“So the total number of people who produce nothing and get their wages out of the [Russian] state budget or from wealthy fellow-citizens is 109,397,600.”
Here, to follow my short translation regarding Russia’s performance ratings compared to other nations in LR’s 1 August issue, is a longer piece of ‘sad fun’ published on the site. Whilst every fact may not be absolutely correct, as whole it presents a totally true and terrifying picture of the reality of Russia today. It is an interesting example of the illustrative power of concatenating statistics. To mangle metaphors to the max, read this and you will no longer wonder why Pooty and his Teddy Bear are turning blind eyes left, right and center and are keeping their heads firmly buried in the sand like ostriches
Before selling your dacha, car, and apartment, then packing your bags and emigrating to somewhere, it is highly advisable to find out about the place to which you are proposing to go, to enquire about how life is lived there from sources others that guide books and so on. The best thing to do is to speak with someone you know who has already been there and who knows all the little things about life in your proposed new country of residence.
Now let’s think about Russia in the same way and see what we can find.
Our consultant (a person from a very serious and powerful organisation) [TN: it could well be the person behind this blog] provided us with what to our mind is a load of very interesting statistics. We therefore consider it to be a good and useful thing to share this information with those of you who might be thinking of taking up Russian citizenship and residence – forewarned is fore-armed.
Russia covers an area of 17,075,400 square kilometres, over 45% of which are North of the Arctic Circle, where permafrost and polar nights reign. Russia’s frontiers run to 58,222 kilometres in length. The country has 157,895 towns and villages; of these 30,000 do not have a telephone service and 39,000 actually have no inhabitants. Most of these ghost town and villages are located in the Central Federal Region, the North-West, the Far North, Siberia, and the Far East.
Russia’s population, according to the latest figures available, is 132,000,000 people. Of these 74% (97,680,000) live in towns and town/villages. This breaks down further as follows (counting temporary registrations but not illegal migrants):
Moscow Region – 7,900,000
St. Petersburg – 6,897,000
Leningrad Region – 3,350,000
The following towns have populations of a 1 million or so:
• 1,736,000 are servicemen of all kinds (career military and national servicemen) and employees of military-related enterprises and scientific institutes (this figure includes 1,686 generals and admirals);
• 2,140,000 are serving members of the FSB, FSO, FPS, FAPSI, SVR, FMS, etc etc [TN: Federal Security Service (=KGB), Federal Protection Service, Federal Frontier Service, Federal Agency for Government Communications, Foreign Intelligence Service, Federal Migration Service);
• 2,270,000 are serving members of the Ministry for Emergency Situations, Ministry of the Interior [TN: police], Internal Armed Forces, Ministry of Justice, Narcotics Control, and State Prosecutor’s Office;
• 1,957,000 are employed in the customs, tax, sanitary and other inspections services;
• 1,985,000 are civil servants employed by federal ministries and organisations;
• 1,870,000 are civil servants in various authorities and local representation;
• 1,741,000 are civil servants in various licensing, inspection and registration bodies;
• 2,439,000 are clerks in pension, social service, state insurance and other offices;
• 797,000 are employed in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and government representations abroad (UN, UNESCO etc) • 692,000 are priests and others involved in the maintenace of religious buildings and so on;
• 2,357,000 work as public notaries, in legal services, as lawyers, or are in prison;
• 1,775,600 work as security guards, detectives etc in private security agencies;
• 5,780,000 are unemployed (Rosstat figure).
So the total number of people who produce nothing and get their wages out of the state budget or from wealthy fellow-citizens is 109,397,600.
That leaves 22,602,400 to do everything else. That’s the lot of us and includes all small and middle-sized business, farmers, one-man businesses, and market traders. By the way, this number also includes babies, schoolchildren, students, housewives, homeless tramps, refugees, etc etc.
This also partly explains why Russia’s GNP is not much greater than that of Los Angeles county in the USA.
Only 20% of people in Russia think that the situation is calm and wealthy. Over half the country’s citizens (51%) believe that Russia is going down the wrong road and only 38% of respondents say the believe the country is going in the right direction. 18% of respondents say that they are well-off, 54% think they are badly-off but bearably so, 24% consider their situation to be “no longer tolerable”. 14% hope that their material situation will improve in the future. 22% think that it will get worse. 24% are prepared to take part in mass protests. 19% are prepared to go on strike. 64% of respondents do not have a good opinion of what the government is doing.
The majority of Russians in their daily lives use proverbs, sayings, and popular expressions; 66% use quotes from books, films and song lyrics; 61% use obscene language.
32% of Russians believe that a person’s fate can be affected by magic; 58% do not believe in magic or sorcery; 10% don’t know. Belief and disbelief in magic is distributed more or less evenly in both towns and rural areas. Only in Moscow do 74% of those questioned not believe in any occult sciences.
