR receiving NTSC, PAL, and SECAM (Russian) signals are useful in Moscow. Cable service is available.

Religious Activities

Most major religions are now represented in Moscow although services in English are not always available.

Education

The Anglo-American School (AAS) is supported by the U.S., British and Canadian embassies. The school accepts children from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. It is located at the Pokrovsky Hills (Hines) complex; children living in Pokrovsky Hills can walk to school. The school usually opens during the third or fourth week in August. It is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Most schools in Moscow are unable to accept children with special needs. If your child has an individual educational program (IEP), or needs assistance outside the classroom, please discuss these requirements with school officials as far in advance as possible.

Other Educational Opportunities

Piano rentals, music lessons, horseback riding, fencing, gymnastics, ballet classes, and private tutors for Russian and other languages are reasonably priced. The International Women's Club and American Women's Club both offer a variety of activities, such as yoga, aerobics, and Russian conversation groups, depending upon interest and availability of instruction.

Sports

Spectator sports include hockey, football (soccer), and basketball. A large number of international tournaments and championships are held, with increased participation by U.S. teams. Some people have participated in such diverse outdoor sports as skydiving, whitewater rafting, and wild game hunting. Your marksmanship can be tested at Moscow's shooting club; firearms, ammunition, and lessons are available at the site. There is a country club in Moscow that has a golf course. Unfortunately, this sport here is extremely expensive and the golf course is a long drive from town. There is a spring softball and baseball league for children.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

Moscow contains a broad spectrum of museums, from pre-Revolutionary art treasures to science and history. Tours to the seat of the Russian Government, the Kremlin, Lenin's Tomb, and the picturesque, colorful GUM Department store on Red Square, and the homes of such revered Russians as Tolstoy, Gorky, and Chekhov may all be arranged with the assistance of local travel bureaus. Walking tours to the many architectural landmarks in Moscow are a good way to get a feel for the city. Moscow's underground metro system is justly famous. Many stations are elaborately decorated. Izmailovsky Park has become the main attraction for souvenir shopping in a frenzied bazaar atmosphere. Every weekend, local artists and craftsmen gather there to sell their wares to throngs of visitors.

In and around Moscow, sightseers will find historic palaces and museums, surrounded by gardens and parks. You can reach St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, Kiev, and many other interesting cities by overnight sleeper train. Other cities such as Sochi, Tbilisi, and Tashkent are only a few hours away by air.

Entertainment

The principal hotels and restaurants offer American, European, Russian, and ethnic cuisine from the Commonwealth of Independent States. The quality of food and service is generally acceptable, and new restaurants seem to be opening daily. English/Russian menus are available at many. On the whole, dining out in Moscow is more expensive than in equivalent restaurants in the U.S. Western chains such as McDonald's, TGI Fridays, Sbarro's, KFC, and Pizza Hut continue to grow. There are several English-language publications for the foreign community that regularly print restaurant reviews and reliable guides to the better restaurants.

For the theatergoer, Moscow offers a wide range of entertainment at prices lower than in the U.S. The Bolshoi Theater offers world-famous ballet and opera programs during all but the summer months. For Russian speakers, the city also has several extraordinarily good dramatic theaters. One of the best is the Moscow Art Theater, where plays by classic Russian playwrights such as Chekhov are often performed. The city's children's and puppet theaters, including the world-famous Obraztsov Puppet Theater, are prime attractions for families. Both Moscow Circuses are highly recommended for children and adults alike. For classical music lovers, the Moscow Conservatory has a full annual schedule of concerts and recitals featuring Russia's best musical performers. The city also has an active jazz scene. Rock music has gained in popularity in recent years, and concerts are held quite frequently around the city. Tickets to most events are inexpensive and can be bought in advance at the theater or stadium box office, at special kiosks scattered about the city, or obtained by local tour companies. Several movie theaters show first-run, Western-made movies in English or dubbed in Russian.

The American Women's Organization offers children's holiday parties.

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg, with a population of nearly 5 million, is the second largest city in Russia. Peter the Great founded St. Petersburg in 1703 and transferred the capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg in 1712 to provide Russia with a "Window on the West." The city was renamed Petrograd at the outset of World War I, and in 1918 the capital was moved back to Moscow. On January 26, 1924, 5 days after Lenin's death, the city's name was changed to Leningrad. During WWII, the city suffered historic tragedy as over 480,000 people starved to death in the 900-day siege. In 1991, as a result of a citywide referendum, the city resumed its historical name of St. Petersburg.

St. Petersburg is slightly warmer than Moscow, but it is damper since winter winds blow off the Gulf of Finland. Snow may fall as early as October, and sunlight dwindles to only a few hours a day in the months of January and February. March is generally the rainiest month of the year. June brings the beautiful "White Nights" when the sun barely dips below the horizon. Summer weather can be quite varied, with temperatures fluctuating between the 50s and 80s.

Although the city declined in political importance with the move of the capital back to Moscow, St. Petersburg retained importance as a military-industrial and cultural center. With a highly skilled labor force and a long history of industry and commerce, St. Petersburg is a major producer of electric and electronic equipment, machine tools, nuclear reactor equipment, precision instruments, TV equipment, ships, heavy machinery, tractors, chemicals, and other sophisticated products, as well as consumer goods. It has one of the country's largest dry-cargo ports. It remains a major center for publication, education, and scientific research.

Since August 1991, St. Petersburg has been a reform-minded city. Its large military-industrial center, however, has been slow to adapt to changing conditions. U.S. investment in St. Petersburg has increased significantly in recent years with the opening of several major production facilities. The St. Petersburg consular district taken as a whole accounts for approximately 50% of all U.S. investment in Russia. Nevertheless, crime has increased as a result of the uncertain political and economic situations.

Both local and foreign donations have been focused at preserving and restoring the older parts of the city and outlying imperial residences, which were heavily damaged during World War II.

The older parts of St. Petersburg continue to suffer from the lack of investment over the past 8 decades.

Utilities

Electrical service in St. Petersburg (including off-compound apartments) is 220v, 50 hz. Most electrical outlets accept two round prongs; two general types are in use. Most apartments have both "German" and the smaller European-sized outlets.

Food

The growing season in St. Petersburg is short. Seasonal produce appears in the local markets for shorter periods than in Moscow. In winter, local greenhouses provide a small supply of produce; fresh fruits and vegetables are also brought from the southern parts of Russia and Europe at inflated prices. Finnish supermarkets offer a selection of fruits and vegetables year-round at prices considerably higher than those in the Washington, D.C. area.

The selection of meats available in local Western-style grocery stores is more limited than in the U.S., though acceptable chicken and pork is usually available. Beef tends to be significantly inferior to that found in the U.S.

Clothing

Winter temperatures in St. Petersburg can fall to-40 °E The climate is damper than in Moscow. All visitors should pack appropriate clothing. Warm parkas, boots, long underwear, face masks, hats, etc., are invaluable during the winter months. Warm clothing for children and infants is essential.

Rain, melting snow, and dirty streets combine to make walking in St. Petersburg messy during fall and spring. Waterproof, insulated footwear or galoshes are a must. Dark-colored clothes (especially slacks and jeans) are more practical than white or light-colored clothes. Winter clothing and rainwear of all sizes are available in St. Petersburg, but prices are high.

Days are warm in summer, but by August, nights are cool. Except in the middle of summer, you will find many opportunities to wear sweaters. Summer is the time of mosquitoes, so bring plenty of insect repellent. Mosquito nets are also advisable to make sleeping more comfortable for small children.

Supplies and Services

Although most everyday items can be found in St. Petersburg, prices on certain items tend to be higher than in the U.S. Feminine hygiene products, Western name brand kitchen and cleaning supplies, cosmetics, and name brand drugs are generally more expensive than in the U.S. A common problem when buying cleaning, kitchen, and automobile supplies is having to contend with usage instructions in a language other than Russian or English.

Local drycleaning facilities are improving, but consistently acceptable service remains elusive. Reliable drycleaning is available in major hotels and through a few private services, although rates are much higher than in the U.S. Spot remover and cold-water detergents are indispensable. Avoid clothing that needs frequent cleaning.

Russian beauticians and barber-shops are satisfactory, and prices are reasonable. Appointments are recommended.

Domestic Help

Domestic help is readily available at affordable rates. You may hire Russian citizens as housekeepers or nannies for your children, since permanent day care is not always available.

Religious Activities

Within or near St. Petersburg are many active Russian Orthodox churches, several Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Baptist churches, a Jewish synagogue, several branches of the Mormon church, and various other religious organizations. There are also missionaries from many religious denominations.

Most religious services take place in Russian. Strictly foreign congregations hold services in their native languages, including English, French, and German.

Education

The Anglo-American School of St. Petersburg, a branch of the Anglo-American School of Moscow, serves students in kindergarten through grade 12. The strong American-based curriculum is enriched with instruction in local culture and history through visits to and instruction from the city's numerous museums. Kindergarten students must be 5 years old by December 31 of the year of entrance. The school is located in a former Russian kindergarten building on Petrograd Island and is able to accommodate approximately 95 students. For the 1999/2000 academic school year, approximately 90 students were enrolled representing 18 nationalities.

Some parents have used Russian day care or kindergarten facilities. They have proven satisfactory for those few parents and children who are willing to cope with learning a new language, unfamiliar food, and rather strict discipline. During the initial months, the adjustment can be difficult. Russian facilities operate on a three-quarter or full-day basis. As they are set up for working parents, the facilities are often crowded, and significant delays can be expected in finding and getting access to a suitable facility.

Special Educational Opportunities

Those individuals with even average language skills may take advantage of public classes and lessons in all areas of interest where other students and participants are Russian-speaking nationals.

Sports

Depending on the season, you may make your own arrangements to attend football (soccer), ice hockey, figure skating, track-and-field, boxing, basketball, auto, bicycle and motorcycle racing, and swimming events. In most cases, prices are inexpensive. Soccer and ice hockey are especially popular; teams in both sports are excellent.

Swimming is not recommended in the Gulf of Finland because of the high level of organic and other pollutants. However, indoor swimming pools are available, with some restrictions. If you wish to use a public pool, you must have written permission from a Russian doctor attesting to your state of health. Fishing is popular in the Neva and the Gulf, but eating fish from the Neva is not recommended. Excursion motorboats, including hydro-foils, also ply the river and canals for sightseeing. There are good bicycle paths in some city parks and along the Gulf.

Winter sports include cross-country skiing and ice-skating. Outdoor rinks throughout the city are open to staff members. Cross country skiing is possible at city parks outside the city center and in the Repino-Zelenogorsk resort area near the Consulate General recreation facility on the Gulf of Finland. Skates and skis are available in St. Petersburg or in Finland, although if you are an avid winter sports enthusiast, bring your own equipment.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

Near St. Petersburg are former royal palace grounds that have been beautifully restored and are now open to the public. These include Peterhof, with its magnificent grounds and fountains; Pavlovsk, the most completely restored royal home; and Tsarskoe Selo, formerly Pushkin, in which are located several palaces, one of which was the home of the last tsar and his family. Other palaces, such as Oranienbaum and Gatchina, are easily accessible for day trips.

Many people usually travel to these palaces in their own vehicles, but public transportation, including summer hydrofoil service to Peter-hof, is available, convenient, and inexpensive, though crowded.

St. Petersburg has about 40 museums covering a broad range of exhibits, from anthropology to zoology. First among these is the world-famous Hermitage, well-known for its collections of Rembrandts, French Impressionists, and Scythian gold. In the Russian Museum, you can see the best of Russian art through the centuries from the icons of Rublev to present-day painters. Several large cathedrals have also been opened to the public as museums, though many-such as St. Isaac's Cathedral, one of the largest in the world, and the Kazanskiy Cathedral-now function again as churches. The Peter and Paul Cathedral contains graves of Russian tsars since Peter the Great.

St. Petersburg offers a feast for the amateur and the serious photographer. There are a number of very good local photography shops which offer color developing and printing at reasonable prices.

Finland: The Finnish border is about 140 miles away-a 3-hour auto trip in good weather from St. Petersburg. You may like to travel to border towns, such as Lappeenranta, for shopping or relaxation. Helsinki is another 3 hours from the border, for a total trip of about 250 miles.

Several flights operate daily between St. Petersburg and Helsinki. The flight is about 43 minutes. Trains between St. Petersburg and Helsinki run daily. Round-trip train fare currently ranges from $90 to $150. A one-way trip takes about 5 hours.

Estonia: Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is approximately 200 miles away and can be reached in 4-5 hours by car and 10 hours by train. There is one night train that runs between St. Petersburg and Tallinn. Round-trip train fare is less than $50.

The smaller university town of Tartu is located less than 150 miles west of Tallinn and can be reached by daily buses and trains in 3-4 hours. Round-trip bus fare is $20 and train/electrichka fares range from $30-$60.

Latvia: The capital, Riga, is 400 miles from St. Petersburg. A total trip by car is approximately 7-8 hours, by train approximately 11-12 hours. One train runs daily from St. Petersburg to Riga. Round-trip train fare is approximately $85-$145.

Lithuania: The capital, Vilnius, is approximately 460 miles away. A total trip by car is about 8-9 hours, by train 11-13 hours. Trains to Vilnius run daily. Round-trip train fare is between $60$125.

Entertainment

St. Petersburg has about 30 theaters, concert halls, opera houses, and "palaces of culture" that offer a wide variety of ballet, opera, classical music, and plays. The best known is the Mariinskiy Theater, formerly named and recognized around the world as the Kirov Opera and Ballet Theater. The Mussorgskiy Opera and Ballet Theater (formerly Maliy Theater) also has a full repertoire of ballet and opera, and arranges its vacation period so that it performs throughout July and August, when the Mariinskiy is usually on vacation or on tour. St. Petersburg has two symphony orchestras, one of which enjoys a worldwide reputation. The Philharmonic Hall, named after local composer Dmitriy Shostakovich, is one of the finest in Europe. There are other concert halls and a choir hall, all of which offer programs during the September-June season.

The St. Petersburg Circus is definitely worth a visit. Light operettas are given at the Musical Comedy Theater, and there are two puppet theaters in town. The October Concert Hall and the city's several palaces of culture often have concerts that feature popular music or play host to foreign troupes. Both cultural and sporting events are staged at the Yubileyniy and several other palaces of sport.

Serious theater fans, whether or not they speak Russian, will find visits to the Maliy Dramatic Theater, Otkrytiy Theater, and the Theater on Liteiniy worthwhile. These are considered locally to be the most avant-garde of the regular theaters and include in their repertoires works by contemporary American playwrights, such as Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller. The Pushkin Theater is one of the most splendidly housed in Europe.

Films shown in English or with English subtitles are a rarity-usually, Russian is dubbed over the original language. Two movie houses in St. Petersburg show first-run films in English, although only infrequently. Videocassettes in English may be rented at a few places in the city.

Social Activities

The American community in St. Petersburg-including students on study-abroad programs, research fellows, businessmen, interns, missionaries, and volunteers-is close-knit, and informal get-togethers and spontaneous acquaintances with a wide variety of individuals from the U.S. are common.

The Marine Security Guard Detachment invites both members of the Consulate General community and private citizens from outside of the Consulate General (including Russians) to social functions at the Marine House approximately every 2-3 weeks.

In the past few years, St. Petersburg has enjoyed a significant increase in the quantity and quality of restaurants. A quick glance at the restaurant guide in the city's English-language newspaper shows restaurants that specialize in Chinese, European, French, German, Indian, Italian, Korean, Mexican, and Russian cuisine, as well as several pizza establishments. Other restaurants offer Georgian, American, and Central Asian cuisine. Many of the "Western-style" restaurants offer a mixture of Russian and international dishes.

Several of the hotel restaurants, and many of the Russian restaurants, offer floor shows. Most of the others offer some form of entertainment-from jazz combos to folk ensembles-often somewhat louder than musical entertainment to which Americans are accustomed. Service is sometimes slower than in American restaurants.

Recent years have also seen a large growth in fast-food establishments in the city, with prices comparable to those in the U.S. There are fast food shops specializing in roasted chicken, pizza, and Russian treats. The first of five Golden Arches appeared in St. Petersburg in 1996.

Possibilities for social contacts between Russian citizens and foreigners have normalized and become comparable to those in other countries. Frequently, opportunities arise for such contacts during daily work or while traveling outside the city. St. Petersburg also has an active and growing American and international business community.

Health

General health conditions in St. Petersburg are similar to those in Moscow, although dampness probably accounts for a higher incidence of colds and respiratory ailments.

For health problems Americans and their families primarily use the American Medical Center of St. Petersburg or the EuroMed Clinic. The AMC is the only primarily English-speaking medical clinic in St. Petersburg. It is staffed with both Western-trained medical doctors and Russian doctors. AMC currently offers the services of a Western-trained dentist. Pharmacy and laboratory services are available on site. The AMC offers 24-hour doctor availability, house calls, and emergency care. All of these services are extremely expensive. American's have also used the services of special St. Petersburg polyclinics for adults and children, depending on the circumstances of the illness or injury.

While local pharmacies offer a panoply of medications, it is often difficult to find a particular brand or formulation.

The St. Petersburg water supply originates from nearby Lake Ladoga. Western health authorities have noted a high incidence of infection by the intestinal parasite giardia lamblia in travelers returning from St. Petersburg. Such evidence points to St. Petersburg as a possible site of infection. This diarrhea-inducing parasite is found in many parts of the world and can be contracted by drinking untreated tap water.

Automobiles

Unleaded gasoline is available throughout St. Petersburg. The city has a small but growing number of service stations, but replacement parts for both Russian and Western automobiles can often be difficult to obtain locally. Bring only cars in excellent condition.

The following dealers also have offices in St. Petersburg, with limited service centers: BMW, Chevy, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Jeep, Mazda, Mercedes, Nissan, Peugeot, Saab, and Volvo. Supplies and services are expensive.

Winterizing your car is important because of low winter temperatures. Low viscosity oil and antifreeze protection to-40 °F should be provided before a fall or winter shipment. Since few vehicles will start without assistance on the coldest mornings, bring a strong battery and jumper cables.

Snow tires, or at least tires with good all-weather treads, are necessary for winter driving (November through March).If you are in Finland, the law requires snow tires during severe winter weather. Studded snow tires may be used only between mid-October and mid-April. Snow tires (and studs, when used) must be on all four wheels.

Vladivostok

Vladivostok is Russia's principal Pacific port and the largest city in the Russian Far East, with a population of about 700,000. Founded in 1860 as a military outpost, Vladivostok abruptly became the Russian Pacific naval base when Port Arthur fell in the Russo-Japanese War. The city now serves as the capital of Primorskiy Kray (Maritime Territory). Vladivostok's harbor is a major fishing and shipping hub, and the city acts as the eastern terminus of the Trans-Siberian railroad.

Before World War 11, Vladivostok was well on its way to becoming an international commercial center. The Soviets closed the city to foreigners in 1958, however, and it was only declared an open city as of January 1, 1992. Currently, Vladivostok's foreign contacts and foreign population are rapidly growing as American, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese businesses and tourists move into the Russian Far East in increasing numbers.

Vladivostok has a relatively mild climate by Russian standards, moderated by its location on the Pacific Ocean. Spring is chilly until May, with occasional snow occurring in March. Summers are cool and rainy, and autumn is beautiful, with its warm temperatures and sunny weather. Winter is cold and dry, with temperatures ranging between 0 °F and 25 °F. Brisk, humid sea winds can make temperatures seem even colder.

Vladivostok is 10 hours ahead of Greenwich mean time (GMT), 15 hours ahead of eastern standard time (EST).

Utilities

Electricity is 220v, 50-hertz, AC. Outlets are primarily standard Russian two-prong (round). This size is similar to standard European, but the prongs are somewhat thinner

Vladivostok's utility systems are antiquated. Hot water outages are common in summer and fall, and occasional heating and electricity outages occur.

Food

The range and quality of foods available locally is improving, but still limited, especially in winter. Foods available locally in summer/fall include: fruits (apples, oranges, lemons, bananas), onions, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, garlic, pork, beef, eggs, fish (fresh, frozen, smoked, and salted), and shellfish. Imported soft drinks, beer, and juices are available as well as imported tinned meats, rice, and macaroni. In winter, vegetables and meats are much harder to find, and the availability of most other foods varies from week to week. Prices are relatively low by American standards.

Clothing

Although the availability and quality of clothing in Vladivostok is increasing, it remains difficult, if not impossible, to purchase Western-quality clothing locally. Inexpensive, Chinese-made clothing and shoes are becoming increasingly available, but quality is low.

Men: Men should bring wool suits, sweaters, gloves, heavy winter coats, lightweight jackets, and a good raincoat with liner. Insulated boots, scarves, and winter hats are useful in the cold winter months. Good-quality fur hats may be purchased in Vladivostok at reasonable prices. Even in the summer months, heavyweight, woolen clothing can often be worn. Business attire in Russia is similar to that in the U.S. Bring sturdy, comfortable shoes, since Vladivostok's weather can cause shoes to wear quickly. Bring a full supply of casual clothes, including bathing suits, as swimming is possible at some beaches in late summer.

Women: Bring two pairs of each style shoe you plan to wear. Women's shoes, particularly pumps, wear quickly here and cannot be easily repaired. Business attire is similar to that in the U.S. At social events, cocktail dresses are usually worn.

Children: Bring mainly sturdy, warm, washable play clothes. Zippered, one-piece nylon snowsuits are recommended, together with material to patch this type of garment. Waterproof boots with insulated foam lining, several pairs of waterproof mittens, long thermal underwear, and waterproof snow pants are all recommended. Bring scarves, woolen hats and hoods, rubber boots, warm slacks, knee socks, tights, slicker raincoats with hoods, tennis shoes, and warm sweaters. Nightgowns or pajamas, slippers, and bathrobes are also needed. Summer clothing should include washable play clothes, slacks, jeans, shorts, and bathing suits. Babies need warm winter clothing.

Supplies and Services

Bring insect repellent effective against mosquitoes and ticks. Bring any necessary over-the-counter and prescription medicines, cosmetics, and toiletries, such as shampoo, soap, and toothpaste.

Although many basic services are available in some form in Vladivostok, quality is often poor and service slow. Local barbers and hairdressers can provide basic, competent haircuts for relatively low prices. Shoe repair and tailoring services are available, but of low quality.

Education

There is an international school, operated by Quality Schools International, for grades kindergarten through sixth grade. It offers a traditional American curriculum. English language schooling in Vladivostok is limited. Several city schools offer "English-language" programs that are actually carried out primarily in Russian with one or two classes a day taught in English. Local schools have adequate curriculum by American standards, but the schools lack sufficient supplies, equipment, and teaching materials. Overcrowding has forced most of the schools to adopt a two-shift daily schedule. The language barrier may make total reliance on the Russian system difficult.

Special Educational Opportunities

There are several area universities offering courses on a variety of subjects, leading to a degree. However, students must have a strong command of Russian to be accepted.

Sports

Vladivostok, Primorskiy Territory, and the entire Russian Far East offer a wide variety of outdoor activities. In Vladivostok, popular summer sports include sailing, fishing, hunting, tennis, baseball, and soccer. Winter sports include basketball, cross-country skiing, ice skating, and ice fishing. There are several public tennis courts in Vladivostok, although most are in relatively poor condition, and during the peak season (May-September), players often must wait for a court. Public basketball courts (indoor and out-door) and soccer/baseball fields are also available. There are many opportunities for Americans to participate in local sports through affiliation with various club teams or through social contacts. Sailboats and motor vessels may be rented and are popular in the summer for trips to nearby islands and beaches. It is also possible to go deep-sea fishing, while shore fishing and freshwater (particularly trout) fishing are popular throughout the region. Hiking and camping are also popular, particularly in the mountains and taiga (primeval forest) north of the city. Swimming is not recommended at many of the beaches near the city due to environmental concerns and the relatively cold water. There are several sandy beaches, which offer good sites for picnics and sunbathing, within an hour's drive of the city. Scuba diving for advanced divers is available and some scuba equipment may even be rented locally.

Vladivostok's relatively snow-free winters make it necessary to travel inland for the best cross-country skiing, but deep snow can be found less than 100 miles away. Downhill skiing is available in various locations in the Russian Far East. Bring all sports equipment, including skis, skates, balls, and rackets. Equipment available locally is of poor quality.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

Although the Russian Far Eastlacks the variety of historic sites and old cities found in the European parts of Russia, it does offer a wide variety of beautiful scenery for the adventurous traveler. The Primorskiy territory coast, marked by numerous rocky islands, steep cliffs, and isolated beaches, is accessible by chartered boat. Tour companies offer hiking and camping tours to the taiga, Kamchatka's volcanoes, and winter ski trips to Siberian ski areas. Hunting and fishing expeditions can also be arranged. The city of Khabarovsk, about 450 miles north of Vladivostok on the Amur River, is the other main center and economic hub of the Russian Far East and can be reached by overnight train or a 90-minute Aeroflot Flight.

Travel within Russia can be tiring. Frequent transportation schedule changes, below-standard hotels, and harsh weather can combine to make an international trip more attractive. Currently, there are international flights to Korea, Japan, and China. In summer, there is a regularly scheduled passenger liner service to Japan and south Korea on Russian ships.

Entertainment

Vladivostok has limited entertainment facilities, but the number is increasing as the city develops. There are several good joint-venture restaurants in the city, with prices ranging from inexpensive to moderate. Although there are nightclubs and casinos, nightlife for the foreign community centers around restaurants and home entertaining.

Vladivostok has several small museums, including an art museum, a museum of natural history, and a military museum. Unlike many Russian cities of its size, Vladivostok has no major, permanent orchestra, theater, or circus troupe.

Visiting musical and theatrical performers, the Moscow Circus and other travelling circuses, a small local orchestra, and several small local theater groups provide cultural entertainment.

Many foreign residents bring video-cassette recorders. Because there are no tape clubs in Vladivostok, bring a supply with you. You can add tapes by ordering from catalogs or by borrowing from friends. Some Russian (PAL/SECAM) videos may be purchased on the local economy, including American films and TV shows that have been dubbed into Russian. Bring a large supply of books and other reading materials with you. English-language books, periodicals, and newspapers are not available in Vladivostok, so magazine subscriptions are also important.

You may read about current events in Vladivostok on the Internet at the following sites: http://vladivostok.com/golden-horn or http://www.vladnews.ru. The former is a Russian-language daily which has an English weekly page. The latter is an English-language internet newspaper.

Social Activities

The social life among the small American community is casual and personally arranged. The total resident American population of Vladivostok numbers about 70, not including the official American community, so contacts between Americans are frequent.

Americans have no difficulty meeting Russians through professional and social interaction. There is an International Women's Club, consisting of American, Russian, Korean, Japanese, and Indian women. Due to the relatively small size of the foreign community, contacts are frequent.

Health

You should endeavor to receive all necessary inoculations before arriving in Vladivostok. Among those required are Japanese B encephalitis vaccines (for both tick and mosquito), hepatitis B vaccine, and gamma globulin. Several of these vaccines are given as a series over several months, so advance planning is required.

Local Russian medical facilities are not recommended, except in case of emergency.

Bottled water is also readily available in the city. Other health hazards include mosquitoes, which carry a strain of Japanese B encephalitis, and ticks, which carry another strain of the same disease. Vaccinations provide complete protection, but bring mosquito and tick repellent anyway to avoid bites.

Automobiles

As Vladivostok's public transportation is limited, bring a vehicle. Japanese vehicles are common in the city, and Toyota and Nissan maintain service centers with trained mechanics. South Korean and European vehicles are slowly becoming more common. Consider a four-wheel-drive vehicle, because Vladivostok's hilly terrain makes winter driving difficult. Snow tires are helpful in winter, but are not mandatory, as snowfall is infrequent. As protection against car theft and vandalism, bring a steering wheel lock or other theft-protection device.

Before departing, ensure that Vladivostok is listed as an entry point on your Russian visa.

Yekaterinburg

Yekaterinburg lays claim to the title of Russia's third largest city and former President Yeltsin's home-town. It is best known to Americans as the place where the last Tsar and his family were murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918 and the location where American U-2 spy plane pilot Gary Powers was shot down in 1960. Yekaterinburg is situated in the foothills of the Ural Mountains and is nominally an Asian city, lying 20 miles east of the continental divide between Europe and Asia. Like Chicago, its closest American counterpart, Yekaterinburg is the unofficial capital of a key region in the country's heartland, the Urals.

Yekaterinburg was founded in 1723 by Peter the Great, who named it for his wife Catherine I. Tsar Peter recognized the importance of the iron and copper-rich Urals region for Imperial Russia's industrial and military development. By the mid-18th century, metallurgical plants had sprung up across the Urals to cast cannons and Yekaterinburg's mint was producing most of Russia's coins.

Today, Yekaterinburg, much like Pittsburgh in the 1970s, is struggling to cope with dramatic economic changes that have made its heavy industries uncompetitive on the world market. Huge defense plants are struggling to survive, while retail and service sectors are developing rapidly. Yekaterinburg and the surrounding area were a center of the Soviet Union's military industrial complex. Soviet tanks, missiles and aircraft engines were made in the Urals. As a result, the Soviets closed the entire region to contact with the outside world for over 40 years during the Cold War. In 1992, thanks to lobbying efforts by local leaders, the new Russian Federation opened Yekaterinburg and the Urals to contact with the West.

The U.S. was at the forefront of Western efforts to seek to establish contacts in the Urals.

Food

The availability and quality of foods is improving here, but is still limited, especially in winter. Fresh fruits and vegetables are usually available, but selection varies seasonally. Many American staples rarely appear on store shelves. Imported liquor and wine are in short supply and expensive. Availability of items is subject to change. Yekaterinburg's water is not potable.

Clothing

Yekaterinburg has a continental climate similar to that of the American Midwest, with freezing winter temperatures and warm summers. Winter temperatures occasionally drop as low as minus 40 °F and the first snow usually falls in October. Planning for winter weather should be a high priority. Winter-weight clothing and boots are essential. Snow and ice make the sidewalks very slippery, so footwear with traction is highly recommended. Since the climate is very dry during the winter months, skin moisturizer plus lip balm are recommended items to bring.

Religious Activities

There are no religious services conducted in English in the city. Russian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Muslim, Seventh day Adventist, Pentecostal, and Jewish services are held weekly. The Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints carry out missionary activities locally, and several of these missions also have weekly services.

Education

There is now one English-language school in Yekaterinburg, but with a Russian curriculum. Other city schools offer one or two classes a day conducted in English. There are no international schools.

Sports

The Urals' many lakes, forests and mountains are great for hiking, swimming and fishing. Winter sports include cross-country skiing and ice skating. The Ural Mountains, however, offer only limited opportunities for downhill skiing. Yekaterinburg's most popular spectator sports are hockey, basketball, and soccer.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

The Urals possess beautiful natural scenery, particularly northern Tyumen's distant tundra and taiga. For Russian history and culture buffs, ConGen Yekaterinburg's consular district offers many landmarks including the childhood home museums of classical composer Tschaikovskiy and mad monk Rasputin; the Nizhnyaya Sinyachika village outdoor museum of pre-revolutionary architecture; historic cities like Tobolsk; and the 400-year-old monastery at Verkhoturye, the 16th century capital of the Urals.

Travel is usually routed through Frankfurt (via Lufthansa's direct flight three times per week) or through Moscow via daily Urals Air, Transaero, or Aeroflot flights. There are also regular flights to St. Petersburg and other major cities in the former Soviet Union. Yekaterinburg's airport now features charter flights to many foreign countries, including Turkey, China, and the United Arab Emirates.

Entertainment

The performing arts are Yekaterinburg's cultural strong point. The city has an excellent symphony orchestra, opera and ballet theater, and many other performing arts venues. Tickets are inexpensive. The city's most notable museums are its fine arts museum, which contains paintings by some of Russia's 19th-century masters, and the geological museum which houses an extensive collection of stones and gems from the Urals.

Yekaterinburg's nightlife options are limited. There are a handful of expensive Western-style restaurants and bars, none of which would be worth frequenting in a more cosmopolitan city. Glitzy nightclubs and casinos have appeared to serve the city's nouveau riche clientele. Several new dance clubs have sprung up that offer a chance to rub shoulders with Yekaterinburg's more affluent youth.

Health

Yekaterinburg's health care delivery system does not meet American standards. There is no Western clinic in the city. Basic health care is marginal; dental care is inadequate. Visit a physician and dentist prior to arrival. Inoculations against all forms of hepatitis as well as tick-borne encephalitis (usually received in Russia) are especially important. The nearest Western-style basic medical care is available in Moscow, a 2-hour flight from Yekaterinburg, or in Frankfurt, a 4-hour flight away.