Over 40% of goods sold in Moscow are adulterated. The most frequently adulterated goods are vegetable oils and butter, condensed milk, tea, coffee, mineral water, bully beef, honey, and cakes. Topping the list we find: cottage cheese and products thereof, 40-45% of which do not conform to regulations; smetana (33.3%); kebabs (40%); salads (20%); and cakes (18%). These days, nearly 70% of prepared foods are made only to conform to the TU (technical conditions [TN: basic sanitary etc regulations] and not to GOST (actual defined state standards).
In Russia the price of vegetable oil has risen five times more than than the average European rise. Vegetables prices have risen 10 times more than in Europe. Amongst EU countries, the biggest food prices rises in April to May were to be found in Hungary – 2.4%; Slovenia – 1.7%; Finland – 1.3%. In Bulgaria and Greece prices actually went down – by 0.6% and 0.4% respectively.
Moscow has 257 public lavatories, St. Petersburg has 275. That’s one public lavatory for each 22,000 inhabitants, not counting tourists. And they all close at 7 p.m. (Ancient Rome had 144 public lavatories.)
The number of lifts (elevators) that have served beyond their designed safe service time is 36% in Moscow and 49% in St. Petersburg.
Municipal open-air spaces for overnight parking cost 4600 roubles a month – for 2×5 metres of bare tarmac.
Rent on a 60.5 square metre (650 sq.ft) government housing project apartment with three inhabitants is 1800 roubles a month including utilities (heating, hot & cold water, waste, gas, entryphone, TV antenna, garbage collection, stairwell cleaning, and yard maintenance. The basic shopping basket on consumer goods in Russia consists of 407 goods and services. In England it is 650.
According to Agent 002 Realtor Agency, the cost of 1 square metre in an élite apartment in Moscow now exceeds $109,000. The most expensive residences are now to be found on Zachatyevsky, Korobeinikov, Chisty, and Butikovsky Lanes (by Kropotkinskaya Metro station). Apartments cost between $40,000 and $80000 near the Park Kultury, Polyanka, Arbatskaya, and Smolenskaya Metro stations. The most expensive apartment currently on offer is priced at over $22 million. The most expensive apartment on offer in the SW District is priced at $8.19 million and in the W District at $7.42 million.
Russia today has 87 billionaires with a combined capital of $471.4 billion.
The average pension in Russia is 3000 roubles per month. It costs 6800 roubles per month to keep one person in a strict régime labour camp.
According to RBK [RosbiznesKonsulting] Magazine (Issue 11, 2007, p42) the national and ethnic makeup of Moscow is as follows:
Tatars, Bashkirs, Chuvash 10%
Tadzhiks, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Kirghyz 5%
Koreans, Chinese, Vietnamese 5%
Chechens, Daghestani, Ingush 4%
Over 11 million people live in Moscow and of these Russians, Ukrainians, Byelorussians together make up 4,260,000. In Russia’s capital the Slavs are an ethnic minority! [TN: here and elsewhere one cannot help but be struck by the unconscious Russian chauvinism of some thoughts.]
Just over 60 million roubles of state funding was allocated to dealing with problems of homeless and unsupervised juveniles.
Moscow has recently closed down a chain of Chinese restaurants which was selling as lamb dishes that actually were made of feral dogs. The Chinese cooks slaughtered the dogs right in the restaurant kitchens and served the dishes as specialities to their fellow-citizens and as lamb to Russians. They didn’t waste much either; the dogs’ intestines were used to prepare soup base. The figures for 2004 show over 4 million Chinese living in Russia.
In 2007 Russia allocated 800 million roubles of state funding for the development of Islam in the country, we are told by Alexei Grishin, an advisor to the Presidential Administration’s department of internal policy-making. “Cooperation between the state and Moslem organisations is managed at many levels and in a number of directions”, he commented. The main trend would appear to be support for Islamic education, for which the government allocated 400 million roubles last year.
Only 8% of citizens attend Russian Orthodox services at least once a month. 18% attend once a year. 15% less frequently than that. 59% never go to church. 2% make confession once a month or more; 6% a few times a year; 10% once a year or less frequently. 21% did not understand the question.
According to spokespeople for the National Organisation of Russian Moslems, each Friday at least three Russians convert to Islam in St. Petersburg. Most of these converts are of student age. A second mosque will open in St. Petersburg in November, not far from the Pionerskaya Metro station. The old mosque by Gorkovsky Metro station has room for 7,000 worshippers but that is not enough to accommodate all those wishing to worship the Almighty.
Number of officially registered:
Alcoholics over 4,580,000
Drug addicts over 1,870,000
Psychologically ill 978000
Tubercular approx 570,000
Hypertensives over 22,400,000
Over 30 people per day join the ranks of the HIV+ in St. Petersburg. Analysts forecast that there will be over 8 million HIV+ in Russia by 2010.