Currency

Yekaterinburg is a cash-only economy; credit cards are rarely accepted; travelers checks are not accepted anywhere.

OTHER CITIES

SAMARA , formerly Kuybyshev, an administrative center, is situated on the Volga River, 550 miles southeast of Moscow. It was founded in 1586. The city's position at the convergence of the Volga and Samara rivers contributed to its growth as a trade hub, as well as its status as a provincial capital. There are a number of factories here, many powered by a hydroelectric plant up-river. Samara has research and cultural organizations, and a population of nearly 1.3 million.

VOLGOGRAD , formerly Stalin-grad, is best known for its valiant stand against the German Army in a decisive battle during World War II. The city was almost totally destroyed, and the losses of human life (on both sides) numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Volgograd was known as Tsaritsyn before its name was Stalingrad; in 1961, it was given its present designation. It originated as a Russian fort against raiders in 1589, and became an important city with the advent of railroads. Today, it is a major river port and railroad junction, and has over one million residents. A large hydroelectric power station is located in the city, which is situated at the terminus of the Volga-Don canal.

NIZHNIY NOVGOROD , formerly Gorki, is a major river port and one of the chief industrial cities of the Russian Federation. Its population is over 1.4 million. Its named was changed in 1932 from Nizhniy Novgorod to honor Maksim Gorki, novelist and playwright who was born here in 1868. In 1991, its name was changed back to Nizhniy Novgorod.

The city, situated where the Volga River meets the Okra, was a frontier post in the early part of the 13th century. It was a principal trading center for Russia and the East. Nizhniy Novgorod was the capital of its principality in the 14th century, before its annexation by Moscow in 1392, and later became famous for its large, successful trade fairs. In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was known as a cultural and political center.

NOVOSIBIRSK is the largest industrial center in Siberia, and a rail, river, and air transportation hub. It is the capital of the oblast whose name it bears. The Siberian branch of the world-famous Academy of Science is located here. The population is over 1.4 million.

Known as Novonikolayevsk from its founding in 1896 until it was renamed in 1925, the city became a trade center during the building of the Trans-Siberian Railroad. During the Second World War, entire industrial plants were moved here from threatened areas of the western Soviet Union.

COUNTRY PROFILE

Geography and Climate

The Russian Federation is physically the largest country in the world, covering 17 million square kilometers or 1.8 times the size of the U.S. The territory of the Russian Federation covers 11 time zones and stretches 6,000 miles from east to west. It has a population of about 147.5 million compared with the 265 million in the U.S. Politically, the Russian Federation is a union of 89 constituent republics, regions, and territories that enjoy varying degrees of economic and political independence from the central government located in the capital, Moscow.

In the 19th century, most Russians lived in small, isolated villages, with little freedom to travel. Now, Russia is predominantly urban. Traditionally, Russia's population, with the exception of the upper class, has had few modern comforts and conveniences. Enclosed by long borders, with few natural defenses, Russians have a history of xenophobia. Given Russia's long history of authoritarian governments, until recently few Russians had much experience with pluralist democracy and market-based economy. Increasingly, however, democratic institutions and market economics are finding widespread support. A dynamic private sector has given rise to a growing middle class in and around the major metropolitan centers.

Moscow is the largest city in Russia and is located west of the great Russian plain on the banks of the Moscow Rivet at 37°73 E and 55°45 The city is built on several low hills varying from 25 feet to 815 feet above sea level. Moscow's short summers are as warm as those in the northern U.S. Winters in Moscow are comparable to winters in Chicago. Snow begins in October and continues periodically through April, although snowfall in May is not unusual. Annual rainfall averages 21 inches, with the heaviest rains falling between May and October. Prevailing winds are southerly and southwesterly. Due to Moscow's northern location, daylight varies from 7 hours in December to 17-1/2 hours in June. The average temperature in June and July is 66 °F, but the summer temperatures frequently reach the low 90s. In the winter the temperature may fall to minus 40 °F, but the average December and January temperature is 14 °E Though Moscow's winter air usually is dry, the wind chill factor makes the temperature feel much colder.

St. Petersburg, Russia's second largest city and the former imperial capital, is located on a flat plain at the mouth of the Neva River on the Gulf of Finland at 55° 57 N and 30° 20 E. Established in 1703, the city is built on a series of 101 islands, and is laced by canals and various streams of the Neva. The climate in St. Petersburg is milder than in Moscow but is damp and misty. Average temperatures are 64 °F in July and 17 °F in January. St. Petersburg is famous for its "white nights" which occur in June when the sun shines for nearly 19 hours and sunset only brings semi-darkness.

Yekaterinburg, Russia's third largest city with an estimated population of 1.5 million, is located near the center of Russia, at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. It is the Russian equivalent of Pittsburgh and second only to Moscow in terms of industrial production. Founded in 1723, Yekaterinburg today is the seat of the government for the Sverdlovsk region, which contains numerous heavy industries, mining concerns, and steel factories. In addition, Yekaterinburg is a major center for industrial research and development as well as home to numerous institutes of higher education, technical training, and scientific research.

Vladivostok, the largest city in the Russian Far East and home to the Russian Pacific fleet, is an important center for trade with the Pacific Rim countries. Closed to foreigners from 1958 to 1992, the city now is home to many foreign businesses and consulates. The climate in Vladivostok is milder than in many other Russian cities due to its location on the Pacific Ocean. Winter temperatures range between 0° and 25 °F.

Population

The majority of Russia's 148 million inhabitants is predominantly Slavic. The Federation consists of 89 subjects, including constituent republics, territories, and autonomous regions that enjoy varying degrees of economic and political independence from the central government. Moscow is Russia's largest city (population: 9 million) and is the capital of the Federation. St. Petersburg is Russia's second largest city (population 5 million). In the Russian Far East, the predominant city is Vladivostok, which is becoming an important commercial center in the Federation's trade with the Pacific Rim.

Public Institutions

Politically, economically, and socially, the Russian Federation continues to be in a state of transition. Although constitutional structures are well-defined and democratic in concept, genuine democratization continues to be a slow, but generally positive transition. The 1993 Constitution provides for an elected President and a government headed by a Prime Minister. There is a bicameral legislature, the Federal Assembly, consisting of the State Duma and the Federation Council. The President and the members of the Federal Assembly have won office in competitive elections judged to be largely free and fair, with a broad range of political parties and movements contesting offices.

The most recent elections to Russia's lower half of the Federal Assembly, the State Duma, were held in December 1999. The last presidential election took place in March 2000. Membership in the upper house of the Federal Assembly, the Federation Council, was made elective in 1996. Each of the Federation's 89 constituent republics, regions, and territories is represented by two members, the head of the local executive branch and the chair of the local legislature. The State Duma comprises 450 seats, of which half are from single-mandate districts and half are from party lists. Both chambers participate in shaping policy and enacting legislation, though the State Duma bears the brunt of the legislative workload.

Although it is beginning to show signs of independence, Russia's judiciary remains relatively weak and ineffective compared with the legislative and executive branches of the government. Judges are now only starting to assert their constitutionally mandated powers. The country's highest court, the Constitutional Court, reconvened in March 1995, after the new 1993 Constitution entered into force. The Constitution empowers the court to arbitrate disputes between the other two branches and between the central and regional governments. It also is authorized to rule on violations of constitutional rights, to examine appeals from various bodies, and to participate in impeachment proceedings against the President. The Constitutional Court, however, may not examine cases on its own initiative and is limited in the scope of issues it can hear.

A vigorous and critical media demonstrates that freedom of the press continues to exist in Russia. However, financial constraints make it nearly impossible for the print and broadcast media to survive without the support of business or political sponsors, who, as a result, have the power to influence public opinion. Such sponsors generally represent a sufficiently broad cross section of the Russian political spectrum to provide a variety of points of view on political developments in Russia. Russian television and radio are similarly affected, but provide a narrower spectrum of political viewpoints than the print media.

Arts, Science, and Education

Russian research, in some physical and mathematics sciences and in some branches of medicine, is of a high order. In history, sociology, psychology, political science, and, even in certain biological sciences, Marxist and Leninist preconceptions seriously retarded the development of objective scholarship. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian scientists have been allowed more academic freedom, but this freedom has resulted in a serious depletion of the country's human resources, as many Russian scientists have emigrated to other countries, creating a "brain drain."

Commerce and Industry

Russia remains in the process of developing the legal basis of a modern market economy. Since for several generations the economy was ruled by a command system that prohibited private enterprise, this task is formidable, and was exacerbated by the August 1998 financial crisis and threefold ruble depreciation. Business operating costs are relatively high, as are interest rates for business loans; and tax and accounting regulations remain murky. Interpretations of laws and regulations often vary. Reflecting this environment, foreign investment has entered Russia at a cautious pace, albeit one that seems to be accelerating again as of mid-2000, since the advent of the Putin administration has been perceived as promising greater political and economic stability. Various sources estimate cumulative foreign direct investment in Russia through 1999 at between $12-$13 billion, most of which has gone into oil extraction and food and consumer goods manufacturing. Russia's government coffers have received a boost from taxes on higher oil export revenues in 1999-2000, although it remains to be seen whether this windfall can be used to leverage the broader economy and promote the restructuring that Russian enterprises must undergo if they are to become more competitive.

In downtown Moscow itself, the economic and commercial transition are more advanced than in the country at large. Western consumer goods are generally available in Moscow, although retail and wholesale outlets are fewer and farther between than in Western countries. The service sector (in everything from internet service and residential cable TV to dentistry, hotels and restaurants to department stores and fast-food delivery) is developing rapidly, fueled by the inflow of Western companies over the past decade (most of whom have retained a presence here despite belt-tightening during the economic downturn in 1998-99).

Transportation

Automobiles

Driving in Russia requires constant attention, as Russian traffic regulations and procedures differ from those in the U.S. Speed limits are seldom observed; there is little, if any, lane discipline; and defensive driving is mandatory. Many pedestrians, oblivious to oncoming traffic, cross the street at random, which presents a real hazard. Streets are dimly lit at night and pedestrians wear dark clothing that makes them difficult to see. Although trucks are not allowed inside the Garden Ring without a special pass, numerous trucks and outsized, overloaded vehicles transit the rest of the city.

In mid 1999, a new Niva or Lada cost about $3,500, while a Volga was more and a Zhiguli less. Transaction time to purchase and register a Russian vehicle is usually 7-10 working days.

All imported vehicles should be new or in first-class mechanical condition to pass the strict Russian inspection requirements for vehicle registration:

  • Each automobile must have at least two headlights, each with high and low beams. Supplementary lights are permitted, including side lights and fog lights. Front parking lights must be white; rear lights must be red, not yellow or tinted.
  • Front and rear turn signals are required. Front turn signal must be white or orange; rear must be red or orange.
  • Each vehicle must be equipped with a first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, and emergency warning reflector triangle.

Russian gasoline comes in 82, 92, 95, and 98 octane. Unleaded gasoline is widely available, and diesel fuel, although available, is usually of poor quality. There is no need to remove the catalytic converter unless extensive travel is planned for outside the city, where unleaded fuel is not as widely available.

Front-wheel-and four-wheel-drive vehicles offer the best handling in the Russian winter. The main streets in Moscow are regularly plowed; however, some side streets and housing complex parking lots may remain covered with snow and ice throughout the winter.

The Russian government requires that cars be covered by third-party liability insurance.

Ingosstrakh is an official Russian insurance company that offers third-party liability and comprehensive-collision coverage. Policies may be arranged within 2 days. Coverage is immediately invalidated if a driver is charged with drunk driving. The policy may require that covered vehicle damage be repaired in a Russian garage. Ingosstrakh rates are based on engine size, as measured by engine displacement. Insurance for sixand eight-cylinder cars costs more through Ingosstrakh than through a U.S. company. Ingosstrakh third-party liability insurance has two categories with different amounts of coverage. The average cost in 2000 for Ingosstrakh third-party liability insurance was $250 for an American car.

United Services Officers Insurance Brokers, Ltd.,44 High Street, Winchester, Hants, England, offers policies, including third-party liability and comprehensive and collision coverage.

Clements and Company, 1625 Eye Street, NW, Washington, D.C., has a policy that provides coverage for transportation of vehicles from anywhere in the world to Russia. Coverage includes comprehensive collision and protection against marine, fire, and theft loss. However, it does not cover third-party liability. Clements' rate structure is based on the U.S. Bluebook value of the car, and costs may be somewhat lower than those of Ingosstrakh.

Local

The Moscow street plan is a wheel with the Kremlin and Red Square at the hub. Around the hub are three concentric circles-the Boulevard ring, the Garden ring, and the outer ring highway (MKAD). A fourth ring is under construction and should be completed by 2003. The extensive public transportation system consists of buses, streetcars, trolley buses, and the metro. This system covers the entire city, but riders should be prepared to contend with pushing and shoving. The prices for riding the public transport are constantly changing but remain inexpensive. The metro runs from about 0600 until 0100. Stations are clean and safe, and many are internationally famous for the beauty of their interior design.

Taxis can be ordered from private companies. Private cars can be hailed on the street; however, the Regional Security Office advises against this practice. Drivers are sometimes reluctant to stop late in the evening or in bad weather, and the price must be negotiated in advance. Always ride in the back seat and never engage a vehicle that already has another passenger.

Regional

Rail and air transport networks are extensive, and service is adequate on both systems. First-class train fares are inexpensive. The overnight train to St. Petersburg is comfortable, but there is the danger of crime. The country's size makes flying to some of the more remote cities more convenient than train travel. Air traffic is sometimes unreliable due to delays caused by bad weather.

Communications

Telephone and Telegraph

Telephone service from Moscow to the U.S. and to most European cities is not up to Western standards, but is improving. Recently, U.S.-based telephone companies such as AT&T and Sprint have established direct-dial facilities in Moscow. International calls can be placed by using telephone credit cards made available by these companies. Bring a personal AT&T, Sprint, or MCI calling card for personal long-distance calls.

Radio and TV

All media are in transition in Russia. There are now many joint venture radio stations, with English-speaking announcers who play America's top 40. For example, Radio Maximum, FM 103.7, is English speaking each morning from 6 am until 10 am. The station airs news, weather, business reports, and contemporary rock music. Open Radio on both AM 918 kHz and FM 102.3 MHz rebroadcasts Voice of America (VOA) and BBC programs, plus business and local news programs of their own. Reception of these radio stations is excellent, even on the cheaper "jam boxes." In addition, there is a wide range of excellent Russian radio stations on both AM and FM bands; however, the Russian FM spectrum does not conform to the U.S. FM bands. To receive all Russian FM radio stations, purchase a Russian radio.

Outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg, a good short-wave radio is needed to receive the VOA and BBC broadcasts.

The Russian system is SECAM. American NTSC TV's will usually receive a black-and-white video signal but will not receive audio. Bring or buy a multisystem set that will enable the viewing of Russian programs and cable channels. A multisystem VCR is also helpful, as this enables one to watch Russian and U.S. videotapes.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals

An increasing number of Western newspapers is available in Moscow. The International Herald Tribune, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, and the Economist are available at tourist hotels. Western newspapers arrive in Moscow the day after publication.

In Moscow, there are several English-language newspapers for the foreign community. Most are free and include lists of upcoming cultural events, restaurant reviews, TV schedules, and general news of the city and community. All of these papers contain news of the foreign community and coverage and analysis of Russian news and events.

Many publications are available for those who read Russian. In addition to the 2,000 newspapers and magazines that are published in Russian, there is a growing number of Western publications now available in Russian.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities

Moscow has three dental clinics with American-trained dentists and laboratory technicians. The Adventist Dental Clinic also has a Western-trained orthodontist on staff.

When hospitalization is needed, Michurnskiy Kremlin Clinic is utilized for diagnostic and in-patient care. The facility offers the highest level of Russian medical care available and has a 24-hour ambulance service. In addition, the American Medical Center has opened a full-service clinic on a membership basis.

For cases requiring advanced diagnostic procedures, surgery, or complicated treatment not available at the Michurinskiy Kremlin Clinic, patients are evacuated to London, Frankfurt, Helsinki, or the U.S.

Community Health

Although the standard of public cleanliness in Russia does not equal that of the U.S. and Western Europe, garbage collection is relatively dependable, and sewage is treated adequately. Public restrooms are usually unsanitary. Streets and public buildings are not clean, but conditions do not pose health hazards.

Moscow's water may not be adequately treated, and drinking water should be boiled or filtered as a precaution.

The Moscow area, as is the case in many parts of Russia, has the potential for environmental hazards. No serious detrimental health effects have been demonstrated from microwaves, NPPD, or nuclear fallout.

Preventive Measures

During the winter, the air in Moscow, especially in offices and apartments, becomes very dry. This sometimes causes dry skin and aggravates respiratory problems. Dry mucous membranes of the respiratory system are vulnerable to infection and irritation. Respiratory infections are common during winter. Reliable food sources are plentiful in Moscow. These local markets and the import stores offer a wide variety of foods, including fresh, dried, and canned products.

Personal Health Measures_

All immunizations should be current, including diphtheria, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B.

There are many reliable pharmacies in Moscow, and many medicines that require a prescription in the U.S. can be obtained over the counter in Moscow. Many Western medications are available in these pharmacies, but not all, and sometimes there are shortages of previously available medications. The best advice is still to bring several months' supply of any medication that is taken regularly or needed for urgent situations.

Several optical services have opened in Moscow, but bring an extra pair of glasses, plus the prescription. Those who wear contact lenses sometimes experience discomfort because of the dry, dusty Moscow air.

NOTES FOR TRAVELERS

Passage, Customs and Duties

Currently, Delta is the only American airline that regularly flies to Moscow and St. Petersburg. However, check the latest schedules to determine what carriers and stopover combinations are authorized.

You can drive over the routes Prague-Warsaw-Brest-Moscow or Helsinki-St. Petersburg-Moscow with prior Russian Government approval. When driving by way of Warsaw, allow at least 6 weeks to arrange the Russian-Brest entrance visa and Czechoslovak and Polish transit visas.

The overland trip should be undertaken only by experienced drivers accompanied by another passenger or by two cars traveling together. If you do not have a Russian driver's license, have a valid U.S. license and an international driver's license available. Gasoline is often difficult to find in Russia outside of major cities. Gas stations take cash only.

Road travel in Russia is not geared to high-speed, long-distance runs. Surfaces vary greatly, detours are frequent, and drivers often do not perform according to expectations. Heavy truck traffic makes passing extremely dangerous. Service facilities are seldom seen and never to be depended on for parts. A carefully planned pacing is the best approach.

Currently, Delta flies into St. Petersburg. If transiting Eastern Europe en route, check for compliance with visa requirements and be aware that flight schedules between St. Petersburg and Eastern European cities often change without notice. If arriving by car, enter from Helsinki.

Initial travel to Vladivostok is possible either by air via Moscow or across the Pacific on an American carrier. There are frequent trans-Pacific flights from Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles to Tokyo and Seoul, and biweekly flights in summer from Seattle to Vladivostok via Anchorage and Magadan. Travelers choosing to transit Tokyo must take a "bullet train" from Tokyo to Niigata (about 2 hours). Aeroflot flies twice weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) from Niigata to Vladivostok. Travelers transiting Seoul must catch the weekly (Sunday) Aeroflot flight from Seoul to Khabarovsk, then fly or take an overnight train from Khabarovsk to Vladivostok.

U.S. citizens must possess a valid U.S. passport and appropriate visas for travel to or transit through Russia, whether by train, car, ship or airplane.

Russian visas should be obtained from an embassy or consulate in the U.S. or abroad in advance of travel, as it is impossible to obtain a Russian entry visa upon arrival. Travelers who arrive without an entry visa are not permitted to enter Russia and face immediate expulsion by route of entry, at the traveler's expense. Errors in dates or other information on the visa may result in denial of entry, and it is helpful to have someone who reads Russian check the visa before departing the United States.

Visas are valid for specific dates. An entry/exit visa reflects two dates written in the European style (day, month, year). The first date indicates the earliest day you may enter Russia; the second date indicates the last day you are permitted to be in Russia using that visa. Sometimes, the length of a visa may not correspond to the length of your planned stay. Before starting your trip, be sure your visa is valid for the dates of your planned entry and departure. Travelers who spend more than three days in the country must register their visa through their hotel or sponsor. It is helpful to make a photocopy of your visa in the event of loss, but note that a copy of your visa will not be sufficient for leaving the country, as Russian border officials always ask for the original.

The office that issued your visa must approve amendment of a visa necessitated by illness or changes in travel plans. If travelers experience entry and exit visa problems they and/or their sponsor must contact the nearest Russian visa and passport office (OVIR) for assistance. Visitors who overstay their visa's validity, even for one day, or who neglect to register their visa will be prevented from leaving until this is corrected, which usually requires payment of a fee and results in a missed flight or other connection.

Due to the possibility of random document checks by police, U.S. citizens should carry their original passports and registered visas with them at all times. Failure to provide proper documentation can result in detention and/or heavy fines. It is not necessary for travelers to have either entry or itinerary points in the Russian Federation printed on their visas.

All travelers must continue to list on the visa application all areas to be visited and subsequently register with authorities at each destination. There are several closed cities throughout Russia. Travelers who attempt to enter these cities without prior authorization are subject to fines, court hearings and/or deportation. Travelers should check with their sponsor, hotel or the nearest Russian visa and passport office before traveling to unfamiliar cities and towns.

Any person applying for a visa for a stay of more than three months must present a certificate showing that he/she is HIV-negative. The certificate must contain the applicant's passport data, proposed length of stay in Russia, blood test results for HIV infection, including date of the test, signature of the doctor conducting the test, medical examination results, diagnostic series and seal of the hospital/medical organization. The HIV test must be administered no later than three months prior to travel, and the certificate must be in both Russian and English.

Russia issues visas (with the exception of transit visas) based on support from a sponsor, usually an individual or local organization. Generally speaking, visas sponsored by Russian individuals are "guest" visas, and visas sponsored by tour agencies or hotels are "tourist" visas. Note that travelers who enter Russia on "tourist" visas, but who then reside with Russian individuals, may have difficulty registering their visas and may be required by Russian authorities to depart Russia sooner than they had planned. Student visas allow only for one entry. The sponsoring school is responsible for registering the visa and obtaining an exit visa. It is important to know who your sponsor is and how to contact him/her because Russian law requires that your sponsor apply on your behalf for replacement, extension or changes to your visa. Even if your visa was obtained through a travel agency in the United States, there is always a Russian legal entity whose name is indicated on the visa and who is considered to be your legal sponsor. The U.S. Embassy cannot act as your sponsor. U.S. citizens should contact their tour company or hotel in advance for information on visa sponsorship.

Persons holding both Russian and U.S. passports should be aware that if they enter Russia on a Russian passport that subsequently expires, Russian authorities will not permit them to depart using their U.S. passport. Since it may take several months to obtain a new Russian passport to satisfy Russian requirements for departure, travelers are advised to ensure that their Russian passports will be valid for the duration of their stay or that they travel on a valid U.S. passport and Russian visa.

For additional information concerning entry and exit requirements, travelers may contact the Russian Embassy, Consular Section, 2641 Tunlaw Rd., NW, Washington, DC 20007, telephone (202) 939-8907, web site-http://russianembassy.org, or the Russian consulates in New York (tel. 212-348-0926/55), San Francisco (tel. 415-928-6878, 415-929-0862, 415-202-9800/01) or Seattle (tel. 206-728-1910).

Russian customs laws and regulations are in a state of flux and are not consistently enforced. When arriving in Russia, travelers must declare all items of value on a customs form; the same form used during arrival in Russia must be presented to customs officials at the time of departure. As of October 2001, travelers must declare all foreign currency they are bringing into Russia. Non-residents of Russia are prohibited from taking any cash money in currency other than the Russian ruble out of the country unless it has been declared upon arrival or wired, and supported by an appropriate document. Those with stamped declaration forms may exit Russia with a sum of foreign currency no greater than the sum declared upon entry. Lost or stolen customs forms should be reported to the Russian police, and a police report (spravka) should be obtained to present to customs officials upon departure. Often, however, the traveler will find that the lost customs declaration cannot be replaced. Travelers attempting to depart Russia with more money than was on their original customs form face possible detention, arrest, fines and confiscation of currency.

Travelers should obtain receipts for all high-value items (including caviar) purchased in Russia. Any article that could appear old or as having cultural value to the customs service, including artwork, icons, samovars, rugs and antiques, must have a certificate indicating that it has no historical or cultural value. It is illegal to remove such items from Russia without this certificate. Certificates will not be granted for the export of articles that are more than 100 years old, no matter the value. These certificates may be obtained from the Russian Ministry of Culture. For further information, Russian speakers may call the Airport Sheremetyevo-2 Customs Information Service in Moscow at (7) (095) 578-2125/578-2120, or, in St. Petersburg, the Ministry of Culture may be reached at 311-3496.

Russia also has very strict rules on the importation of large quantities of medication, and of some medications regardless of quantity. It is advisable to contact the Russian Embassy or one of Russia's consulates for specific information regarding this or other customs regulations.

Americans living in or visiting Russia are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy or at the U.S. consulate general closest to the region of Russia they will be visiting, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Russia. The U.S. Embassy is located in Moscow at Novinskiy Bulvar 19/23; tel: (7) (095) 728-5000, fax: (7) (095) 728-5084. After-hours emergencies: (7) (095) 728-5000. Also, monitor the Embassy's web site at http://www.usembassy.ru or e-mail at [email protected].

Pets

All pets entering Russia must be accompanied by a certificate of good health issued not more than 10 days prior to arrival. Veterinary care is available but technology is not very advanced. Animals with chronic problems probably should not be brought.

All pets should be given distemper, hepatitis, leptospira bactrin, parvovirus, and rabies immunizations before entering the Russian Federation. A rabies and an immunization certification stating dates must be available for customs formalities. Check with your airline concerning regulations and how far in advance you need the shots given to your pet.

There are veterinary clinics in Moscow that stock rabies, distemper, leptospira bactrin, and parvovirus vaccines for dogs and cats. Other pet medicines and supplies (worm pills, flea powder, vitamins, soap, etc.) should be brought with you.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures

The Russian unit of currency is the ruble, composed of 100 kopecks.

The rate of exchange is relatively stable at 28-29 rubles to the dollar. Check local banks or hotels for the latest rate.

Numerous banks and dollar exchange facilities are located throughout the city.

The metric system of weights and measures is used.

Special Information

The importation and use of Global Positioning Systems and other radio electronic devices are subject to special rules and regulations in Russia. In general, mapping and natural resource data collection activities associated with normal, commercial, and scientific collaboration may result in seizure of the equipment and/or arrest of the user. The penalty for using a GPS device in a manner which is determined to have compromised Russian national security can be a prison term of ten to twenty years. In December 1997, a U.S. citizen was imprisoned in Rostov-na-Donu for ten days on charges of espionage for using a GPS device to check the efficacy of newly-installed telecommunications equipment. He and his company believed the GPS had been legally imported and were not aware that Russian authorities considered nearby government installations secret.

No traveler should seek to import or use GPS equipment in any manner unless it has been properly and fully documented by the traveler in accordance with the instructions of the Glavgossvyaznadzor (Main Inspectorate in Communications) and is declared in full on a customs declaration at the point of entry to the Russian Federation.

All radio electronic devices brought into Russia must have a certificate from Glavgossvyaznadzor (Main Inspectorate in Communications) of the Russian Federation. This includes all emitting, transmitting, and receiving equipment such as GPS devices, cellular telephones, satellite telephones, and other kinds of radio electronic equipment. Excluded from the list are consumer electronic devices such as AM/FM radios.

To obtain permission to bring in a cellular telephone , an agreement for service from a local cellular provider in Russia is required. That agreement and a letter of guarantee to pay for the cellular service must be sent to Glavgossvyaznadzor along with a request for permission to import the telephone. Based on these documents, a certificate is issued. This procedure is reported to take two weeks. Without a certificate, no cellular telephone can be brought into the country, regardless of whether or not it is meant for use in Russia. Permission for the above devices may also be required from the State Customs Committee of the Russian Federation.

The State Customs Committee has stated that there are no restrictions on bringing laptop computers into the Russian Federation for personal use. The software , however, can be inspected upon departure; and some equipment and software have been confiscated because of the data contained in them, or due to software encryption, which is standard in many programs.

For more information, contact: State Customs Committee of the Russian Federation, Russia 107842 Moscow. 1A Komsomolskaya Place, Telephone: 7-095-975-4070. Department for clearance of items for personal use: Telephone: 7-095-975-4095, Glavgossvyaznadzor, Russia 117909 Moscow, Second Spasnailovkovsky 6, Telephone: 7-095-238-6331, Fax: 7-095-238-5102.

LOCAL HOLIDAYS

Jan. 1 & 2New Year's Day

Jan. 7Christmas (Orthodox)

Jan. 25St. Tatiana Day

Apr. 1Laughter Day (Fool Day)

Apr/MayEaster (Russian Orthodox)

Mar. 8International Women's Day

May 1Labor Day

May 2Spring Day

May 9Victory Day

June 12 Independence Day

Nov. 7Day of Consent and Reconciliation

Dec. 12Constitution Day

RECOMMENDED READING

The following titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country:

Baedeker, Karl. Baedeker's Handbook for Travelers: Russia. Arno Press: New York, 1914 (Reprinted 1970).

Binyon, Michael. Life in Russia. Pantheon: 1984.

Daglieb, Robert. Coping with Russia. Basil Blackwell, Ltd: Oxford, 1985.

Feshback, Murray and Fred Friendly, Jr. Ecocide in the USSR. Basic Books: New York, 1991.

Kaiser, Robert. Russia: The People and the Power. Atheneum: New York, 1976.

Klose, Kevin. Russia and the Russians. Norton & Co.: 1984.

Louis, Victor and Jennifer. The Complete Guide to the Soviet Union. St. Martin's Press: New York, 1980.

Massier, Suzanne. Land of the Fire-bird. Simon & Schuster: New York, 1980.

Plessix Gray, Francine du. Soviet Women Walking the Tightrope. Doubleday: New York, 1989.

Pomer, Vladimir. Parting with Illusions. Avon Books: New York, 1990.

Schecter, Jerrold. An American Family in Moscow. Little, Brown & Co.: Boston, 1975.

Shipler, David K. Russia: Broken Idols, Solemn Dreams. Times Books: New York, 1983.

Smith, Hedrick. The New Russians. Random House, Inc.: New York, 1990.

Smith, Hedrick. The Russians. Quadrangle Books: New York, 1976.

Willis, David. KLASS: Status and Privileges in the Soviet Union. St. Martin's Press: New York, 1985.

Wilson, Edmund. To the Finland Station. Praeger: New York, 1968.

U.S.-Soviet/U.S.-Russian Relations

Bishop, Donald G. The Roosevelt-Litvinov Agreements: The American View. Syracuse University Press: Syracuse, 1965.

Bohlen, Charles E. Witness to History, 1929-1969. Norton: New York, 1973.

Daniels, Robert V. Russia: The Roots of Confrontation. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1985.

Feis, Herbert. From Trust to Terror: Onset of the Cold War, 1945-1950. Norton: New York, 1970.

Harriman, W Averell, and Elie Abel. Special Envoy to Churchill and Stalin, 1945-1946. Random House: New York, 1975.

Horelick, Arnold L., ed. U.S.-Soviet Relations-The Next Phase. Cornell University Press: Ithaca and London, 1986.

Kerman, George F. Soviet-American Relations, 1917-1920 (two volumes). Princeton University Press: Princeton, 1956-58.

Kohler, Foy. Understanding the Russians: A Citizen's Primer. Harper & Row: New York, 1970.

Newhouse, John. Cold Dawn: The Story of SALT. Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Inc.: New York, 1973.

Ulam, Adam B. Expansion and Coexistence: The History of Soviet Foreign Policy, 1917-1973. Praeger: New York, 1974.

. The Bolsheviks. Macmillan: New York, 1965.

Foreign Policy

Edmonds, Robin. Soviet Foreign Policy, 1962-1973: The Paradox of Super Power. Oxford University Press: New York, 1977.

Horelick, Arnold L. and Myron Rush. Strategic Power and Soviet Foreign Policy. University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1966.

Kerman, George E. Russia and the West Under Lenin and Stalin. Little, Brown & Co.: Boston, 1961.

The Old Regime

Bialer, Seweryn. The Soviet Paradox: External Expansion, Internal Decline. Alfred A. Knopf New York, 1986.