Russia occupies the #2 place in the world for the distribution of counterfeit or adulterated medicines. 92% of medicines sold through drugstores are counterfeit or have passed their sell-by date. The usual thing is for insufficient quantities of the active ingredient to be added to the medication or for there to be none at all – placebos containing perhaps some honey and starch. Sales of counterfeit medication is valued at 300 million Euro.
Roszdravnadzor [the public health inspectorate] has begun drafting a law on medications permitting clinical trials of medicines using children. According to current law, research into the effects of medical preparations using minors is not permitted.
In 2007, Russia’s international rating from Transparency International for corruption went down sharply. Last year, Russia was placed 126th but this year it is 143rd, on a level with Gambia, Indonesia, and Togo. The World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group Doing Business’ 2008 rating places Russia 106th, just above Tadzhikistan. In that organisation’s section on “licensing as a way of promoting business”, Russia earns itself 177th place out of 178, just one step above Eritrea.
The real volume of corruption in Russia is greater than the country’s economic growth. And it won’t get any better since the law enforcement sector was increased in size by 2% in 2006, the law courts segment by 3.8%, and enforcement by 20.4%. The Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Service increased in size by 176% and now employs 20,469 people. The number of employees of the RF Prosecutor’s Office increased by 2,000. Rosstat’s [the Statistics’ Office] roster grew by 1.4% and now employs 23,796 people.
At 1 January 2008 Russia’s foreign debt was up by 38.7% over the previous year and stood at $430.9 billion. Also at 1 January 2008, the RF Stabilisation Fund stood at $156.81 billion [reserves being formed from the oil windfall]. Norway’s State Oil Fund held $220 billion in early 2006.
Between 1993 and 2006 capital outflow from Russia amounted to $190 billion. In 2005, $14.8 billion fled the country; in 2002 ‘only’ $9.2 billion did so. Capital outflow for the first six months of 2007 amounted, according to preliminary data, to $22.8 billion. In October 2007 the banks alone moved $2.6 billion of foreign currency out of Russia, a little over twice as much as the previous month. Cash transfers out of the country in October 2007 were $1 billion.
Retail vodka sales in 2006 were 2.12 billion litres – 80% more than the total legal production of all vodka distilleries in the country (1.35 billion litres). Excise tax on ethyl alcohol was paid on only 84.6% of the alcohol produced.
Moscow has just opened it first sobering-up station for underage alcoholics – the Children’s Narcological Dispensary with the 12th Narcological Clinic.
In early 2006, the public opinion researcher Globescan questioned 39,435 people in 33 countries. Their replies produced a list of the least popular countries in the world, with Iran, the USA, and Russia at its top. Around the world, Russia is least popular in Finland (65% negative feelings), France (62%), Poland (56%), Great Britain (50%), and South Korea (48%). Russia enjoyed the most popularity in Nigeria (55% positive).
In 2004, every 15th house sold for over £1 million in London went to a Russia. According to data from estate agents Knight, Frank, in 2003 Russians spent more than $93 million on homes in England. This went up to £396 million in 2004. In 2006, Russians spent £799 million. This means that Russians hgave so far spent £2,2 billion on property in the UK (the total value of the town of Merthyr Tydfil in Wales (pop. 55,000). Properties value at under £1 million were not included in this calculation.
Civil servants’ privileges include the use of 400,000 automobiles in a fleet worth about 1.5 billion pounds sterling.
By the end of 2006, local government employees (excluding law enforcement etc) numbered 1.58 million, up 7.9% over 2005. St. Petersburg civil servants earn more (average 34,722 roubles) than their Moscow counterparts (average 30,600 roubles).
An audit by the Counting Office [~the Treasury] found that as at 29 December 2003 the register of federal property abroad was only 3% complete. The value of that 3% was over $21 million. Not accounted for are an estimated $2.6 billion’s worth of property belonging to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Transport, Chambers of Commerce and other organisations.
Russia has over 160 control bodies with the right to enter your property to conduct checks. Some of these (the Prosecutor’s Office, the FSB, the MVD, Customs) have the. right to draw up charges against you, decide if a crime is suispected, and carry out arrests.
In 2003, the Qualifications College discharged 68 judges from their posts and brought disciplinary charges against another 220. In 2004, 4 federal judges were sentence to actual prison terms of considerable length.
In Russia, the yearly total of bribes paid to court officials amounts to $210 million. Russia is #43 in a list of corrupt legal systems, putting it on a level with Venezuela, Chile, Congo, Morocco, and Senegal. The average size of bribe paid to court officials in 9,750 roubles.
The country’s judges rate 5th in a rating of the most corrupt branches of government, coming after higher education, ‘free’ medical assistance, call-up, and housing allocation. Russia’s citizens spend in the order of $3 billion a year on bribes.