Billington, James H. The Icon and the Axe. Knoft: New York, 1966.

Blum, Jerome. Lord and Peasant in Russia from the Ninth to the Nineteenth Century. Princeton University Press: Princeton, 1961.

Byrnes, Robert E, ed. After Brezhnev, Sources of Soviet Conduct in the 1980s. Indiana University Press: Bloomington, 1983.

Pares, Bernard. A History of Russia. AMS Press: New York, 1965.

Pipes, Richard. Russia Under the Old Regime. Scribner: New York, 1975. Venturi, Franco. Roots of Revolution. Grosset and Dunlap: New York, 1966.

The Revolutionary Period

Cohen, Stephen E. Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Political Biography, 1888-1938. Alfred A. Knopf. New York, 1973.

Courtois, Stephane & others. The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression. Harvard University.

Deustcher, Isaac. The Prophet Armed: Trotsky, 1879-1921, vol. 1; The Prophet Unarmed: Trotsky, 1921-1929, vol. 2; and The Prophet Outcast: Trotsky, 1929-1940, vol. 3. Random House: New York, 1965.

Hunt, R. Carew. The Theory and Practice of Communism. Penguin Books: New York, 1963

Marx, Karl. The Communist Manifesto. Penguin Books: New York, 1968.

Pipes, Richard. The Formation of the Soviet Union: Communism and Nationalism, 1917-1923. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1964.

Reed, John. Ten Days That Shook the World. International Publishing Co.: New York, 1967.

Rosenberg, William G., Ed. Bolshevik Visions: First Phase of the Cultural Revolution in Soviet Russia. Ardis Publishers: Ann Arbor, 1984.

Salisbury, Harrison. Black Night, White Snow: Russia's Revolutions (19051917). Doubleday & Co.: New York, 1978.

Trotsky, Leon. The Russian Revolution: The Overthrow of Tzarism and the Triumph of the Soviets. (Abbreviated edition). Doubleday & Co.: New York, 1959.

Tucker, Robert C., ed. The Lenin Anthology. W. W. Norton and Co.: New York, 1975.

Ulam, Adam. Dangerous Relations: The Soviet Union in World Politics, 1970-1982. Oxford University Press: New York, 1983.

Wolfe, Bertram. Three Who Made a Revolution. Dell Publishing Company: New York, 1964.

Zbarsky, Ilya & Samuel Hutchinson. Lenin's Embalmers. Harvill.

The Stalinist Period

Carr, Edward H. A History of Soviet Russia (9 volumes). Macmillan: New York, 1953.

Conquest, Robert. Kolyma. The Arctic Death Camp. Viking Press: New York, 1978.

Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror: Stalin's Purge of the Thirties. Macmillan: New York, 1973.

Djilas, Milovan. Conversations with Stalin. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.: New York, 1962.

Ginsburg, Yevgenia. Journey into the Whirlwind. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.: 1975.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge: The Origins and Consequences of Stalinism. Random House: New York, 1973.

Medvedev, Zhores. The Rise and Fall of T.D. Lysenko. Doubleday & Company: New York, 1971.

Salisbury, Harrison. 900 Days: The Seige of Leningrad. Harper & Row: New York, 1969.

Ulam, Sm. Stalin: The Man and His Era. Viking Press: New York, 1973.

Post-Stalin Period

Barron, John. KGB: The Secret Work of Soviet Secret Agents. Reader's Digest Press: New York, 1974.

Bloch, Sidney and Peter Reddaway. Psychiatric Terror. Basic Books, Inc.: New York, 1977.

Brzezinski, Zbigniew. Ideology and Power in Soviet Politics. Green-wood Press, Inc.: Westport, 1976.

Fainsod, Merle. How Russia Is Ruled. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1963.

Hingley, Ronald. The Russian Mind. Scribner: New York, 1977.

Katz, Zev, et al. Handbook of Major Soviet Nationalities. Free Press: New York, 1975.

Medvedev, Roy and Zhores. A Question of Madness. Random House: New York, 1972.

Medvedev, Roy and Zhores. Krushchev: The Years in Power. Columbia University Press: New York, 1976.

S Chapiro, Leonard. Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Random House: New York, 1971.

Talbott, Strobe, ed. Krushchev Remembers. Little, Brown & Co.: Boston, 1971.

Tatu, Michael. Power in the Kremlin: From Krushchev to Kosygin. Viking Press: New York, 1969.

Tokes, Rudolph L. Dissent in the USSR: Politics, Ideology, and People. Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, 1975.

Russian Literature

Chekhov, Anton. The Cherry Orchard. Grove Press, Inc.: New York, 1977. The Sea Gull. Harper & Row: New York, 1977.

Chekov, Anton. Three Sisters. Macmillan: New York, 1969.

Dostoyevsky, Fedor. Brothers Karamazov. Norton: New York, 1976.

Dostoyevsky, Fedor . Crime and Punishment. Norton: New York, 1975.

Dostoyevsky, Fedor . Notes from the Underground. T.Y. Crowell Co.: New York, 1975. Gogol, Nicolai. Dead Souls. Norton: New York, 1971.

Lermontov. A Hero of Our Times. Penguin Books, New York, 1966.

Tolstoy, L. Anna Karenina. Bantam Books, Inc.: New York, 1977.

Tolstoy, L. War and Peace. Apollo Editions: New York, 1977.

Turgenev. Fathers and Sons. Washington Square Press, Inc.: New York, 1977.

Soviet Literature

Bulgakov, Mikhail. Heart of a Dog. Grove Press, Inc.: New York, 1968.

Bulgakov, Mikhail. Master and Margarita. Grove Press, Inc.: New York, 1967.

Gorky, Maxim. Mother. Progress Publications: Chicago, 1976.

Kopelev, Lev. To Be Preserved Forever. J.B. Lippincott, Company: Philadelphia, 1977.

Pasternak, Boris. Dr. Zhivago. New American Library: New York, 1974.

Sholokhov, T. Mikhail. And Quiet Flows the Don. Random House: New York, 1965.

Solzhenitsyn, A. August 1914. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc.: New York, 1972.

Solzhenitsyn, A. Cancer Ward. Dell Publishing Co.: New York, 1974.

Solzhenitsyn, A. The First Circle. Bantam Books, Inc.: New York, 1976.

Solzhenitsyn, A. The Gulag Archipelago (3 volumes). Harper & Row: New York, 1974-77.

Solzhenitsyn, A. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Praeger: New York, 1963.

Tertz, Abram. The Trial Begins. McCosh, Melvin, Bookseller: Excelsior, 1960.

Voinovich, Vladimir. The Ivankaid. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc.: New York, 1977.

Voinovich, Vladimir. The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc.: New York, 1977.

Voznesensky, Andrei. Antiworlds and the Fifth Ace. Schocken Books, Inc.: New York, 1973.

Zamiatin, Eugene. We. Gregg Press, Inc.: Boston, 1975.

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RUSSIA

Compiled from the December 2003 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.




Official Name:
Russian Federation

PROFILE
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
DEFENSE
U.S.-RUSSIA RELATIONS
TRAVEL


PROFILE


Geography

Area: 17 million sq. km. (6.5 million sq. mi.); about 1.8 times the size of the United States.

Cities: Capital—Moscow (pop. 8.3 million). Other cities—St. Petersburg (4.6 million), Novosibirsk (1.4 million), Nizhniy Novgorod (1.3 million).

Terrain: Broad plain with low hills west of Urals; vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia; uplands and mountains (Caucasus range) along southern borders.

Climate: Northern continental, from subarctic to subtropical.


People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Russian(s).

Population: (2002 est.) 145 million.

Annual growth rate: (2001 est.) - 0.35%.

Ethnic groups: Russian 81%, Tatar 4%, Ukrainian 3%, other 12%.

Religion: Russian Orthodox, Islam, Judaism, Roman Catholicism, Protestant, Buddhist, other.

Language: Russian (official); more than 140 other languages and dialects.

Education: (total pop.) Literacy—98%.

Health: Life expectancy (2001 est.)—62 yrs. men, 73 yrs. women.

Work force: (85 million) Production and economic services—84%; government—16%.


Government

Type: Federation.

Independence: August 24, 1991.

Constitution: December 12, 1993.

Branches: Executive—president, prime minister (chairman of the government). Legislative—Federal Assembly (Federation Council, State Duma). Judicial—Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, Supreme Court of Arbitration, Office of Procurator General.

Political parties: Shifting. The 1999 elections were contested by Conservative Movement of Russia, Russian All-Peoples Union, Women of Russia, Stalin Bloc-For the U.S.S.R., Yabloko, Working Russia, Peace-Labor-May, Bloc of Nikolayev and Federov, Spiritual Heritage, Congress of Russian Communities, Peace and Unity Party, Party for the Protection of Women, Unity Interregional Movement, Social Democrats, Movement in Support of the Army, Zhirinovskiy's Bloc, For Civic Dignity, Fatherland-All Russia, Communist Party, Russian Cause, All-Russian Political Party of the People, Union of Right Forces, Our Home is Russia, Socialist Party of Russia, Party of Pensioners and the Russian Socialist Party.

Subdivisions: 21 autonomous republics and 68 autonomous territories and regions.

Suffrage: Universal at 18 years.


Economy

(2002 est.)

GDP: $287.7 billion (purchasing power parity estimated at $1.27 trillion in 2002).

Growth rate: (2002) 4.3%.

Per capita GDP: $2,320 (purchasing power parity estimated at $8,800 in 2002).

Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, timber, furs, precious and nonferrous metals.

Agriculture: Products—Grain, sugarbeets, sunflower seeds, meat, dairy products.

Industry: Types—Complete range of manufactures: automobiles, trucks, trains, agricultural equipment, advanced aircraft, aerospace, machine and equipment products; mining and extractive industry; medical and scientific instruments; construction equipment.

Trade: (2002) Exports (f.o.b.)—$107.22 billion: petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas, woods and wood products, metals, chemicals. Major markets—EU, NIS, China, Japan. Imports (f.o.b.)—$60.96 billion: machinery and equipment, chemicals, consumer goods, medicines, meat, sugar, semi-finished metal products. Major partners—EU, U.S., NIS, Japan, China. U.S. exports (f.a.s)—$2.40 billion. Principal U.S. exports (2002)—oil/gas equipment, poultry, inorganic chemicals, tobacco, aircraft, medical equipment, autos/parts. U.S. imports (customs value)—$6.82 billion. Principal U.S. imports (2002)—oil, aluminum, chemicals, platinum, iron/steel, fish and crustaceans, knit apparel, nickel, wood, and copper.




PEOPLE

Russia's area is about 17 million square kilometers (6.5 million sq. mi.). It remains the largest country in the world by more than 2.5 million square miles. Its population density is about 22 persons per square mile (9 per sq. km.), making it one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. Its population is predominantly urban.


Most of the roughly 150 million Russians derive from the Eastern Slavic family of peoples, whose original homeland was probably present-day Poland. Russian is the official language of Russia and an official language in the United Nations. As the language of writers such as Pushkin, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekov, and Solzhenitsyn, it has great importance in world literature.


Russia's educational system has produced nearly 100% literacy. About 3 million students attend Russia's 519 institutions of higher education and 48 universities. As a result of great emphasis on science and technology in education, Russian medical, mathematical, scientific, and space and aviation research is generally of a high order. The number of doctors in relation to the population is high by American standards, although medical care in Russia, even in major cities, is far below Western standards.


The Russian labor force is undergoing tremendous changes. Although well-educated and skilled, it is largely mismatched to the rapidly changing needs of the Russian economy. Millions of Russian workers are underemployed. Unemployment is highest among women and young people. Many Russian workers compensate by working other part-time jobs. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the economic dislocation it engendered, the standard of living fell dramatically. The standard of living has been on the rise since 1999, but almost one-third of the population still does not meet the minimum subsistence level for money income. The Russian Ministry of Economic Development and Trade estimates that the percentage of people under the subsistence level will gradually decrease by 23%-25% in the period up to 2005.

Moscow is the largest city (population 8.3 million) and is the capital of the Federation. Moscow continues to be the center of Russian Government and is increasingly important as an economic and business center. Its cultural tradition is rich, and there are many museums devoted to art, literature, music, dance, history, and science. It has hundreds of churches and dozens of notable cathedrals; it has become Russia's principal magnet for foreign investment and business presence.


St. Petersburg, established in 1703 by Peter the Great as the capital of the Russian Empire, was called Petrograd during World War I and Leningrad after 1924. In 1991, as the result of a city referendum, it was renamed St. Petersburg. Under the Tsars, the city was Russia's cultural, intellectual, commercial, financial, and industrial center. After the capital was moved back to Moscow in 1918, the city's political significance declined, but it remained a cultural, scientific, and military-industrial center. The Hermitage is one of the world's great fine arts museums. Finally, Vladivostok, located in the Russian Far East, is becoming an important center for trade with the Pacific Rim countries.




HISTORY

Human experience on the territory of present-day Russia dates back to Paleolithic times. Greek traders conducted extensive commerce with Scythian tribes around the shores of the Black Sea and the Crimean region. In the third century B.C., Scythians were displaced by Sarmatians, who in turn were overrun by waves of Germanic Goths. In the third century A.D., Asiatic Huns replaced the Goths and were in turn conquered by Turkic Avars in the sixth century. By the ninth century, Eastern Slavs began to settle in what is now Ukraine, Belarus, and the Novgorod and Smolensk regions.

In 862, the political entity known as Kievan Rus was established in what is now Ukraine and lasted until the 12th century. In the 10th century, Christianity became the state religion under Vladimir, who adopted Greek Orthodox rites. Consequently, Byzantine culture predominated, as is evident in much of Russia's architectural, musical, and artistic heritage. Over the next centuries, various invaders assaulted the Kievan state and, finally, Mongols under Batu Khan destroyed the main population centers except for Novgorod and Pskov and prevailed over the region until 1480.


In the post-Mongol period, Muscovy gradually became the dominant principality and was able, through diplomacy and conquest, to establish suzerainty over European Russia. Ivan III (1462-1505) was able to refer to his empire as "the Third Rome" and heir to the Byzantine tradition, and a century later the Romanov dynasty was established under Tsar Mikhail in 1613.


During Peter the Great's reign (1689-1725), Russia began modernizing, and European influences spread in Russia. Peter created Western-style military forces, subordinated the Russian Orthodox Church hierarchy to the Tsar, reformed the entire governmental structure, and established the beginnings of a Western-style education system. His introduction of European customs generated nationalistic resentments in society and spawned the philosophical rivalry between "Westernizers" and nationalistic "Slavophiles" that remains a key

dynamic of current Russian social and political thought.


Peter's expansionist policies were continued by Catherine the Great, who established Russia as a continental power. During her reign (1762-96), power was centralized in the monarchy, and administrative reforms concentrated great wealth and privilege in the hands of the Russian nobility.


Napoleon failed in his attempt in 1812 to conquer Russia after occupying Moscow; his defeat and the continental order that emerged following the Congress of Vienna (1814-15) set the stage for Russia and Austria-Hungary to dominate the affairs of eastern Europe for the next century.


During the 19th century, the Russian Government sought to suppress repeated attempts at reform from within. Its economy failed to compete with those of Western countries. Russian cities were growing without an industrial base to generate employment, although emancipation of the serfs in 1861 foreshadowed urbanization and rapid industrialization late in the century. At the same time, Russia expanded across Siberia until the port of Vladivostok was opened on the Pacific coast in 1860. The Trans-Siberian Railroad opened vast frontiers to development late in the century. In the 19th century, Russian culture flourished as Russian artists made significant contributions to world literature, visual arts, dance, and music.

Imperial decline was evident in Russia's defeat in the unpopular Russo-Japanese war in 1905. Subsequent civic disturbances forced Tsar Nicholas II to grant a constitution and introduce limited democratic reforms.

The government suppressed opposition and manipulated popular anger into anti-Semitic pogroms. Attempts at economic reform, such as land reform, were incomplete.


1917 Revolution and the U.S.S.R.

The ruinous effects of World War I, combined with internal pressures, sparked the March 1917 uprising, which led Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate the throne. A provisional government came to power, headed by Aleksandr Kerenskiy. On November 7, 1917, the Bolshevik Party, led by Vladimir Lenin, seized control and established the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic. Civil war broke out in 1918 between Lenin's "Red" army and various "White" forces and lasted until 1920, when, despite foreign interventions, the Bolsheviks triumphed. After the Red army conquered Ukraine, Belorussia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia, a new nation was formed in 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.


The U.S.S.R. lasted 69 years. In the 1930s, tens of millions of its citizens were collectivized under state agricultural and industrial enterprises. Millions died in political purges, the vast penal and labor system, or in state-created famines. During World War II, as many as 20 million Soviet citizens died. In 1949, the U.S.S.R. developed its own nuclear arsenal.


First among its political figures was Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik Party and head of the first Soviet Government, who died in 1924. In the late 1920s, Josif Stalin emerged as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) amidst intraparty rivalries; he maintained complete control over Soviet domestic and international policy until his death in 1953. His successor, Nikita Khrushchev, served as Communist Party leader until he was ousted in 1964. Aleksey Kosygin became Chairman of the Council of Ministers, and Leonid Brezhnev was made First Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee in 1964. But in 1971, Brezhnev rose to become "first among equals" in a collective leadership. Brezhnev died in 1982 and was succeeded by Yuriy Andropov (1982-84), Konstantin Chernenko (1984-85), and Mikhail Gorbachev, who resigned as Soviet President on December 25, 1991. On December 26, 1991, the U.S.S.R. was formally dissolved.


The Russian Federation

After the December 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation became its largest successor state, inheriting its permanent seat on the UN Security Council, as well as the bulk of its foreign assets and debt.


Boris Yeltsin was elected President of Russia by popular vote in June 1991. By the fall of 1993, politics in Russia reached a stalemate between President Yeltsin and the Parliament. The Parliament had succeeded in blocking, overturning, or ignoring the President's initiatives on drafting a new Constitution, conducting new elections, and making further progress on democratic and economic reforms.

In a dramatic speech in September 1993, President Yeltsin dissolved the Russian parliament and called for new national elections and a new Constitution. The standoff between the executive branch and opponents in the legislature turned violent in October after supporters of the Parliament tried to instigate an armed insurrection. Yeltsin ordered the army to respond with force to capture the Parliament building (known as the White House).


In December 1993, voters elected a new Parliament and approved a new Constitution that had been drafted by the Yeltsin government. Yeltsin has remained the dominant political figure, although a broad array of parties, including ultra-nationalists, liberals, agrarians, and communists, have substantial representation in the Parliament and compete actively in elections at all levels of government.


In late 1994, the Russian security forces launched a brutal operation in the Republic of Chechnya against rebels who were intent on separation from Russia. Along with their opponents, Russian forces committed numerous violations of human rights. The Russian Army used heavy weapons against civilians. Tens of thousands of them were killed and more than 500,000 displaced during the course of the war. The protracted conflict, which received close scrutiny in the Russian media, raised serious human rights and humanitarian concerns abroad as well as within Russia.


After numerous unsuccessful attempts to institute a cease-fire, in August 1996 the Russian and Chechen authorities negotiated a settlement that resulted in a complete withdrawal of Russian troops and the holding of elections in January 1997. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) played a major role in facilitating the negotiation. A peace treaty was concluded in May 1997. Following an August 1999 attack into Dagestan by Chechen separatists and the September 1999 bombings of two apartment buildings in Moscow, the federal government launched a military campaign in to Chechnya. Russian authorities accused the Chechen government of failing to stop the growth of the rebels activities and failure to curb widespread banditry and hostage-taking in the republic. By spring 2000, federal forces claimed control over Chechen territory, but fighting continues as rebel fighters regularly ambush Russian forces in the region.




GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

In the political system established by the 1993 Constitution, the president wields considerable executive power. There is no vice president, and the legislative is far weaker than the executive. The president nominates the highest state officials, including the prime minister, who must be approved by the Duma. The president can pass decrees without consent from the Duma. He also is head of the armed forces and of the national security council.


Duma elections were held on December 7, 2003, and presidential elections are scheduled for March 14, 2004. The pro-government party, United Russia, won close to half of the seats in the Duma. Combined with its allies, it controls almost a two-thirds majority. The OSCE judged the Duma elections as failing to meet international standards for fairness, due largely to extensive slanted media bias in the campaign. In the last presidential election, in March 2000, Vladimir Putin, named Acting President following the December 31 resignation of Boris Yeltsin, was elected in the first round with 53% of the vote.


Russia is a federation, but the precise distribution of powers between the central government and the regional and local authorities is still evolving. The Russian Federation consists of 89 components, including two federal cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg. The Constitution explicitly defines the federal government's exclusive powers, but it also describes most key regional issues as the joint responsibility of the federal government and the Federation components.


Judicial System

Russia's judiciary and justice system are weak. Numerous matters that are dealt with by administrative authority in European countries remain subject to political influence in Russia. The Constitutional Court was reconvened in March 1995 following its suspension by President Yeltsin in October 1993. The 1993 Constitution empowers the court to arbitrate disputes between the executive and legislative branches and between Moscow and the regional and local governments. The court also is authorized to rule on violations of constitutional rights, to examine appeals from various bodies, and to participate in impeachment proceedings against the president. The July 1994 Law on the Constitutional Court prohibits the court from examining cases on its own initiative and limits the scope of issues the court can hear.


In the past few years, the Russian Government has begun to reform the criminal justice system and judicial institutions, including the reintroduction of jury trials in certain criminal cases. Despite these efforts, judges are only beginning to assert their constitutionally mandated independence from other branches of government.


The Duma passed a Criminal Procedure Code and other judicial reforms during its 2001 session. These reforms help make the Russian judicial system more compatible with its Western counterparts and are seen by most as an accomplishment in human rights. The reforms have reintroduced jury trials in certain criminal cases and created a more adversarial system of criminal trials that protect the rights of defendants more adequately. In 2002, the introduction of the new code led to significant reductions in time spent in detention for new detainees, and the number of suspects placed in pretrial detention declined by 30%.


Human Rights

Russia's human rights record remains uneven and has worsened in some areas in recent years. Despite significant improvements in conditions following the end of the Soviet Union, problem areas remain. In particular, the Russian Government's military policy in Chechnya is a cause for international concern. Government forces have killed numerous civilians through the use of indiscriminate force in Chechnya. There have been credible allegations of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by Russian forces. Chechen groups also have committed abuses as well as acts of terrorism. Although the government has made progress in recognizing the legitimacy of international human rights standards, the institutionalization of procedures to safeguard these rights has lagged. There are, however, indications that the law is becoming an increasingly important tool for those seeking to protect human rights; after a lengthy trial and eight separate indictments, environmental whistleblower Alexander Nikitin was acquitted of espionage charges relating to publication of material exposing hazards posed by the Russian Navy's aging nuclear fleet. On September 13, 2001, the Presidium of the Supreme Court dismissed the prosecution's last appeal against the December 29, 1999 acquittal of Nikitin. Nonetheless, serious problems remain.


The judiciary is often subject to manipulation by political authorities and is plagued by large case backlogs and trial delays. Lengthy pretrial detention remains a serious problem. Russia has one of the highest prison population rates in the world, at 685 per 100,000. There are credible reports of beating and torturing of inmates and detainees by law enforcement and correctional officials. Prison conditions fall well below international standards. In 2000, human rights Ombudsman Oleg Mironov estimated that 50% of prisoners with whom he spoke claimed to have been tortured. Human rights groups estimate that about 11,000 inmates and prison detainees die annually, most because of overcrowding, disease, and lack of medical care. In 2001, President Putin pronounced a moratorium on the death penalty. However, there are reports that the Russian Government might still be violating promises they made upon entering the European Council, especially in terms of prison control and conditions.

Human rights groups are very critical of cases of Chechens disappearing in the custody of Russian officials. Russian authorities have introduced some improvements, including better access to complaint mechanisms, the formal opening of investigations in most cases, and the introduction of two decrees requiring the presence of civilian investigators and other nonmilitary personnel during all largescale military operations and targeted search and seizure operations. Human rights groups welcome these changes but claim that most abuses remain uninvestigated and unpunished.


Efforts to institutionalize official human rights bodies have been mixed. In 1996, human rights activist Sergey Kovalev resigned as chairman of the Presidential Human Rights Commission to protest the government's record, particularly the war in Chechnya. Parliament in 1997 passed a law establishing a "human rights ombudsman," a position that is provided for in Russia's constitution and is required of members of the Council of Europe, to which Russia was admitted in February 1996. The Duma finally selected Duma deputy Oleg Mironov in May 1998. A member of the Communist Party, Mironov resigned from both the Party and the Duma after the vote, citing the law's stipulation that the Ombudsman be nonpartisan. Because of his party affiliation, and because Mironov had no evident expertise in the field of human rights, his appointment was widely criticized at the time by human rights activists. International human rights groups operate freely in Russia, although the government has hindered the movements and access to information of some individuals investigating the war in Chechnya.


The Russian Constitution provides for freedom of religion and the equality of all religions before the law as well as the separation of church and state. Although Jews and Muslims continue to encounter prejudice and societal discrimination, they have not been inhibited by the government in the free practice of their religion. High-ranking federal officials have condemned anti-Semitic hate crimes, but law enforcement bodies have not effectively prosecuted those responsible. The influx of missionaries over the past several years has led to pressure by groups in Russia, specifically nationalists and the Russian Orthodox Church, to limit the activities of these "nontraditional" religious groups. In response, the Duma passed a restrictive and potentially discriminatory law in October 1997. The law is very complex, with many ambiguous and contradictory provisions. The law's most controversial provisions separate religious "groups" and "organizations" and introduce a 15-year rule, which allows groups that have been in existence for 15 years or longer to obtain accredited status. Senior Russian officials have pledged to implement the 1997 law on religion in a manner that is not in conflict with Russia's international human rights obligations. Some local officials, however, have used the law as a pretext to restrict religious liberty.


The Constitution guarantees citizens the right to choose their place of residence and to travel abroad. Some big-city governments, however, have restricted this right through residential registration rules that closely resemble the Soviet-era "propiska" regulations. Although the rules were touted as a notification device rather than a control system, their implementation has produced many of the same results as the propiska system. The freedom to travel abroad and emigrate is respected although restrictions may apply to those who have had access to state secrets. Recognizing this progress, since 1994, the U.S. President has found Russia to be in full compliance with the provisions of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment.


Principal Government Officials
Last Updated: 1/14/04


President: Putin, Vladimir Vladimirovich

Premier: Kasyanov, Mikhail Mikhaylovich

Dep. Premier: Aleshin, Boris Sergeyevich

Dep. Premier: Gordeyev, Aleksey Vasilyevich

Dep. Premier: Karelova, Galina Nikolayevna

Dep. Premier: Khristenko, Viktor Borisovich

Dep. Premier: Kudrin, Aleksey Leonidovich

Dep. Premier: Yakovlev, Vladimir Anatolyevich

Min. of Agriculture: Gordeyev, Aleksey Vasilyevich

Min. of Anti-Monopoly Policy & Enterprise Support: Yuzhanov, Ilya Arturovich

Min. of Atomic Energy: Rumyantsev, Aleksandr Yuryevich

Min. of Civil Defense, Emergencies, & Natural Disasters: Shoygu, Sergey Kuzhugetovich

Min. of Culture: Shvydkoy, Mikhail Yefimovich

Min. of Defense: Ivanov, Sergey Borisovich

Min. of Economic Development & Trade: Gref, German Oskarovich

Min. of Education: Filippov, Vladimir Mikhaylovich

Min. of Energy: Yusufov, Igor Khanukovich

Min. of Finance: Kudrin, Aleksey Leonidovich

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Ivanov, Igor Sergeyevich

Min. of Health: Shevchenko, Yuriy Leonidovich

Min. of Industry, Science, & Technology (Acting): Fursenko, Andrey Aleksandrovich

Min. of Internal Affairs (MVD) (Acting): Nurgaliyev, Rashid Gumarovich

Min. of Justice: Chayka, Yuriy Yakovlevich

Min. of Labor & Social Development: Pochinok, Aleksandr Petrovich

Min. of Nationalities Policy: Zorin, Vladimir Yuryevich

Min. of Natural Resources: Artyukhov, Vitaliy Grigoryevich

Min. of Press, Television & Radio Broadcasting, & Mass Communications: Lesin, Mikhail Yuryevich

Min. of Property Relations: Gazizullin, Farit Rafikovich

Min. of Railways: Morozov, Vadim Nikolayevich

Min. of Socioeconomic Development in Chechnya: Ilyasov, Stanislav Valentinovich

Min. of Taxes & Levies: Bukayev, Gennadiy Ivanovich

Min. of Telecommunications & Information: Reyman, Leonid Dododzhonovich

Min. of Transportation: Frank, Sergey Ottovich

Dir., Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR): Lebedev, Sergey Nikolayevich

Head, Federal Security Service (FSB): Patrushev, Nikolay Platonovich

Head, Government Apparatus: Merzlikin, Konstantin Eduardovich

Sec., Security Council: Rushaylo, Vladimir Borisovich

Chmn., Central Bank of Russia: Ignatyev, Sergey Mikhaylovich

Procurator General: Ustinov, Vladimir Vasilyevich

Ambassador to the US: Ushakov, Yuriy Viktorovich

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Lavrov, Sergey Viktorovich



The Russian Federation maintains an embassy at 2650 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20007 (tel. 202-298-5700) and a consular section at 2641 Tunlaw Road, Washington DC (tel. 202-939-8907/8913/8918). Russian consulates also are located in New York, San Francisco, and Seattle.




ECONOMY

The Russian economy underwent tremendous stress as it moved from a centrally planned economy to a free market system. Difficulties in implementing fiscal reforms aimed at raising government revenues and a dependence on short-term borrowing to finance budget deficits led to a serious financial crisis in 1998. Lower prices for Russia's major export earners (oil and minerals) and a loss of investor confidence due to the Asian financial crisis exacerbated financial problems. The result was a rapid decline and steep (60%) in the value of the ruble, flight of foreign investment, delayed payments on sovereign and private debts, a breakdown of commercial transactions through the banking system, and the threat of runaway inflation.


Russia, however, appears to have weathered the crisis relatively well. The following year real GDP increased by the highest percentage since the fall of the Soviet Union, the ruble stabilized, inflation was moderate, and investment began to increase again. Russia is making progress in meeting its foreign debts obligations. During 2000-01, Russia not only met its external debt services but also made large advance repayments of principal on IMF loans but also built up Central Bank reserves with government budget, trade, and current account surpluses. Russia remains current on its foreign debt. Service of the official foreign debt service amounted to about $14 billion in 2002. Large current account surpluses have brought a rapid appreciation of the ruble over the past several years. The appreciation affect has been reduced by channeling some of this money into a government stabilization fund which will help cushion Russia from price shocks should energy prices remain low for an extended period. The ruble appreciation of the past several years has given back much of the terms-of-trade advantage that Russia gained when the ruble fell by 60% during the debt crisis. Oil and gas dominate Russian exports, so Russia remains highly dependent upon the price of energy. Loan and deposit rates at or below the inflation rate inhibit the growth of the banking system and make the allocation of capital and risk much less efficient than it would be otherwise.

In 2003, the debt will rise to $19 billion due to higher Ministry of Finance and Eurobond payments. However, $1 billion of this has been prepaid, and some of the private sector debt may already have been repurchased. Russia continues to explore debt swap/exchange opportunities.


At the June 2002 G8 Summit, leaders of the eight nations signed a statement agreeing to explore cancellation of some of Russia's old Soviet debt to use the savings for safeguarding materials in Russia that could be used by terrorists. Under the proposed deal, $10 billion would come from the United States and $10 billion from other G-8 countries over 10 years.


Gross Domestic Product

Russia's GDP, estimated at $287.9 billion at 2002 exchange rates, increased by 4.3% in 2002 compared to 2001. High oil prices, relatively low inflation (15.1%), and strict government budget led to the growth, while real ruble appreciation slowed it. During 2002, the unemployment rate fell from 9.0% to 7.1%. Combined unemployment and underemployment may exceed those figures. Industrial output in 2002 grew by 3.7% compared to 2001.


Monetary Policy

The exchange rate stabilized in 1999; after falling from 6.5 rubles/dollar in August 1998 to about 25 rubles/dollar by April 1999, one year later it had further depreciated only to about 28.5 rubles/dollar. As of January 2003, the exchange rate was 31.9 rubles/dollar, down from 29.2 rubles/dollar the year before. After some large spikes in inflation following the August 1998 economic crisis, inflation has declined steadily. The consumer price index (CPI) rose 15.1% during 2002, slightly below the 18.6% inflation rate of the previous year but above the inflation target of 12% set in the 2002 budget. The Central Bank's accumulation of foreign reserves drove inflation higher, and that trend is expected to continue.