Russia has an official list of a little over 1000 big-time criminals [TN: tellingly called ‘authorities’ in Russian!]. Of these some 200 consider themselves to be vory v zakone [lit. ‘thieves-in-law’, the criminal crème de la crème – the lawmakers of Russia’s criminal underworld]. The majority of vory v zakone are to be found in Moscow and St. Petersburg, the Moscow, Leningrad and Tver Districts, and in the Krasnodar and Stavropol regions.
According to the Department of Personal Security of the State Department of Internal Affairs of St. Petersburg, the number of criminal charges brought against law enforcement officers has risen nine-fold since 2004. About 35% of the crimes committed by policemen are common-or-garden crimes such as robberies.
80% of officers in the Russian army frankly and openly admit to not feeling loyalty to the state. This should come as no surprise since 99% of the officers in the Russian Armed Forces come from children’s homes and never had a home of their own. This is the only logical explanation for the battle for officers’ housing being waged on all fronts by the Ministry of Defence since way back in Soviet times. It also explains the passion with which Russian generals (of whom the Ministry of Defence has over 1,500) carry on building personal villas (modestly denominated ‘dachas’). The actual number of soldiers doing their compulsory military service who are engaged in this building work is the army’s main military secret. Over 2,000 officers with criminal records continue to serve in the Russian armed forces. By 2015 Moslems will make up a majority of the soldiers and officers in the Russian army. The land holdings of the Russian military have an area greater than that of Austria and the Czech Republic combined, much of it prime land within city limits.
No new equipment was delivered to the Air Defence Force between 1994 and 2007. The Air Defence Force has for a long time been not much more than a shadow of its former self, providing protection to only a very few important potential targets. The cover it provides is full of holes, the largest being everything between Khabarovsk and Irkutsk (2,200 kms as the crow flies or 3,400 kms if the winding of the frontier is taken into account). Not even all the Strategic Missile Force’s divisions enjoy cover from the Air Defence Force, in particular the 7th, 14th, 28th, 35th, and 54th divisions. Such centres of Russian military-industrial production as Perm, Izhevsk, Vladimir, Nizhny Novgorod, Omsk, Chelyabinsk, Tula, and Ulyanovsk do not have full air defence cover.
The Russian Navy has been reduced in size by 60% over the last 10 years. Of 62 nuclear submarines, 12 remain. Of 32 warships, 5 remain. Of 17 escorts only 9 remain and of these only 3 are in active service. As at November 2007, the navy has:
Heavy missile craft 2 (1 in dry-dock)
Missile carriers 4
Destroyers 9 (4 in dry-dock)
Large submarine hunters 9
Small submarine hunters 31
Small missile craft 14
Large landing craft 20
Small landing craft 21
Diesel submarines 15
Deep diving craft 10
Look at it this way: that’s more than enough to protect our oil pipelines.
Minister of Transport Igor Levitin supported a proposal by St. Petersburg city councillors to convert the Baltiisky Zavod Naval Works, the leading naval shipyard in NW Russia, into a pleasure port for cruise boats and yachts. The works occupy 64 hectares (158 acres) which it is proposed to turn into a business district.
Russia was unable to fulfil a Chinese order for 38 IL-76 cargo planes and IL-78 airborne refuelling craft and the contract has been put into abeyance. Earlier this year, Algeria returned a delivery of MiG-29 fighters bought from Russia on the grounds of poor quality. Russia’s latest fighter, the Su-35, is nothing more than an upgrade of a 20-year-old design and to compare it in terms of speed and stealth with the US F-22 Raptor is less than sensible.
In 2005, embezzlement to the tune of 19 billion roubles was found in military spending alone. Starting 2006, such information has been classified secret, just in case.
Military production plants managers sometimes refuse production contracts for the military because the required kickbacks mean the contracts have to be filled at a loss.
2,464 servicemen died as a result of crimes and accidents in the Russian Army last year. Of these, 469 were suicides. Data on physical harm done to soldiers undergoing military service in hazing incidents are not made public by the military. It’s as easy as pie to “serve your way to heaven” in the Russian army.
The Ministry of Defence plans to increase the pensionable age for senior officers. The Vice-Minister, General Nikolai Pankov, stated that lieutenant-colonels will no longer be able to retire at 45 but at 50, full colonels at 55, and generals at 60.
Military call-up continues to cost parents plenty. A price list of sorts actually exists: a leave of absence – 1-2,000 roubles; visitor entry to the unit – 50 roubles; also 500-800 roubles per month protection money to stop seniors from hazing you. Everyone – seniors, sergeants and officers – accepts the payments. As a result, parents are faced with a difficult choice: pay a bribe of $5,000 to buy your son out of the army, or spend over $10,000 during his 2-year stint and still risk having him hurt or made sick.
According to the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers, between August 1999 and June 2007, in Chechnya alone, no fewer than 18,750 servicemen were killed. The number of wounded and crippled is easily calculated using the army’s standard rule of 1:5. Note additionally that the numbers of insurgents (by the way, also citizens of Russia) killed in the course of operation was another 16,900. And that’s killed alone.