Government Spending/Taxation

Central and local government expenditures are about equal. Combined they come to about 38% of GDP. Fiscal policy has been very disciplined since the 1998 debt crisis. The overall budget surplus for 2002 was 2.3% of GDP. Much of this growth, which exceeded most expectations for the third consecutive year, was driven by revenue from higher oil prices. Analysts remain skeptical that high rates of economic growth will continue, particularly since Russia's planned budgets through 2005 assume that oil prices will steadily increase. Low oil prices would mean that the Russian economy would not achieve its projected growth. However, high oil prices also would have negative economic effects, as they would cause the ruble to continue to appreciate and make Russian exports less competitive.


Population Aging

Russia's population is falling. Lower birth rates and higher death rates reduced Russia's population at a 0.5% annual rate during the 1990s. By comparison, although in many developed countries birth rates have dropped below the long-term population replacement rate, in only a few countries is the population actually declining. Population decline is particularly drastic in Russia, with higher death rates, especially among working-age males due to poverty, abuse of alcohol and other substances, disease, stress, and other afflictions. Russians generally disapprove of permanent or temporary immigration of workers from countries other than the Russian-speaking former Soviet states that might help solve economic problems brought on by its declining population.


HIV/AIDS

Russia and Ukraine are said to have the highest growth rates of HIV infection in the world. In Russia HIV seems to be transmitted mostly by intravenous drug users sharing needles, although data is very uncertain. Data from the Federal AIDS Center shows that the number of registered cases is doubling every 12 months and by November 2002 had reached 220,000 persons. When this number is adjusted to include people who have not been tested for the disease, estimates of the actual number of infected persons vary from 1-2 million. The high growth rate of AIDS cases will have negative economic consequences. Investment will suffer from the diversion of private and government funds to AIDS treatment. The problems of population aging will be magnified, especially since about 60% of infected individuals in Russia are between 20 and 30 years of age.


Law

Lack of legislation and, where there is legislation, lack of effective law enforcement, in many areas of economic activity is a pressing issue. During 2000 and 2001, changes in government administration increased the power of the central government to compel localities to enforce laws. Progress has been made on pension reform and reform of the electricity sector. Nonetheless, taxation and business regulations are not very predictable, and legal enforcement of private business agreements, especially outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg, is weak. Attitudes left over from the Soviet period will take many years to overcome. Local officials in some areas interfere in business. Government decisions affecting business have often been arbitrary and inconsistent, and corruption remains a serious problem. Crime has increased costs for both local and foreign businesses. On the positive side, Russian businesses are increasingly turning to the courts to resolve disputes. The passage of an improved bankruptcy code in January 1998 was one of the first steps. In 2001, the Duma passed legislation for positive changes within the business and investment sector; the most critical legislation was a deregulation package. A new flat tax boosted income tax collections considerably. This trend in legislation continued through 2002 when the new corporate tax code went into effect.

Natural Resources

The mineral-packed Ural Mountains and the vast oil, gas, coal, and timber reserves of Siberia and the Russian Far East make Russia rich in natural resources. However, most such resources are located in remote and climactically unfavorable areas that are difficult to develop and far from Russian ports. Oil and gas exports continue to be the main source of hard currency, but declining energy prices have hit Russia hard. Russia is a leading producer and exporter of minerals, gold, and all major fuels. The Russian fishing industry is the world's fourth largest, behind Japan, the United States, and China. Russia accounts for one-quarter of the world's production of fresh and frozen fish and about one-third of world output of canned fish. Natural resources, especially energy, dominate Russian exports. Ninety percent of Russian exports to the United States are minerals or other raw materials.


Industry

Russia is one of the most industrialized of the former Soviet republics. However, years of very low investment have left much of Russian industry antiquated and highly inefficient. Besides its resource-based industries, it has developed large manufacturing capacities, notably in machinery. Russia inherited most of the defense industrial base of the Soviet Union, so armaments are the single-largest manufactured goods export category for Russia. Efforts have been made with varying success over the past few years to convert defense industries to civilian use.


Agriculture

Russia comprises roughly three-quarters of the territory of the former Soviet Union but has relatively little area suited for agriculture because of its arid climate and inconsistent rainfall. Northern areas concentrate mainly on livestock, and the southern parts and western Siberia produce grain. Restructuring of former state farms has been an extremely slow process. The new land code passed by the Duma in 2002, which makes it easier for Russians to buy and sell farmland, should speed restructuring and attract new domestic investment to Russian agriculture. Foreigners are not allowed to own farmland in Russia. Private farms and garden plots of individuals account for over one-half of all agricultural production.


Investment

During 2002, cumulative foreign investment increased by 20%. This was mostly due to increases in loans and trade credits since the "other" category accounted for $15.3b out of $19.8b in new 2002 foreign investment in Russia. Russia does poorly in the international competition for foreign investment. Russian investment in their own country also is low. Indeed, $15-$20 billion of Russian capital leaves Russia every year for want to attractive investment opportunities at home. Over the medium to longterm, Russian companies that do not invest to increase their competitiveness will find it harder either to expand exports or protect their recent domestic market gains from higher quality imports.


Foreign direct investment, which includes contributions to starting capital and credits extended by foreign co-owners of enterprises, rose slightly in 1999 and 2000, but decreased in 2001 by about 10%. FDI rose during 2002 by 20% to a total of $20.4 billion. Foreign portfolio investment, which includes shares and securities, decreased dramatically in 1999, but has experienced significant growth since then. During 2002, foreign portfolio investment grew by 20% to reach $1.47 billion in January 2003. Capital flight seems to have slowed, although very large trade surpluses owing to high energy prices are pushing it up again. Inward investment from Cyprus and Gibraltar, two important channels for capital flight from Russia in recent years, suggest that some Russian money is returning home.


A significant drawback for investment is the banking sector, which lacks the resources, the capability, and the trust of the population that it would need to attract substantial savings and direct it toward productive investments. Russia's banks contribute only about 3% of overall investment in Russia. While ruble lending has increased since the October 1998 financial crisis, loans are still only 45% of total bank assets. The Central Bank of Russia reduced its refinancing rate five times in 2000, from 55% to 25%, signaling its interest in lower lending rates. Interest on deposits and loans are often below the inflation rate providing little incentive for depositors. Many Russians prefer to keep their money outside the banking sector. The poorly developed banking system makes it difficult for entrepreneurs to raise capital as well as to permit capital transfer from a capital-rich sector such as energy to capital-poor sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing and to diversify risk. Banks still perceive commercial lending as risky, and some banks are inexperienced with assessing credit risk.


Money on deposit with Russian banks represents only 7% of GDP. Sberbank receives preferential treatment from the state and holds 73% of all bank deposits. It also is the only Russian bank that has a federal deposit insurance guarantee. Sergei Ignatiev recently replaced Viktor Gerashchenko as Chairman of the Russian Central Bank. Under his leadership, necessary banking reforms, including stricter accounting procedures and federal deposit insurance, are likely to be implemented although the switch to International Accounting Standards was recently pushed back from 2004 to 2007.


Trade

During 2002, Russian goods exports rose 5% to $107b while imports grew 12% to $60.9b. World prices continue to have a major effect on export performance, since commodities, particularly oil, natural gas, metals, and timber comprise 80% of Russian exports. Russian GDP growth and the surplus/deficit in the Russian Federation state budget are closely linked to world oil prices.


The combination of import duties, a 20% value-added tax and excise taxes on imported goods (especially automobiles, alcoholic beverages, and aircraft) and an import licensing regime for alcohol still restrain demand for imports. Frequent and unpredictable changes in customs regulations and great variations in enforcement practices from one customs terminal to another also have created problems for foreign and domestic traders and investors. Uncertainty over Russian veterinary regulations cut U.S. poultry exports to Russia by 40% during 2002. Quotas to be introduced for poultry, pork, and beef in spring 2003 will likely keep U.S. poultry exports below their 2001 peak.




FOREIGN RELATIONS

Russia has taken important steps to become a full partner in the world's principal political groupings. On December 27, 1991, Russia assumed the seat formerly held by the Soviet Union in the UN Security Council. Russia also is a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC). It signed the NATO Partnership for Peace initiative on June 22, 1994. On May 27, 1997, NATO and Russia signed the NATO-Russia Founding Act, which provides the basis for an enduring and robust partnership between the Alliance and Russia—one that can make an important contribution to European security architecture in the 21st century. This agreement was superseded by the NATO-Russia Council that was agreed at the Reykjavik Ministerial and unveiled at the Rome NATO Summit in May 2002. On June 24, 1994, Russia and the European Union (EU) signed a partnership and cooperation agreement.


Russia has played an important role in helping mediate international conflicts and has been particularly actively engaged in trying to promote a peace following the conflict in Kosovo, although it announced it would withdraw its peacekeeping contingent from Kosovo by the summer of 2003. Russia is a cosponsor of the Middle East peace process and supports UN and multilateral initiatives in the Persian Gulf, Cambodia, Angola, the former Yugoslavia, and Haiti. Russia is a founding member of the Contact Group and (since the Denver Summit in June 1997) a member of the G-8. In November 1998, Russia joined the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC). Russia has contributed troops to the NATO-led stabilization force in Bosnia and has affirmed its respect for international law and OSCE principles. It has accepted UN and/or OSCE involvement in instances of regional conflict in neighboring countries, including the dispatch of observers to Georgia, Moldova, Tajikistan, and Nagorno-Karabakh.




DEFENSE

Since the breakup of the U.S.S.R., the Russians have discussed rebuilding a viable, cohesive fighting force out of the remaining parts of the former Soviet Armed Forces. A new Russian military doctrine, promulgated in November 1993, implicitly acknowledges the contraction of the old Soviet military into a regional military power without global imperial ambitions. In keeping with its emphasis on the threat of regional conflicts, the doctrine calls for a Russian military that is smaller, lighter, and more mobile, with a higher degree of professionalism and with greater rapid deployment capability. Such a transformation has proven difficult.


The challenge of this task has been magnified by difficult economic conditions in Russia, which have resulted in reduced defense spending. This has led to training cutbacks, wage arrears, and severe shortages of housing and other social amenities for military personnel, with a consequent lowering of morale, cohesion, and fighting effectiveness. The poor combat performance of the Russian Armed Forces in the Chechen conflict in part reflects these breakdowns.


The Russian military is divided into the following branches: ground forces, navy, air force, and strategic rocket forces. The available manpower for the various branches of the Russian Armed Forces was estimated at 38.9 million in 2001. According to Russian reports, in FY 2002, there will be about a 40% increase in arms procurement spending. However, even this increase is not enough to make up for the budget shortfalls of the previous decade. Russia's struggling arms producers will, therefore, intensify their efforts to seek sales to foreign governments.


About 70% of the former Soviet Union's defense industries are located in the Russian Federation. A large number of state-owned defense enterprises are on the brink of collapse as a result of cuts in weapons orders and insufficient funding to shift to production of civilian goods, while at the same time trying to meet payrolls. Many defense firms have been privatized; some have developed significant partnerships with U.S. firms.




U.S.-RUSSIA RELATIONS


Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR)

Often called Nunn-Lugar assistance, this type of assistance is provided to Russia to aid in the dismantling of weapons of mass destruction and to prevent the proliferation of such weapons. The FY 2003 budget for CTR programs in Russia is $288.3 million, up from $262.7 million in FY 2002. Through CTR assistance, the United States is assisting Russia to meet START elimination levels earlier than Russia could do so unassisted.


In Russia, CTR has helped to upgrade the security and safety of nuclear weapons transport vehicles; is improving safeguards for fissile material; assisting with the design and construction of a secure, central storage facility for fissile material from dismantled nuclear weapons; providing assistance to eliminate Russian ICBMs, SLBMs, and strategic bombers; assisting with planning for destruction of chemical weapons and evaluating possible destruction technology; and supporting conversion of weapons of mass destruction to civilian production.

Under the highly enriched uranium (HEU) agreement, the United States is purchasing uranium from Russian weapons for use in power reactors. Also, both the United States and Russia will cooperate to dispose of excess military plutonium. The United States also is assisting Russia in the development of export controls, providing emergency response equipment and training to enhance Russia's ability to respond to accidents involving nuclear weapons, and attempting to increase military-to-military contacts.


In a multilateral effort (the European Union, Japan, and Canada also are involved), the United States also has provided approximately $148 million to support Russian projects funded through the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC), which provides alternative peaceful civilian employment opportunities to scientists and engineers of the former Soviet Union involved with weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.


U.S. Assistance to Russia

Cumulative U.S. assistance figures. Since 1992, the U.S. Government has allocated more than $11.6 billion in assistance to Russia, funding programs in four key areas—security programs, humanitarian assistance, economic reform, and democratic reform—as well as in other high-priority areas such as nuclear reactor safety and public health. The $11.6 billion in assistance provided through Fiscal Year 2003 can be broken down roughly as follows:


  • Almost $5.78 billion in billion in security assistance—including weapons dismantlement and nonproliferation—from the Departments of Defense, Energy, and State;
  • About $3 billion in humanitarian assistance;
  • More than $1.65 billion in economic reform programs;
  • More than $970 million in democratic reform programs; and
  • More than $326 million in cross-sectoral and other assistance programs

The U.S. Government also has supported more than $9 billion in commercial financing and insurance for Russia. As of the end of FY 2002, over 53,000 Russians had traveled to the United States under U.S. Government-funded training and exchange programs. The annual level of FREEDOM Support Act-funded assistance for Russia, which declined from a peak of $1.6 billion in FY 1994 to $95 million in FY 1997, is about $142 million in FY 2003.


For more detailed information on U.S. Government assistance to Russia, please see the Annual Reports to Congress on U.S. Government Assistance to and Cooperative Activities with Eurasia, which are available in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs section on the State Department's website.


How U.S. assistance has evolved. The U.S. Government's strategy for assistance to Russia is based on the premise that Russia's transition to a democratic, free-market system will be a long-term process. The United States will need to remain engaged throughout this process, and, therefore, U.S. assistance emphasizes activities that promote the establishment of lasting ties between Russians and Americans at all levels of society. Over the past few years, the U.S. assistance program has moved away from technical assistance to the central government, although such assistance is still provided when it is appropriate and will help to advance reform. An increasing proportion of U.S. assistance is focused at the regional and municipal level, where programs are helping to build the infrastructure of a market economy, remove impediments to trade and investment, and strengthen civil society.


In general, U.S. assistance programs in Russia are working at the grassroots level by bolstering small business through training and enhanced availability of credit; expanding exchanges so that more Russian citizens can learn about America's market democracy on a first-hand basis; and increasing the number of partnerships between Russian and U.S. cities, universities, hospitals, business associations, charities, and other civic groups.


U.S. security assistance programs help eliminate weapons of mass destruction and prevent proliferation of weapons, weapons materials, delivery systems, technology and weapons expertise, counter terrorism, and promote regional stability and security. The United States has provided Russia assistance to improve physical security at key nuclear weapons storage sites, demilitarize facilities, as well as help enable compliance with arms accords. Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, cooperation in anti-terrorism efforts increased between the United States and Russia. The Administration's "Review of Nonproliferation Assistance to Russia" in FY 2001 resulted in changes to some U.S. security programs and reconfirmed the high priority of security assistance, which was increased to more than $800 million in FY 2002 to Russia.


The amount of U.S. Government-funded humanitarian assistance being provided to Russia peaked at more than $1.1 billion in FY 1999 but declined to about $24 million in FY 2002. This assistance has included the provision of food commodities by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and medical and other humanitarian commodities provided by the Department of State Humanitarian Transport Program. The U.S. Government has provided humanitarian commodities for internally displaced persons in the North Caucasus resulting from the conflict in Chechnya. Commodities such as medical supplies and food and clothing are being shipped and distributed to needy individuals, families, and institutions through the Department of State Humanitarian Transport Program.

Increasingly, U.S. Government-funded economic reform programs are focused in Russia's regions. A limited amount of assistance is targeted at promoting reforms at the national level, particularly with regard to tax administration and Russia's efforts to accede to the World Trade Organization (WTO).