Russia has written off Libya’s debt of $4.5 billion. Prior to that, it had already written off Afghanistan’s debt of $11.6 billion and Iraq’s of $12 billion. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani welcomed the move.
Russia has handed over to China parts of its island territories on the Amur river. Sceptics notwithstanding, this is said to have been done voluntarily with no loss of territory for Russia. On the contrary, the reasons for this action were pragmatic and in Moscow’s long-term interest. (Wording from a Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release).
According to the Central Bank of Russia, in the first 2 months of 2008, credits issued amounted to 15.449 trillion roubles. Furthermore, this was on a rising wave since credit given in February were 8.3% higher than in January. Problem debt is also on the rise. In the first three months of the year, repayment defaults rose by 11 billion roubles for a total of 107.4 billion.
Capital flight was also notable, staring in January, when $9 billion left the country. Back then, it was put down to foreigners divesting themselves of investments because the stock market was fluctuating violently. However, by February, things really got going and the total for the two months reached $20 billion. As the Ministry of Finance admits, this amount is more than after the default of 1998 when only the very lazy did not get their money out of the country.
Despite the fact that banks deposits earn at best 12% p.a., 20% of the population keeps its money in banks. 16% keep their money under their mattresses and over 60% have no savings to keep at all. Average monthly income per person in February this year was 8,092 roubles ($344).
But let’s go back to the question of population. Russia has given up on demographic matters. Not that it’s possible to do a detailed analysis of the demographic situation and get at the reasons for the low birth rate: since 1997 to date, data has not been gathered in any meaningful way. The birth rate has gone down in 79 Russian regions and the death rate has gone up in 60. There are 8 million abortions a year in Russia, 1.5% of them late-stage ones. 90,000! – A whole townfull of children killed for money.
The average life span of a Russian male is 59 years. Women survive to 72. Back in 2001, Russia was placed 100th in the longevity tables, already hopelessly behind dozens of developed countries: Russian men then died 15-19 years earlier than their counterparts and women 7-12 earlier. Now we have got ourselves a prize position at #122, ranking along with Guyana and North Korea. Not a great surprise really when the average salary is 5,522 roubles a month. The official minimum subsistence level is 2,493 roubles (1,747 for pensioner, 2,259 for children). 42,200,000 Russians earn less than this.
According to Rosstat, the cost of the minimal food basket in the capital is 1,819.6 roubles (in St. Petersburg it’s 1,647.2). The cheapest place to live is Tatarstan and Chuvashya where the same basket costs 1,277.8 roubles and 1,295.7 roubles respectively. The most expensive is Chukotka – 4,990.1 roubles.
Minister of Regional Development Vldimir Yakovlev thinks that migration and demographic matters are now the number one issue for the country. “There will soon be no one left to work in the country. Up to 60% of Russians are old people, children, and invalids. Of the 20 million people of working age, about 1 million are in prison camps for various crimes, 4 million are serving in the MVD, MChS and FSB systems. Another 4 million are chronic alcoholics with a million drug addicts on top of that,” he stated. The Minister then went on to add that male mortality in Russia was 4 times higher than female. “Loss of healthy men is on a scale similar to the USSR’s losses during WWII,” says Yakovlev.
The number of poor in Russia was down by early 2006 to ‘just’ 27,456,000 or 20.8% of the population. However the gap between rich and poor remains as great as ever, standing at 17:1 then as against 15:1 in 2005. For every 1,000 Russians of working age, there are over 600 of non-working age.
About 2 million children aged up to 14 are beaten by their parents, many to death. 50,000 children run away from home every year to escape domestic violence. 7,000 become victims of sexual crimes. Furthermore, over 2 million children are officially registered as orphans. In St. Petersburg 3,000 more orphans join their fellows every year.
The number of sex crimes against minors has gone up 25-fold. 129 such crimes were registered in 2003, over 3,000 in 2007. In 2007, 2,500 minors were killed and acts of violence committed against a further 70,500. The Russian Prosecutor’s Office stated than 161,00 crimes were committed against children in 2007 and that 2,500 children died as a result.
According to the Rosgosstrakh insurance agency, 160,000 people in Russia have incomes of over $1 million and 440,000 families earn more than $100,000.
According to the Ministry of Social Development, “180,000 people die yearly in Russia from the effects of harmful and dangerous manufacturing conditions” and over 200,00 suffer work-related injuries. 10,000 cases of work-related illnesses are registered each year and 14,000 people become invalids. Russia’s economic losses as a result of unhealthy working conditions costs the country the equivalent of 4% of GNP.
5 people die every minute in Russia, 3 are born. The death rate is 1.8 times that of the birth rate and in some regions 2-3 times.
Every year Russia loses the equivalent of the population of the Pskov district (or of the Karelian Republic or a large town like Krasnodar). Over the last 10 years, the population of the Far East has gone down 40% and of the Far North by 60%. In Siberia, 11,000 villages and 290 towns have disappeared. Deaths from cardiovascular diseases carry off in excess of 1,400,000 a year. Smoking kills 270,000 a year. Nearly 70% of men and over 30% of women smoke. 26,000 children fail to reach the age of 10 every year in Russia. 50 babies die at birth every day, 70% of them in maternity hospitals.
The ambulance stations in Ulyanovsk verge on the catastrophic: they are fuelled on credit and 70% of the vehicles an in an unfit state. In Omsk, 50-60 people a month die because of the late arrival of ambulances. Call for an ambulance in Vladimir and you will be told: “We don’t go out for people under 70.”
Roszdrav [public health service] is planning to release 750,000 socially dangerous psychiatric patients for “treatment in the community”. The police are preparing for extra work.
The State Duma is proposing to abolish some sections of the criminal law relating to the legal responsibility of doctors for negligence. Medical negligence causes 50,000 deaths a year.
Russia is getting older: the average age of the population is 37.7 years. The number of children under 16 has dropped sharply. The average Russian family consists of 2-3 people. It’s no use hoping for any sort of population growth given 8 million abortions a year even if there is a birth rate of sorts – all of 0.3% (402,000). However, in the whole of Russia excepting Daghestan and Ingushetia, the birth rate is lower than the natural replacement rate.
The country loses 1 million potential mothers every five years as they cease to be of birth-bearing age. There are twice as many abortions as births. According to the World Health organisation, we have 8 times as many abortions as the USA, 10 times as many as France and England, 20 times as many as the Netherlands. Badly performed abortions leave 20% of patients no longer being able to give birth. The average Russian woman has 2.1 abortions. 170,000 first-time pregnancies are terminated every year. 64.2% of all pregnancies are terminated by abortions. In Europe any figure above 25% is considered a catastrophe. One in five abortions are performed on minors. The number of Russian women unable to bear a child grows by 200-250,000 per year.
In Russia 30% of children are born out of wedlock. Ten years ago it was 14.6%. An interesting detail: in Russia there are 65,000 more married women than there are married men.
If UN-recorded growth and reduction rates continue the present trend, Yemen’s population will be larger than Russia’s by the middle of the 21st century.
On the other hand, if Russia continues its current raw-materials-based road to development, it will simply not need a population of than 50-60 million.
However, Russia’s persistently falling population is not just the result of “natural wastage”, as officials so delicately put it.
According to the State Prosecutor’s Office, the real level of crime in Russia is 3 times higher than that given in the statistics. In 2004, 1,000,246 crimes, including 5,635 murders, were unsolved. Over 150,000 people a year lose their lives as the result of crime (official MVD statistic).
The new MVD [police] uniform costs 34,000 roubles (~$1,500), twice as much as the current one. Instead of being green, the cloth of the new one is blue. The Trud sewing factory in St. Petersburg (proprietor: Taimuraz Bolloyev, the Chechen ex-owner of the Baltika Brewing Co.) has the contract. One third of the MVD’s force is to get the new uniforms – 870,000 people. This contract is worth 29,580,000,000 roubles. It would cost the same to give 10 million pensioners an extra month’s average pension.
Imports account for 95% of the clothing market in Russia.
The cost of 1km of ring road in St. Petersburg is $8.7 million. The cost of 1km of the Scandinavia Highway leading from Helsinki to the Russian border was $3.4 million.
The seizure by terrorists of the Norf-Ost theatre complex on Dubrovka in Moscow lasted 57 hours. All TV channels carried live broadcasts. Of the 912 hostages, 48 died when the the complex was stormed, 73 died in the buses to which they were taken and in hospital as a result of lack of medical care and because they were not given antidotes. 97 medals, included five ‘Hero of Russia’ Stars, were awarded to members of the storming party. One each went to soliders of the special force Vympel and Alfa groups. FSB Generals V. Pronichev and A. Tikhonov also got one. The fifth star was awarded to the chemist who infiltrated the gas into the building. Iosif Kobzon, the popular singer, was awarded the Order of Courage. Fifty Nord-Ost commemorative medals inscribed with the word “In sympathy” were awarded to members of Moscow City Hall.
34% of 500 St. Petersburgers questioned were in favour of single-sex couples being allowed to register their relationship. 17% wanted homosexual relationships to be re-criminalised.
According to the MChS [Ministry for Emergency Situations], there are about 300,000 fires every year in Russia in which about 20,000 people die and over 12,000 are injured. Losses from fires cost on average 17.2 million roubles a day. No fewer than 40,000 people die every year as a resulting of consuming bad alcohol.