Democratic reform programs are helping Russians develop the building blocks of a democratic society based on the rule of law by providing support to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), independent media, the judiciary, and other key institutions. To support this long-term generational transition, the U.S. Government is increasingly promoting links between U.S. and Russian communities and institutions, including universities, hospitals, and professional associations, and is establishing public-access Internet sites throughout Russia. In addition, the U.S. Government is helping Russia combat crime and corruption through cooperation with U.S. law enforcement agencies and communit y-based groups. A 2001 interagency review of U.S. assistance to Russia, initiated by the National Security Council (NSC) and conducted by the Department of State and NSC, recommended greater focus on supporting entrepreneurs, strengthening civil society and independent media, and improving Russians' health. Special emphasis also was given to working with Russia's younger generation.


Regional Initiative (RI). The RI concentrates an array of U.S. Government technical assistance, business development, and exchange programs in a small group of progressive Russian regions, with the goal of helping to create successful models of economic and political development at the regional level. Over time, it is hoped that these regions will achieve broad-based economic growth, attract outside investment, and build a strong civil society, and that they will participate in efforts to disseminate their experience to other regions of Russia. Three RI sites are operating in Samara, Tomsk, and Khabarovsk/Sakhalin in the Russian Far East. A fourth site, in Novgorod, was graduated successfully in early 2001.

Department of Defense Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program. The Defense Department's (DoD) CTR or "Nunn-Lugar" Program was initiated in FY 1992 to reduce the threat posed to the United States by weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and other weapons remaining on the territory of the former Soviet Union. CTR assistance is provided to Russia—as well as Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine—to aid in storing, safeguarding, and dismantling weapons of mass destruction and to prevent proliferation of such weapons. The United States provided an estimated $2.6 billion in CTR assistance to Russia from FY 1992 through FY 2002. Key projects have included assistance in the elimination of strategic offensive arms, design and construction of a fissile material storage facility, provision of fissile material containers, material control and accounting and physical protection of nuclear materials, and development of a chemical weapons destruction facility and provision of equipment for a pilot laboratory for the safe and secure destruction of chemical weapons.


The CTR Weapons Protection Control and Accounting (WPC&A) Program, started in 1995, is improving security of nuclear weapons during transportation and interim storage. Assistance provided includes supercontainers, railcar upgrades, emergency support equipment, automated inventory control and management systems, computer modeling, a personnel reliability program, 50 sets of "quick-fix" fencing and sensors for storage sites, and the development of a Security Assessment and Training Center to test and evaluate new security systems for storage sites.


CTR Materials Protection, Control, and Accounting Program. Since 1993, the United States and Russia have worked together to prevent the theft or loss of nuclear material by improving nuclear materials protection, control, and accounting (MPC&A). MPC&A improvements are designed to keep nuclear materials secured in the facilities that are authorized to contain them and are a first line of defense against nuclear smuggling that could lead to nuclear proliferation and/or nuclear terrorism. The Department of Energy (DOE) took over the program from the Department of Defense (DoD) and is seeking to enhance the security of weapons-grade fissile materials at more than 40 sites in Russia. Under the highly enriched uranium agreement, the United States is purchasing uranium from Russian weapons for use in U.S. power reactors.


Nonproliferation assistance. Since the early 1990s, a number of security assistance programs started under the DoD CTR program have been transferred to other agencies to implement and fund.


Export control and border security assistance. The United States has provided assistance to Russia to help it develop more effective export control and border security systems and capabilities in order to prevent, deter, and detect the potential proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and associated materials across Russia's vast borders. The objective is to help Russia build export control institutions, infrastructure, and legislation to help prevent weapons proliferation. The State Department funds this assistance, which is carried out by experts from the Departments of Commerce, Energy, and the U.S. Customs Service.


International Science and Technology Center (ISTC). In a multilateral effort involving the European Union, Japan, and Canada, the United States has provided more than $100 million to the Moscow-based ISTC for redirection of former Soviet weapons scientists to peaceful civilian research and development activities in Russia. This U.S. assistance is in addition to millions of dollars in contributions from the EU, Canada, Norway, Japan, and South Korea. The ISTC provides alternative peaceful civilian employment opportunities to scientists and engineers of the former Soviet Union involved with weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. To date, the ISTC has funded more than 500 projects involving more than 21,000 Russian scientists.

Bio redirection assistance. The U.S. Government also continued to help redirect former Soviet biological weapons (BW) scientists and facilities in Russia to important public health and agricultural research through programs funded by the Department of State and implemented by the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (USDA) in conjunction with the ISTC. Bio Redirection collaborative research projects are enabling Russian scientists to work with U.S. counterparts, as well as training and communication upgrades at biotechnical institutes to facilitate interaction with the international scientific community.


Civilian Research and Development Foundation. Similarly, the Department of State continued its support of the Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), a non-governmental, nonprofit foundation established in 1995 by the National Science Foundation with $5 million from the DoD CTR program and a $5 million grant from the Soros Foundation. CRDF funds collaborations on civilian basic and applied research to redirect the efforts of former weapons scientists toward peaceful purposes and promote the development of market economies. In Russia, CRDF awarded $2.95 million in Competitive Grants to Russian projects in FY 2002, made 47 Travel Grants to Russian scientists and initiated 17 new "Next Steps to the Market" Grant Program awards.


Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention (IPP). The DOE's IPP Program provides meaningful, sustainable, non-weapons-related work for former Soviet weapons-of-mass-destruction (WMD) scientists, engineers, and technicians in the NIS through commercially viable market opportunities. IPP provides seed funds for the identification and maturation of technology and facilitates interactions between U.S. industry and NIS institutes for developing industrial partnerships, joint ventures, and other mutually beneficial arrangements.

Nuclear Cities Initiative (NCI). NCI was established by DOE in late FY 1998 to help Russia provide new employment opportunities to the workers who are displaced through downsizing of the Russian nuclear weapons complex. DOE has initially concentrated its efforts on three focus cities of Sarov, Snezhinsk, and Zheleznogorsk, which house the two Russian weapons-design laboratories and a plutonium production enterprise. NCI is helping to create the conditions under which new jobs can be created through economic diversification in these closed cities.


Economic and Democratic Reform Programs

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). USAID has implemented the lion's share of U.S. Government-funded technical assistance to Russia—more than $2 billion since 1992. USAID has devoted its assistance efforts to helping Russia develop democratic institutions and transform its state-controlled economy to one based on market principles. USAID has been active in the areas of privatization and private-sector development, agriculture, energy, housing reform, health, environmental protection, economic restructuring, independent media, and the rule of law.


U.S. Department of State—Public Diplomacy Exchanges (formerly the U.S. Information Agency). More than 32,000 Russians have traveled to the United States on public diplomacy exchanges since 1992. Public diplomacy exchanges promote the growth of democracy and civil society and encourage economic reform and growth of a market economy in Russia. Professional and academic exchanges under this program cover such diverse fields as journalism, public administration, local government, business management, education, political science, and civic education.


Library of Congress. Through FY 2002, the Open World Russian Leadership Program (formerly known as the Russian Leadership Program) has brought almost 5,500 Russians from throughout Russia to the United States for short-term study tours, including up to 150 members of the Russian Parliament for meetings with their counterparts in the U.S. Congress.


U.S. Department of Commerce. The Special American Business Internship Training (SABIT) Program places Russian managers for short-term internships with U.S. companies. To date, more than 1,200 Russians have participated in the SABIT Program. The Commerce Department also operates the Business Information Service for the New Independent States (BISNIS), which provides market information, trade leads, and partnering services to U.S. companies interested in the Russian market.


U.S. Export-Import Bank (Eximbank). Eximbank has approved more than $3.8 billion in loans, loan guarantees, and insurance for transactions in Russia since 1991. Of this total, more than $1 billion was approved under its Oil and Gas Framework Agreement.


U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). OPIC has provided more than $3.8 billion in loans, loan guarantees, and political investment insurance to American companies investing in Russia.


Trade and Development Agency (TDA). TDA has approved approximately $5.7 million in funding for feasibility studies on more than 140 investment projects.


U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In FY 2001, in response to a request by the Russian Government, USDA provided more than 184,000 metric tons of food valued at more than $60 million on a concessional basis under USDA's PL 480, Title I program. The assistance included 100,000 metric tons of nonperishable food donated through U.S. private voluntary organizations (PVOs), 1.7 million tons of wheat on a grant basis, and 1.55 million tons of commodities—including beef, pork, poultry, corn, rice, wheat, and soybeans—on a concessional basis under USDA's PL 480, Title I program. USDA also donated 15,000 tons of corn and vegetable seeds to the Russian Government for the 1999 planting season. In addition, USDA provides training to Russian agriculturists and agricultural faculty through its Cochran Fellowship and Faculty Exchange Programs, with the goal of helping to familiarize the Russian agricultural sector with Western-style agribusiness management, marketing, and other issues, while at the same time increasing U.S. agricultural exports to Russia. Since 1992, more than 600 Russians have traveled to the United States under these two programs.

U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). DoD implements the majority of the U.S. Government's security-related assistance programs through its Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program (see above). DoD also implements the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and International Military Education and Training (IMET) programs in support of the Partnership for Peace. However, these programs were suspended in May 2001 by the State Department in accordance with legal limitations on assistance that went into effect due to Russian arms transfers to nations on the U.S. list of nations sponsoring international terrorism.


U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). DOE funds and implements a wide range of programs in the security area, including the provision of Material Protection Control and Accounting (MPC&A) assistance to secure and prevent proliferation of nuclear materials and plutonium disposition assistance. DOE also is focusing on preventing proliferation of weapons expertise, facilitating the downsizing of Russia's nuclear cities, and improving the safety of Russia's nuclear reactors (see above).

Eurasia Foundation. The Eurasia Foundation, a private, nonprofit, grant-making organization supported by the U.S. Government and private foundations, has awarded more than 3,100 grants totaling more than $62 million to Russian NGOs and U.S.-Russian NGO partnerships since 1993. The foundation's grants have been targeted in three main programmatic areas: private enterprise development, civil society and public administration, and policy. The foundation also has implemented targeted grant initiatives to address specific issues, such as media development and economics research.


Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Moscow (E), Bolshoy Devyatinckiy Pereulok No. 8, 121099 Moscow, Russian Federation • PSC-77, APO AE 09721, Tel [7] (095) 728-5000, Fax 728-5090, emergency after hours Tel 728-5025, PAO Press 728-5131; RIMC Tel 728-5656, Fax 728-5003, CON Tel 728-5217, Fax 728-5358; AID Tel 528-5099, 728-5292, Fax 960-2141/2. Website: www.usembassy.state.gov/moscow

AMB: Alexander R. Vershbow
AMB OMS: Karen Pennington
DCM: John R. Beyrle
MGT: Edward M. Alford
CON: James Pettit
ECO: Mary Warlick
EST: Sandra Dembski
IMO: William Curry
LES: Nancy Pettit
PAO: Larry Wohlers
POL: James Schumaker
RSO: John Gaddis
RIMC: Randy Kreft
AGR: Alan Mustard
AID: Carol Peasley
COM: Dorothy Lutter
CUST: Michael Woodworth
DEA: Christopher Ogilvie
DAO: Rear Admiral Wachendorf
DOE: Andrew Bieniawski
DOJ: Thomas Firestone
DTRO-M: COL Richard Greene
FAA: James Nasiatka
INS: Karen Landsness
IRS: Margaret J. Lullo (res. Bonn)
LAB: Nathan Lane
NASA: Philip Cleary
POW/MIA: Yuri Boguslavsky
TREAS: [Vacant]
USSS: William Boardley (res. Frankfurt)
VOA: Lisa McAdams


U.S. Foreign Commercial Service (Moscow), 23/38 Bolshaya Molthanovka, 121069 Moscow, Russian Federation, Tel [7] (095) 737-5030, Fax 737-5033. E-mail: [email protected]

DIR: Stephan Wasylko


St. Petersburg (CG), Fursh-tadtskaya Ulitsa 15, 191028, St. Petersburg, Russia • PSC 78, Box L, APO AE 09723, Tel [7] (812) 331-2600, after-hours Tel 331-2852; GSO Fax 331-2826; ADM Fax 331-2561.

CG: Morris (Rusty) Hughes
CG OMS: Mary Jorgenson
DPO: Karen Malzahn
POL: Abigail Rupp
COM: William Czajkowski
CON: Margaret Pride
MGT: William Slaven
GSO: William Hunt
RSO: Noelle Licari
BPAO: David Siefkin
IM-IPO: Stephen Weaver, Acting


U.S. Foreign Commercial Service, American Consulate General, 25 Nevskiy Prospect, St. Petersburg, 191186 Russia, Tel [7] (812) 326-2560, Fax 326-2561.


PAO - The American Center, Millionnaya Ulitsa 5/1, 191186 St. Petersburg, Tel [7] (812) 311-8905 or 325-8050, Fax 325-8052.


Vladivostok (CG), Ulitsa Pushkinskaya 32, Vladivostok, Russia, 690001 • Pouch: Dept. of State, 5880 Vladivostok Pl., Wash., D.C. 20521-5880, Tel [7] (4232) 300070 (Note: if calling from the U.S., or the U.K.: dial [7-501] (4232) 30070), Fax (7) (4232) 49-93-72 (if faxing from the U.S. or U.K.: [7-501] (4232) 49-93-72); CON Tel: 49-93-81, Fax 30-00-91 (if faxing from the U.S. or U.K.: [7-501] (4232) 300091); PAO Tel 30-00-70, Fax 30-00-95 (if faxing from the U.S. or U.K.: [7-501] (4232) 300095); FCS Tel. 49-93-81, Fax 30-00-92; PC Tel 22-11-31, Fax 49-69-23.

CG: Pamela Spratlen
MGT: Matthew Johnson
POL/ECO: Randy Houston
BPAO: Tara Rougle
PSO: Matthew Johnson
ISO: [Vacant]
PC: Craig Hart
FCS: William Lawton
CON: Chris Panico


Yekaterinburg (CG), Ulitsa Gogolya 15A, 620151Yekaterinburg • Pouch: 5890 Yekaterinburg Pl., Wash., D.C., 20521-5890, Tel [7] (3432) 564-619, 564-691, 629-888; FCS:564-736; PAO 564-760; Fax 564-515. Email: [email protected]; Website: www.uscgyekat.ur.ru

CG: Scott Rauland
POL/ECO/COM: Barbara Cates
MGT: David Muniz
CON: Gregory Drazek
PAO: [Vacant]


Last Modified: Tuesday, September 30, 2003




TRAVEL


Consular Information Sheet
July 23, 2003


Country Description: Russia is a vast and diverse nation that continues to evolve politically and economically. Travel and living conditions in Russia contrast sharply with those in the United States. Major urban centers show tremendous differences in economic development compared to rural areas. While good tourist facilities exist in Moscow, St. Petersburg and some other large cities, they are not developed in most of Russia and some of the goods and services taken for granted in other countries are not yet available. Travelers may need to cross great distances, especially in Siberia and the Far East, to obtain services from Russian government organizations, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow or one of the three U.S. consulates general in Russia: St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok. Travel to the Caucasus region of Russia is dangerous. The Department of State recommends Americans not travel to Chechnya and adjoining areas, and if they are there, to depart immediately.


Entry and Exit Requirements: Russian Immigration officials at times implement the laws and regulations governing entry and exit inconsistently, especially in remote areas. Travelers should check with the U.S. Embassy or the nearest U.S. consulate to the region they intend to enter or exit Russia. U.S. citizens must possess a valid U.S. passport and appropriate visas for travel to or transit through Russia, whether by train, car, ship or airplane. All foreigners entering Russia must fill out a migration card, depositing one part with immigration authorities at the ort of entry and holding on to the other part for the duration of their stay. Upon exit, the migration card, which serves as a statistical tool and a record of entry, exit and registration, must be turned in to immigration authorities.


Russian visas should be obtained from an embassy or consulate in the U.S. or abroad in advance of travel, as it is impossible to obtain a Russian entry visa upon arrival. Migration cards are available at al ports of entry from Russian immigration officials (Border Guards). Travelers who arrive without an entry visa are not permitted to enter Russia and face immediate expulsion by route of entry, at the traveler's expense. Errors in dates or other information on the visa may result in denial of entry, and it is helpful to have someone who reads Russian check the visa before departing the United States.


Visas are valid for specific purposes and dates. Travelers should ensure that they apply for and receive the correct visa that refl