Every local government sub-division of the Russian Federation is legally obliged to have financial and material reserves to be used in case of emergencies: to pay for emergency rescue work, house and feed victims, make one-off assistance payments to the needy etc. 83 local governments do have such reserves; only the Tyva Republic and Moscow District do not. Total material reserves are value today at 5.377 billion roubles (85.5% of what they are supposed to be). That averages out at 37.95 roubles per citizen. The highest reserves are held in the Chukotsk AR – 11,722 roubles per person and the lowest in the Ulyanovsk Oblast – 2.62 roubles per person. Only 9 local government subdivisions hold emergency reserves of more than 130 roubles per person. Emergency rescue funds for the whole of Russia amount to 11.37 billion roubles or 79.95 roubles per person. Indexed by region, we see Chukotsk AR with the highest (1368.58 roubles), Moscow (519.51 roubles), and St. Petersburg (273.45 roubles). Saratov oblast keeps aside 0.39 roubles per person.
Russia is the world’s #1 for premeditated murders – 21.5 per 100,000 people. Nearly 75% of premeditated murders, about 80% of acts of hooliganism, and up to 75% of rapes take place between 6pm and midnight. In 2005, the police registered 30,800 murders and attempted murders; 18,000 people died in this way. 14,000 left this world thanks to criminal driving offences, 15,000 died in fires, 20,000 disappeared without trace, and more than 40,000 unidentified bodies were found. Total: 137,800. In 2006, the police recorded 140,000 criminal deaths. You can add 58,000 suicides to this.
St. Petersburg’s crime-solving rate is the lowest in the country – 60%. It gets worse as the crimes get worse: only 23% of serious and especially serious crimes are solved.
Russia comes 3rd in the world for numbers of people in prison – 605 per 100,000. The USA is in front of us with 710. Behind us come Kazakhstan (598) and Byelorussia (505).
There are 58,000 suicides and 40,000 murders in Russia every year. Peak time for such death are in Spring.
Highest risk groups include called-up soldiers (up to 70% of suicides in the army are first-year soldiers doing their military service), prisoners (60% of their suicides take place in the first 3 months of incarceration or just before being let out), retired officers, and pensioners. According to the Social Security Agency, the young also commit suicide a lot – 53 per 100,000.
Between 12 and 14 million foreigners, of whom 8.8 million have no legal status, live within Russia’s borders. Recently this inflow of foreigners has begun to be seen as positive and has become almost a government policy to compensate for depopulation. At the same time, the country has 6 million Russian unemployed and 4 million homeless.
A state programme has been set up to encourage Russians to come back home from both the far and near abroads. Plans were drawn up for 50,000 such arrivals this year, rising to 100,000 and 150,000 in 2008 and 2009. The state allocated 4.5 billion roubles to this programme which also gets extra funding from the regions involved in it. 252.3 million roubles have already been expended: 400 people have been resettled.
In 2004, 49,821 foreigners were expelled from Moscow, twice as many as in 2003. According to the MVD, since the beginning of 2004, foreigners have committed 41,000 crimes – 20.6% more than in 2003. Most of these crimes consist of using false documents (27.6%), burglaries (17%), illegal drug trade (10.5%), to which can be added robberies, extortion, and assaults.
The most criminally active foreigners in Russia are citizens of other CIS countries. They account for 92% of the crimes committed. Particularly outstanding in this respect are Ukrainians (2004 share – 18.9%), Tadzhiks (16.1%), Uzbeks (12.6%). From the far abroad, criminality is most frequent among the Chinese, the Indians, and the Vietnamese.
Over 70% of teenagers in our country suffer from chronic illnesses. According to the Ministry of Health, 16% of Russian schoolchildren have tried drugs at least once, another 8% constitute a high risk group, and 3.1% of schoolchildren are actually addicted. 178 schoolchildren died of drug overdoses last year. As for higher education, 30% of students have used narcotics, 20% constitute a high-risk group, and 4.8% are drug addicts.
Russia is world #1 for number children and teenagers who smoke tobacco. According to the World Health Organisation, 33% of children and teenagers in Russia are regular smokers and many already suffer from smoking-related chronic illnesses by the age of eighteen.
The Unified State Exam (on finishing school) was passed with full marks of 100 by 496 pupils (0.05% of the 830,415 schoolchildren who took it). 2,000,000 Russian teenagers do not know how to read.
Russian literature as a subject is to be dropped as a compulsory subject for the Unified State Exam. School-leavers may still take the test voluntarily. This decision of the government’s is in line with the de-Russification of the Russian Federation and is on a par with the abolition of the “nationality” entry in Russian passports. Of course, one cannot force anyone to take an exam, but making Pushkin and Tolstoy ‘non-compulsory’ is basically to make Russian culture as a whole non-compulsory.
According to UNESCO figures, in 2007 a total of $520 million was spent on bribes in the higher education sector.
In 2003, 13,000 schools were closed because they failed to meet fire safety standards. The Ministry of Emergency Situations demanded this after checking fire safety in 150,000 schools. At greatest risk from fires were village schools, most of which were built right after WWII.
35 million people have left Russia in the last 35 years (Ministry of Foreign Affairs data). In that time, 3 million have immigrated legally, mostly from the republics of the former USSR.
13,000 people, despite everything, choose Israel
12,000 people go to meet the Australian quota
9,000 smartly choose Germany
7,800 prefer Canada
6,900 marry foreigners and for some reason also leave the country.
Russia holds 3rd place in the world for number of science workers per million population – 3,494. Above us stand only Norway with 4,377 per million and Sweden with 5,186. On the other hand, try counting internet users: Russia only has 42.3 per thousand population while the numbers for Norway and Sweden are 502.6 and 573.1 respectively. Jamaica records 228.4 per thousand.
Experts estimate that about 20,000 Russian scientists are working for EC countries whilst still officially remaining employees of Russian scientific institutions, most of these of the “closed” [TN – i.e secret, military] type.
According to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit and IBM, Russia dropped last year from 48th to 55th place in a ranking of IT usage in 64 major economies. Only 5% of Russian families have internet access and the country spends only 1% of GNP on scientific research. Only 15% of families own a PC. 80% of the traffic on Runet [the Russian-language internet] consists of pornography downloads.
Russia heads the blacklist of countries where it is dangerous to fly. Civilian flights in Russia and the CIS end in disasters twice as frequently as in Africa and 13 times more frequently than the world average.
Passenger flights are now one-third as frequent as in the past and Russia now makes 10 times fewer aircraft. Between 2003 and 2005, Russia made 11-18 airfract a year. America’s Boeing and Europe’s Airbus each produce 350-400 aircraft every year.
Russia has 1,443 electric passenger and freight trains. They are between 70% and 100% worn out.
The human development potential index is one of several general indicators used to express a country’s level of development. Russia’s rating on this index is 0.795, giving it 57th place out of 177 and slotting it between Bulgaria and Libya.
America’s Heritage Foundation rates 155 countries for economic freedom. The most free economy in the world is Hong Kong’s, the least – North Korea’s. Estonia gets a surprisingly good rating – 4th place. Russia is #124, ahead of Romania and Cameroon but trailing Indonesia and Rwanda.
Reporters without Frontiers consider the worst place in the world for press freedom to be North Korea, which it lists in 168th place, Turkmenia – 167th, Eritrea – 166th. Byelorussia is in 151st place and Russia 147th.
Gazprom subsidiary GazPromMedia holds controlling shares in the NTV, TNT, NTV+, NTV-World and NTV-America television channels. It also controls the Ekho Moskvy, Radio Troika, Popular Radio 1, Do-Radio, Sport-FM radio channels, Sem Dnei Publishers (magazine publishing), the Tribuna newspaper, NTV-Kino film production company, film theatres, the NTV-Media advertising agency, Radio Next, the Izvestiya newspaper, Kommersant publishing. Additionally it is buying up Komsomolskaya Pravda, Express Gazeta, and is currently negotiating for the purchase of the RuTube website.
World oil production reached its maximum level in 2006, far earlier than many experts had expected. Oil production is set to fall from now on by about 7% a year. The world today produces 81 million barrels a day. Energy Watch Group’s experts believe that production may fall to 29 million bpd by 2030.
It will cease to be cost effective to produce a number of natural resources by 2013-2035, states a press release by the Counting Office of the Russian Federation, following a audit carried out between 2005 and 2007.
According to well-known politician Zbigniew Brzezinski Russia will cease to exist as a state by 2012.
Analysts at the Massachusetts Crisis Centre [TN: can’t find it in Google] reckon that a territory the size of Russia’s cannot be controlled by fewer than 50 million people (a population density of 2.9 persons per square kilometre). Compare this with some other population densities: Germany – 235 persons/sq.km; USA 26.97. Considering the data quoted above, Russia could be in this situation in 3-5 years’ time.
A decision has evidently already been taken about the country. Furthermore, it was taken quite some time ago.
And maybe that is why Russia’s politicians find it so easy to promise the electorate absolutely anything at all, so long as it is ten years hence. Consider: at today’s consumption/production rates, oil, uranium , copper, and gold reserves will be exhausted by 2015 and gas in 20-25 years’ time maximum. That will leave forestry. But who will be there to chop down the trees?…
By the way, only 11,700,000 of Russia’s citizens have passports for foreign travel.
Respondents were asked to select from a list what they considered to be the most important items. Alla Pugacheva’s [TN: vile Russian pop lady] wedding was the top choice, Litvinenko’s murder was 2nd, Russia’s sporting failures 3rd. Russians are just not interested in other things.
37% of Russian say their favourite stage artist is stand-up comic Yevgeni Petrosyan.
Afterword from R&F Agency: