U.S. Department of State
Background Notes: Russia, October 1995
Bureau of Public Affairs
Official Name: Russian Federation
Area: 17 million sq. km. (6.5 million sq. mi.); about 1.8 times the
size of the U.S.
Cities: Capital--Moscow (pop. 9 million). Other cities--St. Petersburg
(5 million), Novosibirsk (1.4 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.
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Russian(s).
Population (1994 est.): 148 million.
Annual growth rate: 0%.
Ethnic groups: Russian 81%, Tatar 4%, Ukrainian 3%, Chuvash 1.2%.
Religion: Russian Orthodox, Islamic, Jewish, Roman Catholic,
Protestant, Buddhist, other.
Language: Russian (official); more than 140 other languages and
Education: Literacy--(ages 5-49) 100%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--28/1,000. Life expectancy--62 yrs. men,
74 yrs. women.
Workforce: 72 million. Production and economic services--84%.
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: Russia's Choice, Liberal Democrats Party, Agrarian
Party, Communist Party of the Russian Federations, Unity and Accord,
Yabloko Bloc, Women of Russia, Democratic Party of Russia, Russia's
Subdivisions: 21 autonomous republics and 68 autonomous territories and
Suffrage: Universal at 18 years.
Economy (1994 est.)
GDP: $249 billion.
Growth rate: -10%.
Per capita GDP: $1,682.
Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, timber, furs.
Agriculture: Grain, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, meat, dairy products.
Industry: 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: Exports--$48 billion: petroleum and petroleum products, natural
gas, woods and wood products, metals, chemicals. Major markets--EU,
NIS, United States, Japan, China. Imports--$28 billion: machinery and
equipment, chemicals, consumer goods, medicines, meat, sugar,
semifinished metal products. Major partners--EU, United States, NIS,
Japan, China. (These figures do not include "shuttle"--or informal,
unrecorded--trade. Estimates for all trade are: exports--$66 billion,
Principal U.S. exports: machinery, aircraft, meat.
Principal U.S. imports: aluminum, crude oil, platinum, oil products,
iron and steel.
The area of the entire former Soviet Union was 22 million sq. km. (8.7
million sq. mi.), and its population was about 260 million. Russia's
area is about 17 million sq. km. (6.5 million sq. mi.). It remains the
largest country in the world by more than 2.5 million sq. mi. Its
population density is about 23 persons per square mile (9 per sq. km.),
making it one of the least populated countries in the world. Its
society 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. As the official language of Russia, an official language in the
United Nations, and as a lingua franca among the New Independent States,
Russian--one of the Slavic languages--has great importance
internationally. As the language of writers such as Tolstoy,
Dostoevsky, Chekov, Pushkin, and Solzhenitsyn, it has great importance
in world literature as well.
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 the 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. Since the
collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian scientists have been allowed more
academic freedom and freedom of movement. In some cases, this freedom
has resulted in a serious depletion of the country's human resources, as
many scientists have emigrated to other countries. Many Russian Jews
continue to emigrate to the West and to Israel. 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
The Russian labor force of 72 mil-lion workers is undergoing tremendous
changes. Although well-educated and skilled, it is mismatched to the
rapidly changing needs of the Russian economy. For example, Russia has
a large surplus of scientists, and the largest portion of the workforce
continues to work in obsolete Soviet-era industries. Millions of
Russian workers are underemployed. Unemployment is highest among women
and young people. As many as 6 million workers were temporarily
furloughed in the past year. Many Russian workers compensate by working
other part-time jobs. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the
standard of living fell dramatically, but it has begun to recover.
Moscow is the largest city (population 9 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 visitors will find many museums devoted
to art, literature, music, dance, history, and science. It has hundreds
of churches and some notable cathedrals.
St. Petersburg, established in 1703 by Peter the Great as the capital of
the Russian Empire, was called Petrograd during World War I; just days
after the death of Lenin in 1924, it was renamed Leningrad. In 1991, as
the result of a city referendum, it was renamed St. Petersburg. Under
the czars, the city was Russia's cultural, intellectual, commercial,
financial, and industrial center. After the capital was moved back to
Moscow in 1918, the city declined but remained a cultural and military-
industrial center. It continues to be a center for publications,
education, and scientific research. St. Petersburg has about 30
theaters, concert halls, opera houses, and "palaces of culture." The
Hermitage is one of the world's great museums. Finally, Vladivostok,
located in the Russian Far East, is becoming an important trade center
with the Pacific Rim countries.
The vast Eurasian territory comprising historic Russia shows abundant
evidence of human occupation dating back to Paleolithic times. Written
history indicates that 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 Ukraine, Belorussia, and around Novgorod
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 widely today in Russia's architectural, musical, and art
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. Under Ivan I, Moscow began to assume pre-eminence over
other cities; Muscuvite czars threw off the Mongol influence and
gradually expanded their domain through diplomacy and war, until Ivan
III (1462-1505) was able to refer to his empire as "the Third Rome" and
heir to the Byzantine tradition.
The next 200 years saw the ebb and flow of regional conflict, until the
Romanov dynasty was established under Czar Michael in 1613. This
dynasty ended with the liquidation of the Romanov family by the
Bolsheviks in 1917.
During Peter the Great's reign (1689-1725), Russia burst into European
and world consciousness, and European influences spread throughout
Russia in ways still manifesting themselves in the history and current
fortunes of Russia and its neighbors. He created Western style military
forces, subordinated the Russian Orthodox Church hierarchy to the czar,
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 a
philosophical duality of "Westernizers" and nationalistic "Slavophiles"
emerged over the next centuries. This dualism manifested itself in
various ways over time and since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in
1991 has re-emerged as a key dynamic of current Russian social and
Peter's expansionist policies were pursued aggressively by Catherine the
Great (reigned 1762-96), who established Russia as a continental power.
During her reign, power continued to centralize around the Romanovs and
administrative reforms put great wealth and privilege firmly in the
hands of the Russian nobility. Russian culture flowering during her
reign formed the basis for Russia's cultural outpourings in music,
literature, art, and dance, particularly of the 19th century.
Napoleon failed in his attempt in 1812 to conquer Russia after occupying
Moscow; his total collapse, and attempts by Europe's great powers to
restore continental order at the Congress of Vienna (1814-15), set the
stage for Russia and Austria to dominate the affairs of eastern Europe
for the next century.
During the 19th century, which saw great social, economic, and political
change in the rest of Europe, the Western Hemisphere, and Asia, the
Russian Government sought to suppress repeated attempts at reform from
within as well as in such neighboring states as Hungary and Poland. Its
economy failed to compete with those of Western countries, and pressures
for social and political change continued to build under the weight of
agrarian traditions, the feudal serf system, and untrammeled and
wasteful privilege among the aristocracy. Russian cities were also
growing but did not have an industrial base to generate employment.
This shortfall was especially acute after the emancipation of serfs in
1861. Countering these reactionary pressures politically was dynamic
expansion across Siberia until the port of Vladivostok was opened on the
Pacific coast in 1860. Great accomplishments such as the Trans-Siberian
Railroad opened vast frontiers to development late in the century but
did not solve fundamental problems of economic opportunity and
prosperity for the majority of Russian subjects.
Centuries of successful imperialistic expansion ended with the defeat in
the unpopular Russo-Japanese war in 1905. Subsequent disaffection
fueled the successful Revolution of 1905 and spurred Czar Nicholas II
tactically to grant a constitution. However, hopes for reform were
short-lived. Brutal suppressions by the government grew into programs
of police terror, and manipulations of popular anger were channeled into
antisemitic pogroms and other actions against national groups. State
abuses contrasted with official attempts at conciliation, such as land
1917 Revolution and the U.S.S.R.
Ultimately, both approaches failed, and the ruinous effects of the World
War I, combined with internal pressures, sparked the March 1917
revolution. Alexander Kerenski became Premier. On November 7, 1917,
the Marxist-Leninist 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" forces and Kerenski's
"Whites" 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; for more than half that time, it ranked as
a nuclear superpower. In the 1930s, tens of millions of its citizens
were collectivized under state agricultural and industrial enterprises
and millions died in political purges and the vast penal and labor
system or in state-created famines. During World War II, as many as 20
million Soviet citizens died.
The U.S.S.R.'s chief political figures were Lenin, leader of the
Bolshevik party and head of the first Soviet Government, who died in
1924. In the late 1920's, Joseph Stalin emerged as General Secretary of
the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) amidst intraparty
rivalries and 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. formally was dissolved.
The Russian Federation
The Russian Federation's independence dates from August 24, 1991. After
the December 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Russian
Federation became its largest successor state, inheriting its permanent
seat on the United Nations Security Council, as well as the bulk of its
foreign assets and debt. Almost all of the former Soviet republics
agreed to retain a vehicle for mutual discussion and cooperation--the
Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Georgia joined the CIS in
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 on September 21, 1993, President Yeltsin dissolved
the Russian parliament and scheduled national elections for December 12,
1993. After an armed insurrection by opposition supporters failed on
October 3, Yeltsin ordered the army to take over the parliament building
(called the White House) in Moscow.
Two houses of the new Russian parliament were elected in December 1993--
the upper Federation Council (170 members) and the lower State Duma (450
members). Half of the new Duma members were elected from party lists
and the other half in single-seat races in individual election
districts. Pro-reform groups won a total of 112 Duma seats.
Independents won 135 seats, while representatives from other parties
gained 15 seats. The opposition, a diverse group, aimed for a unified
position but remained divided over key political and economic issues and
whether to participate in mainstream politics. Fifty-four percent (58
million) of the registered voters participated in the December 12, 1993
elections. A new constitution took effect the same day.
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 subordinate to the executive. The
president nominates the highest state officials--including the prime
minister, who must be approved by the Duma; he may dissolve the Duma if
it repeatedly turns down his choice of prime minister. The president
can pass decrees without consent from the Duma. He also is head of the
armed forces and of the potentially powerful security council.
Although the parliament elected in December 1993 has been more moderate
and effective than many observers had predicted after the elections,
coordination between the upper and lower houses is troublesome. Both
houses are divided between many parties, and groups with little
attachment to democracy--including communists and extreme nationalists--
hold large numbers of seats, slowing the passage of laws on democratic
and economic reforms.
Russia is nominally 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 "cities of federal significance," 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
President Yeltsin has opposed most local elections, preferring to
appoint regional governors directly. Relations between Moscow and the
federation components are largely stable. The war in Chechnya (see box)
has not spawned separatist movements elsewhere.
Chechnya is a symptom and a result of Russia's uneven movement toward a
functional democracy. Making democracy a reality in Russia is hampered
by the limited public trust of virtually all public institutions.
Average Russians have a poor understanding of the benefits of democracy,
associating it with social disorder, crime, corruption, and economic
hardship they have recently experienced. But in spite of setbacks in
Russia's democratic development, the country has made some progress in
governmental and human rights reform over the past four years.
Russia's ill-conceived and badly executed military operation in the
republic of Chechnya overshadows Russia's internal political and human
rights situation. In the course of the two months it took for the
Russian forces to capture the republic's capital of Grozny, at least
2,000 Russian soldiers, several thousand Chechen fighters, and perhaps
15,000 to 20,000 civilians--ethnic Russians as well as Chechens--were
killed; huge areas of the capital were destroyed. Russian forces were
repeatedly and credibly reported to have used indiscriminate and
excessive force against non-combatants. From December 11, 1994--when
the military operation against Chechnya began--until May 15, 1995,
Russian forces gained daytime control of large swaths of territory in
Chechnya; the high levels of fighting included unconfirmed reports that
Russian forces employed toxic chemicals against Chechen fighters and
Peace talks between the Russians and Chechens, conducted under the
auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
(OSCE), began on May 25, 1995. On July 30, 1995, the two sides signed a
military accord which called for a cease-fire, the complete disarmament
of Chechen fighters, and withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya.
The terms of the armistice have not yet been fully implemented, and no
overarching political settlement--addressing the final status of
Chechnya--has been reached.
Elections have generally been free and fair. Parliamentary elections
are scheduled for December 17, 1995, and presidential elections for June
1996. The President and Duma have approved a new federal electoral law.
The official campaign period began September 17. More than 250
electoral blocs declared their intention to stand candidates.
At the same time, the political environment in Russia is more unclear
now than at any time since the standoff at the White House in October
1993. A number of competing election blocs have been formed, and
Russian reformists who charged the Russian Government with major human
rights abuses in Chechnya are increasingly cut off politically.
Largely because of Chechnya, President Yeltsin is isolated from his
traditional reformist allies, and his popularity has fallen to historic
lows. Thus far, his misfortune has not redounded to the benefit of any
other political leader; no other politician has emerged as a natural
successor. The low popularity of all the likely candidates, coupled
with the enormous apathy of the Russian electorate, makes unpredictable
for now the election outcomes. Despite much public discussion about
postponing the presidential elections, President Yeltsin has repeatedly
pledged that they will be held as scheduled.
Russia's judiciary is still weak. The reconvening of the Constitutional
Court was an important step in the country's judicial reform and had
been anxiously awaited. It remains to be seen what role the court will
play. Suspended by President Yeltsin in October 1993, the reconstituted
and redefined Constitutional Court held its first session on March 16.
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 is also authorized to rule on
violations of constitutional rights, examine appeals from various
bodies, and 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 three years, the Russian Government has made substantial
efforts to reform the criminal justice system and judicial institutions.
Despite these efforts, judges are only beginning to assert their
constitutionally mandated independence from other branches of
government. This has been hampered by the slow passage of laws and by
inadequate funding for judicial reforms on the part of Federation and
regional governments. In addition, judges have not received necessary
training and are totally dependent on the Ministry of Justice for court
infrastructure and financial support and on local authorities for their
Russia's human rights record remains uneven despite human rights
guarantees in the 1993 constitution. One of the most basic differences
from pre-democratic times in Russia is the empowerment of human rights
non-governmental organizations and the press to investigate and publish.
The often-critical coverage of Chechnya has demonstrated the degree to
which the media are substantially free and express a wide range of
views. The government placed intermittent restrictions on press
covering the war in Chechnya, citing the need to protect military
secrets and to ensure journalists' safety. The government also put
heavy pressure on media representatives to follow the official line on
There is still a great deal of official and societal ambiguity on the
place of human rights in Russia. The Duma relieved Parliamentary Human
Rights Ombudsman Sergey Kovalev of his duties after he publicized
Russian atrocities in Chechnya. In August 1995, the Presidential Human
Rights Commission, headed by Kovalev, was rumored to be disbanded.
Instances of harassment of foreigners, political opponents, and human
rights activists by elements of the security services continue, making
the recent expansion of the powers of the Federal Security Service, a
successor to the Soviet KGB, a cause for concern.
Freedom of assembly, association, religion, speech, and media are
generally respected in Russia, although many important acts of
legislation in these areas have still not been passed. President Clinton
recognized the reality of freedom of emigration by declaring that Russia
is in compliance with Jackson-Vanik provisions. Certain practices,
however, have not been codified into law due to the difficulty of
passing legislation. The law proposed in 1991 on exit and entry is
being implemented even though it is not officially in the law books.
Restrictions on freedom of travel are still imposed through the
selective enforcement of the propiska (residence permit) system, most
often against dark-complexioned people. Refugees from Central Asia and
the Caucasus still meet discrimination in the major cities.
Antisemitism continues to be a problem in Russia despite welcome efforts
by Russian officials to discourage it and all forms of anti-democratic
behavior. Statements by Russian leaders cannot by themselves eradicate
the roots of intolerance. Efforts to discourage all forms of
intolerance at all levels of the Russian Government should be
In addition to human rights violations in Chechnya and the issues
discussed above, other issues of special concern include: unclear or
unenforced laws, police brutality, unfit prison conditions, hazing in
the armed forces, violence against women, and bureaucratic obstacles to
the development of independent labor unions.
Principal Government Officials
Prime Minister--Viktor Chernomyrdin
First Deputy Prime Ministers--Oleg Soskovets and Anatoliy Chubays
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Economic Relations--Oleg
Economic Affairs--Yevgeniy Yasin
Environment and Natural Resources--Viktor Danilov-Danilyan
Foreign Affairs--Andrey Kozyrev
Nuclear Energy--Viktor Mikhailov
Science and Technology--Boris Saltykov
Ambassador to Washington--Yuli Vorontsov
Ambassador to the United Nations--Sergey Lavrov
The Russian Federation maintains an embassy at 2650 Wisconsin Ave. NW,
Washington, DC 20007 (tel. 202-298-5700) and a consulate at 1825 Phelps
Place NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-939-8907). Russian consulates
are also located in New York, San Francisco, and Seattle.
As it moves from a centrally planned economy to a free market system,
the Russian economy has undergone considerable stress. The country has
established new ties in the world economy while links to its traditional
trade partners have diminished. Russia accounts for more than one-half
of the population of the New Independent States (NIS) of the former
Soviet Union and 60% of their total gross domestic product.
GDP. GDP fell 19% in 1992, another 12% in 1993, and 10% in 1994. But
industrial production rose slightly in July 1994, for the first time
since 1993. Production of consumer durables, including automobiles and
appliances, as well as food processing are also increasing. In 1993,
transport was down by 25% from the previous year's volume, construction
materials by 15%, and agriculture by 4%. Oil extraction and natural gas
production fell slightly. The service sector of the economy, as
recorded in official statistics, grew almost 45% in 1993 over 1992, to
42% of total GDP. But official statistics miss significant economic
activity in the private sector and parallel economy. Official
unemployment was only 1% of the work force in 1993, but this figure
omits an estimated 4-5 million who work reduced hours or are on
voluntary leave. The government forecasts 7 million unemployed--about
12% of the working population, by the end of 1994.
Monetary Policy. Inflation rose to a peak of 30% per month by January
1993. Since then, monthly inflation has declined, albeit in fits and
starts. The government has pursued various economic policies, including
raising interest rates, reducing or ending subsidies, and otherwise
trying to stabilize the macroeconomy. Russia abolished the ruble zone
in mid-1993, which forced other NIS republics to issue their own
currencies and had a positive impact on Russian inflation. The ruble,
which is now traded daily against major currencies at the Moscow
Interbank Currency Exchange, depreciated steadily against the dollar
Government Spending/Taxation. The Duma has passed a 1995 budget with a
projected deficit of less than 6% of GDP--austere enough to satisfy the
International Monetary Fund. A value-added-tax (VAT) was introduced in
1992 and accounted for 25% of government revenues in 1993. Russia's tax
base has steadily eroded, due to the decline in industrial production
and the lack of liquidity in large sectors of the economy. A
significant proportion of taxes and trade duties is unpaid.
Privatization. Russia has made significant headway in privatizing many
economic sectors. More than 50% of GDP is now produced in the market
economy. More than one-half of the work force is in the private sector,
and 70% of state-controlled industry has been privatized since reforms
began in 1992. There are 270,000 private farms. About 30% of state-
owned housing (about 8 million dwellings) had been turned over to
private individuals by the end of 1993. State-subsidized rents and
utilities, however, continue to discourage individual home ownership.
Income. Disposable income increased by 10% in 1993. With the sharp
rise in consumer purchasing power, Russians spend a lower proportion of
their income for foodstuffs and essentials. Consumers make 70% of their
purchases in the private sector to take advantage of better selection,
quality, and service. Food availability and real per capita income have
improved or stabilized, but social welfare problems, such as increased
crime and health care shortages, are serious. The gap between rich and
poor appears to have widened; about 20% of the population lives below
the official poverty level.
Law. In 1993, Russia passed a new bankruptcy law prepared with the
assistance of the American Bar Association. But lack of legislation in
most areas of economic activity is a pressing issue. Taxation and
business regulation are unpredictable, and legal enforcement of private
business agreements is almost nonexistent. Many government decisions
affecting business have been inconsistent. An growing crime wave has
swept over Russia and has increased costs for local and foreign
Natural Resources. With the mineral-packed Ural mountains and the vast
oil, gas, coal, and timber reserves of Siberia and the Russian Far East,
Russia is rich in natural resources. Unfortunately, most are located in
remote and climatically unfavorable areas that are difficult to develop
and are far from Russian ports. Oil and gas continue to be the main
sources of hard currency. Russia is a leading producer and exporter of
minerals and gold and all major fuels. The Russian fishing industry is
the world's fourth-largest-- behind Japan, the U.S., and China. Russia
accounts for one-quarter of the world's production of fresh and frozen
fish and for about one-third of world output of canned fish.
Industry. Russia is one of the most industrialized of the former Soviet
republics. 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; converting it
to civilian use is the major goal of the present government. The share
of defense-industrial output going to civil purposes reportedly
increased from 40% in 1988 to 80% in 1993, a result of sharp cut-backs
in weapons production.
Agriculture. In 1993, agriculture accounted for about 13% of GDP and
about 13% of total employment. Russia comprises roughly three-quarters
of the territory of the NIS, yet has relatively little fertile soil for
its great size since most of its territory is under permafrost and
unsuited for agriculture. Droughts generally afflict Russia every three
years. Northern areas concentrate mainly on livestock farming, and the
southern parts and western Siberia produce grain. Agricultural
production, chiefly grain and potatoes, accounts for more than one-half
of that for the entire NIS. Radical reform of agriculture comprises one
of the pillars of post-communist transformation in Russia.
Investment. Cumulative foreign investment in Russia is estimated at $5
billion to $7 billion, with U.S. investment making up as much as $2
billion of the total. In 1994 alone, total foreign investment was $3
billion to $4 billion (this includes both direct and portfolio
investment). Although the ruble crisis in October 1994 and other
political and economic disruptions seemed to have a negative effect on
portfolio investment, direct investment remained stable. Major areas of
interest for U.S. investors have been in energy, food processing,
telecommunications, and automobiles. Joint ventures between Russian and
foreign firms account for an increasing share of Russian output and
trade and are concentrated in the services sector.
Trade. By mid-1994, Russia had liberalized domestic trade and
dismantled virtually all non-tariff restrictions on foreign trade.
State-subsidized imports were phased out in 1994, as was the system of
quotas and licensing for exports except for a few commodities involving
international commitments. To bolster future foreign trade, Russia
applied in June 1993 to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
(GATT)--predecessor to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Import
tariffs rose from zero to an average 7% to 8% in 1993; a tariff
averaging 15% was introduced in July 1994.
Russia has been running a trade surplus since 1993, due both to
increased exports (of commodities such as petroleum and aluminum) and
lower imports (including grain). It has increased official foreign
exchange reserves from $4.5 billion in January 1994 to about $7 billion
as of September 1994. Capital flight remains a serious problem.
Russia's trade is dominated by Europe; Germany and the countries of
Central and Eastern Europe hold the lead. Japan and China are Russia's
largest Asian trading partners; the U.S. has overtaken Cuba in trade
with the Americas. Trade with the other NIS states is overwhelmingly in
industrial products; Ukraine and Kazakhstan are by far the most
important trade partners. Russia continues to supply large amounts of
energy to the NIS states at a discount, although it has tied government
credits to debt repayment. Eurasian markets are of vital importance--
supplies sustain vulnerable Russian industries, and the countries are on
Russian transportation lines to hard-currency customers in Europe and
Debt. Russia assumed 61% of the Soviet Union's debt in 1991. Total
foreign debt is more than $80 billion, $45 billion of which is owed to
the Paris Club, $25 billion to the London Club, and the remainder to
other countries and suppliers. The government has rescheduled its
official debt payment obligations but has not yet done so with some of
its commercial creditors. In 1993, the U.S. and other bilateral
creditors rescheduled about $15 billion of Russia's debt service
payments. Paris Club creditors agreed to a one-year rescheduling of
$7.1 billion of debt service in 1994. The Russian Government says that
it is owed $140 billion by other countries but acknowledges that much of
what was lent by the Soviet Union will never be repaid. Russia expects
to receive $1.5 billion from its debtors in 1994, primarily in payments
Banking. The Russian commercial banking system has rapidly progressed
in the five years of its existence. The largest banks are approaching
Western standards, offering a full range of services. Many of the 2,000
registered commercial banks are small--only 10% have a capital base
exceeding $1 million--and 300 are authorized to deal with foreign
currency accounts. Sixty Russian banks are members of the Society for
Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, and others have
correspondent relationships with U.S. and other foreign banks that allow
for electronic fund transfers between Russia and other countries. In
1993, Citibank and Chase Manhattan Bank became the first U.S. banks to
receive a general license to open a subsidiary in Russia; there are now
12 Western banks with operating licenses. Currency inconvertibility--
which used to be a major concern for Western traders, investors, and
tourists--largely has been overcome by the opening of currency
exchanges and direct interbank trading through Russia.
Health. Russia is experiencing serious public health problems whose
causes are related to the country's social and economic changes and a
health care system inherited from the Soviet era. The life expectancy
from birth has declined, and the leading causes of death are
cardiovascular disease, cancer, accidents, and respiratory conditions.
With falling immunization coverage, preventable illnesses such as
diphtheria and tuberculosis are on the rise; plans are underway to
develop domestic production of vaccines as well as other
pharmaceuticals. Environmental conditions for many Russians are also a
health concern. These factors, along with underfunding and poor health
care management, are contributing to the public health problems in
Multilateral Assistance. Since 1990, the international community has
worked together to provide economic assistance on a scale unparalleled
since the end of World War II. The United States is the largest source
of technical assistance. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), World
Bank, and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development have large-
scale lending and investment programs in Russia amounting to billions of
dollars. The Group of Seven industrialized nations also has committed
more than $12 billion in bilateral financing. The European Union and
individual donor countries are also providing substantial technical
assistance and financial support for programs in the NIS.
Environmental Issues. The Russian Government inherited serious
environmental problems. Air pollution and inadequate supplies of
uncontaminated water affect the health of the population and contribute
to increased infant mortality rates. Radioactive pollution--generated
by military nuclear testing and unsafe nuclear power plants, institutes,
and laboratories--is especially dangerous. In cooperation with the
international community, Russia is working to develop sound
environmental policies. It has established a Ministry of Environment
and has introduced a pollution-fee system by which taxes are levied on
air and water emissions and solid waste disposal, with the resulting
revenues channeled to environmental protection activities. Russia also
aims to develop regional cooperation among the NIS on transborder
Highlights From 1994 of Russian Infrastructure Projects
International Space Station. Russia and the U.S. engaged in a joint
flight program to lead to the development of the inter-national space
station. Key elements include: U.S. astronauts on board the Mir space
station for approximately two years; up to 10 U.S. shuttle docking
missions; and $400 million contract for the provision of hardware, joint
technology, and on-board research support by U.S. firms.
Sakhalin Island Development. The Marathon, McDermott, Mitsui,
Mitsubishi, and Shell Sakhalin II consortium planned to develop large
oil and gas fields offshore Sakhalin Island in a $10 billion project.
Timan Pechora Exploration. Texaco was involved in a $2.5 billion
greenfield oil exploration project in the Timan Pechora region of the
Civil Aviation. Russian manufacturers were using Western engines and
avionics to bring the Russian civil fleet up to world standards.
Civil Shipbuilding and Harbor Modernization. Russia sought to modernize
the St. Petersburg, Vladivostok, and other ports. Russian shipyards
built oil tankers, fishing trawlers, cargo ships, and pleasure craft.
Defense Conversion. The Russian Government sought to turn Russian
defense firms into the major suppliers of consumer and industrial goods.
The defense sector has been producing nearly all of Russia's televisions
and other electronic equipment, plus most washing machines and vacuum
Telecommunications. U.S. West was involved in a $40 million upgrade of
Russian telecommunications, involving 50,000 kilometers of fiber and
microwave lines and 50 digital exchanges in 50 Russian cities.
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. It signed the 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 that provides
for, inter alia, political dialogue at all levels; possible talks in
1998 on a free-trade area; EU support for eventual Russian accession to
the GATT (now WTO); and EU assistance on improving nuclear safety,
restructuring state-run enterprises, and developing economic efficiency.
Russia has played a constructive role in mediating international
conflicts through its cosponsorship of the Middle East peace process and
its support of UN and multilateral initiatives in the Persian Gulf,
Cambodia, Angola, the former Yugoslavia, and Haiti. Russia has affirmed
its respect for international law and OSCE principles. It has accepted
UN and/or OSCE involvement in instances of regional conflict on its
periphery, including the dispatch of observers to Georgia, Moldova,
Tajikistan, and Nagorno-Karabakh.
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 and severe shortages of housing and
other social amenities for military personnel, with a consequent
lowering of morale, cohesion, and fighting effectiveness. The evidently
poor combat performance of the Russian armed forces in the Chechen
conflict in part reflects these breakdowns.
The current actual strength of the Russian armed forces probably falls
between 1.4 and 1.6 million, with authorized strength several hundred
thousand higher. Weapons production in Russia has fallen dramatically
over the past few years; between 1988 and 1993, it fell by at least 50%
for virtually every major weapons system. Weapons spending in 1992 was
approximately 75% less than in 1988.
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
enterprises are now preparing for privatization, some with the help of
private U.S. firms (see "Military Issues").
The Russian military, for the foreseeable future, will play a role in
determining Russia's internal stability and in formulating national
policies. This role will be crucial to Russia in proceeding with
political and economic reform and establishing a durable pattern of
cooperation with the West.
U.S. Support for Russian Democracy and Development
The U.S. Government has been in the forefront of delivering
privatization assistance to Russia since October 1992.
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). USAID has the
principal responsibility for implementing technical assistance to Russia
and the other New Independent States. In FY 1994, USAID devoted over
$1.6 billion in assistance to help Russia develop democratic
institutions and transform its state-controlled economy to one based on
market principles. Programs are active in the areas of privatization
and private sector development, agriculture, energy, housing reform,
health, environmental protection, economic restructuring, independent
media, elections, and the rule of law. The U.S. recently pledged $30
million to help Russia in its fight against crime and to support a new
U.S. Export-Import Bank (Eximbank). Eximbank approved about $2 billion
in loans, loan guarantees, and insurance for transactions in Russia from
1991 to March 1995. Of this total, more than $1 billion was approved
under its Oil and Gas Framework Agreement.
U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). OPIC provides
loans, loan guarantees, and commercial and political investment
insurance to American companies investing in Russia. As of FY 1994,
OPIC approved more than $720 million in investment financing and over
$1.4 billion in insurance for more than 40 projects. The total
investment value of these projects is more than $2.2 billion. OPIC has
reserved $500 million in finance and insurance assistance for Russia and
other NIS defense conversion efforts.
Trade and Development Agency (TDA) and Department of Commerce. TDA has
approved more than $45 million in funding for feasibility studies on 114
Commerce Department. American Business Centers have been opened in St.
Petersburg, Nizhnevartovsk, Novosibirisk, Volgograd, Nizhny Novgorod,
Yekaterinburg, Khaborovsk, Vladivostok, and Chelyabinsk to help U.S. and
Russian companies do business in Russia. An additional center in
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk was planned for opening in 1995. The Commerce
Department has also established a Special American Business Internship
Program (SABIT) in Russia, and an NIS business information system.
Agricultural Credit. For 1995, the U.S. has authorized $30 million in
export credit guarantees in connection with sales of U.S. agricultural
commodities under a private banking sector program in Russia as part of
the Commodity Credit Corporation's Export Credit Guarantee Program (GSM-
U.S. Information Agency (USIA). USIA continues diverse programs in
public administration, communications, business, and education in
Russia. By 1995, more than 20,000 Russians will have participated in
U.S. Department of Agriculture. A variety of technical assistance
activities are coordinated by USDA under the Emerging Democracies
Program. In March 1994, a U.S.-Russia Joint Commission for Agribusiness
and Rural Development was established to channel funds generated by the
sale of donated U.S. commodities to support private and social
initiatives in rural communities throughout Russia.
Eurasia Foundation. The Foundation--a private, non-profit, grant-making
organization supported by U.S. funds--has disbursed more than $24
million in small grants to U.S. and indigenous organizations promoting
reform in Russia and the other NIS.
With the end of the Cold War and the reemergence of a Russian state,
U.S. relations with Moscow have evolved rapidly. At meetings in
Vancouver, Tokyo, Moscow, and Washington, DC, Presidents Clinton and
Yeltsin laid the basis for a U.S.-Russian partnership. Progress has
been made in several important fields, particularly in arms control.
While disagreements persist on individual issues, the U.S. and Russia
now consult on major issues of mutual and international interest.
The United States actively supports Russian efforts to develop
democratic institutions and a free market economy. At summit meetings
in Vancouver, Moscow, and Washington, DC, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin
reaffirmed the fundamental importance of U.S.-Russian cooperation and
agreed on a variety of bilateral initiatives to expand economic
relations between the two countries and promote democratic and market
reforms in Russia.
U.S. assistance to Russia funds a variety of programs in the following
key areas: private-sector development, privatization and enterprise
restructuring, trade and investment, democracy initiatives, energy,
health care, housing, and environment. Humanitarian assistance
represented a major portion of U.S. aid during the initial transition
phase in Russia, when there was a pressing need for food, medicine, and
other essential commodities. U.S. efforts now concentrate on technical
assistance and direct support for trade and investment.
Congress has appropriated substantial resources to support U.S.
assistance to Russia and the other NIS. In September 1993, Congress
approved a special one-time assistance package of $2.45 billion aimed at
helping all the NIS during the difficult period immediately following
the fall of communism and the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Approximately $1.6 billion of that amount was allocated for programs in
Russia. In August 1994, Congress passed a $850 million legislative
package for assistance to the NIS in FY 1995, of which about 40% was
targeted for Russia. Assistance activities in FY 1995 were to continue
ongoing programs to strengthen democratic practices and promote the
development of private enterprise and market institutions. There was to
be a new emphasis in the 1995 program on direct support for U.S.-Russian
trade and investment, which has been growing with the successful
implementation of market reforms. The 1995 program also was to include
new activities to expand cooperation on strengthening the rule of law
and fighting the rise in crime.
U.S. obligations under all assistance programs total $3.65 billion, of
which more than $2.6 billion has been expended. Approvals for the
financing of investment and non-food exports under U.S. commercial
programs in Russia exceed $2.3 billion.
Bilateral Economic Issues
Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission. Under the leadership of Vice President
Gore and Prime Minister Chernomyrdin, the U.S. and Russia are working
to advance bilateral cooperation through eight working committees known
collectively as the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission. The committees
address issues in the fields of science and technology, business
development, space, energy policy, environmental protection, health,
defense diversification, and agriculture. The Commission last met in
Moscow in June 1995 and will again meet in January 1996.
Trade and Investment. At the September 1994 summit in Washington, DC,
Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin agreed to place new emphasis on expanding
trade and investment. They signed a joint statement on a "Partnership
for Economic Cooperation," which will serve as a framework for reducing
barriers to expanded economic cooperation. President Clinton also
announced that $100 million in FY 1995 assistance to the NIS would be
used to provide direct support for trade and investment through the
Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the Trade and
Development Agency (TDA), and the Commerce Department (see box on "U.S.
Support for Russian Democracy and Development").
U.S.-Russia trade was about $5.8 billion in 1994. The U.S.-Russia
Business Development Committee (BDC) was established June 1992 in Lisbon
and is co-chaired on the U.S. side by Commerce Secretary Ronald Brown.
The BDC helps remove impediments to trade and investment. The 1992
U.S.-Russia trade agreement provides mutual most-favored-nation status
and offers intellectual property rights protection. In 1992, the two
countries also signed treaties on the avoidance of double taxation and
on bilateral investment. The Russian parliament, however, has not
ratified the bilateral investment treaty.
In October 1993, Russia received generalized system of preferences (GSP)
status under which more than $440 million of Russian goods will benefit.
The U.S. supports Russia's application to become a member of the World
As noted, Russia signed the NATO Partnership for Peace initiative in
June 1994; the U.S. looks forward to Russia's active participation in
Partnership for Peace. The U.S. and Russia signed a memorandum of
understanding on defense cooperation in September 1993 which
institutionalized and expanded relations between defense ministries,
including establishing a broad range of military-to-military contacts.
The U.S. and Russia carried out a joint peacekeeping training exercise
in Totskoye, Russia, in September 1994. Based on the January 14, 1994,
agreement between Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin, the two nations
stopped targeting their strategic nuclear missiles at each other as of
May 30, 1994.
Agreements/Cooperation. U.S. and Russian security cooperation
emphasizes strategic stability, nuclear safety, dismantling nuclear
weapons, preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and
their delivery systems, and enhancing military-to-military contacts. At
the Lisbon summit in 1992, the United States signed a protocol to the
START I Treaty with Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine--where the
strategic nuclear weapons of the former Soviet Union were located--
making the four countries party to the treaty and committing all
signatories to reductions in strategic nuclear weapons within the seven-
year period provided by the treaty. The treaty entered into force
December 5, 1994.
On January 3, 1993, the U.S. and Russia signed the Treaty between the
United States of America and the Russian Federation on Further
Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START II). This
treaty reduces overall deployments of strategic nuclear weapons on each
side by more than two-thirds from current levels and will eliminate the
most destabilizing strategic weapons--heavy intercontinental ballistic
missiles (ICBMs) and all other deployed multiple-warhead ICBMs. At the
September 1994 summit, the two nations agreed to immediately begin
removing nuclear warheads due to be scrapped under START II--instead of
taking the nine years allowed --once START I takes effect and the START
II Treaty is ratified by both countries. At their May 1995 summit,
Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin agreed on a set of principles that would
guide further discussion in the field of demarcation between anti-
ballistic missile systems and theater missile defenses. They also
agreed on steps to increase the transparency and irreversibility of
nuclear arms reduction and committed not to use in nuclear weapons newly
produced fissile materials or fissile materials removed from nuclear
weapons being eliminated and excess to national security requirements.
Following ratification by Russia and the other NIS, the Conventional
Armed Forces in Europe Treaty entered into force on November 9, 1992.
This treaty establishes comprehensive limits on key categories of
military equipment--tanks, artillery, armored combat vehicles, combat
aircraft, and combat helicopters--and provides for the destruction of
weaponry in excess of these limits.
Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR). Often called Nunn-Lugar
assistance, this type of assistance is provided to Russia (as well as
Belarus, Kazakstan, and Ukraine) to aid in the dismantlement of weapons
of mass destruction and prevent the proliferation of such weapons. To
date, the U.S. has allocated over $600 million for assistance to Russia
under this program. Thirteen implementing agreements have been signed.
Key projects have included assistance in the elimination of strategic
offensive arms ($162 million), design and construction of a fissile
material storage facility ($90 million), provision of fissile material
containers ($50 million), material control and accounting and physical
protection of nuclear materials ($45 million), and development of a
chemical weapons destruction plan and provision of equipment for a pilot
laboratory for the safe and secure destruction of chemical weapons ($55
million). Under the CTR program, the U.S. is also 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; providing increased military-to-
military contacts; and encouraging the conversion of Russian defense
firms through the formation of joint ventures to produce products,
including housing, for the civilian market. As part of the CTR program,
the U.S. has awarded $20 million to a joint venture project involving an
American housing firm and three Russian aerospace firms to construct
housing for demobilized military officers. Portions of the Russian
defense firms will be converted to the production of prefabricated
housing systems and related products. In a multilateral effort (the
European Union and Japan are also involved), the U.S. has also provided
$35 million to establish 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.
Officer Housing Resettlement. The U.S. has assisted Russia with the
construction of housing for demobilizing military officers. In response
to appeals from the Russian and Baltic Governments, the United States
announced at the 1993 Vancouver summit the Russian Officer Housing
Resettlement Program to ease the burden of withdrawing Russian military
forces from the Baltic nations. A pilot project for construction of 450
housing units for demobilizing officers was begun in summer 1993. At
the Tokyo summit of G-7 leaders, President Clinton committed the United
States to finance 5,000 housing units for demobilizing military
officers. Congress appropriated $160 million in FY 1994 for this
project. Of the 5,000 houses, 2,500 will be new construction and 2,500
will be provided through vouchers for existing houses. Distribution of
vouchers and assignment of housing began in August 1994 and is expected
to continue through 1996.
Principal U.S. Embassy Officials
Ambassador--Thomas R. Pickering
Deputy Chief of Mission--Richard M. Miles
Counselor for Political Affairs--William J. Burns
Counselor for Economic Affairs--Michael Mozur
Counselor for Commercial Affairs--John Peters
Counselor for Consular Affairs--Michael Marine
Counselor for Agricultural Affairs--Mary Revelt
Counselor for Administrative Affairs--Peter S. Flynn
Counselor for Public Affairs--Paul R. Smith
Private Enterprise Officer, U.S. Agency for International Development--
James A. Norris
Senior Representative, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)--Dennis B.
Defense Attache--Brig. Gen. John C. Reppert, USAF
Treasury Attache--William C. Murden
Regional Security Officer--Robert J. Franks
Immigration and Naturalization Service--Irena Kipa-Daigle
The U.S. embassy in Russia is located at Novinskiy Bulvar 19/23, Moscow
(tel.  (095) 252-2451-59; fax:  (095) 956-4261).
Consulate General, St. Petersburg (Furshtatskaya Ulitsa 15, tel. 
(812) 275-1701)--John Evans
Consulate General, Vladivostok (Mordovtseva Ulitsa 12, tel.  (4232)
Consulate General, Yekaterinburg (tel.  (3432) 60-11-43)--Howard
In Moscow, the U.S. Commercial Office is located at Novinskiy Bulvar 15
(tel.  (095) 255-4848/4660 or 956-4255, fax:  (095) 230-2101).
In St. Petersburg, the U.S. Commercial Office is located at Bolshaya
Morskaya Ulitsa 57 (tel.  (812) 110-6042, fax:  (812) 110-6479).
For a list of American Business Centers, see box on "U.S. Support for
Russian Democracy and Development."
TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION
The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program provides
Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets. Travel Warnings are
issued when the Department of State recommends that Americans avoid
travel to a certain country. Consular Information Sheets exist for all
countries and include information on immigration practices, currency
regulations, health conditions, areas of instability, crime and security
information, political disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S.
embassies and consulates in the subject country. They can be obtained by
telephone at (202) 647-5225 or by fax at (202) 647-3000. To access the
Consular Affairs Bulletin Board by computer, dial (202) 647-9225, via a
modem with standard settings. Bureau of Consular Affairs' publications
on obtaining passports and planning a safe trip abroad are available
from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402 (202) 783-3238.
Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be
obtained from the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-
While planning a trip, travelers can check the latest information on
health requirements and conditions with the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at (404) 332-4559
provides telephonic or fax information on the most recent health
advisories, immunization recommendations or requirements, and advice on
food and drinking water safety for regions and countries. A booklet
entitled Health Information for International Travel (HHS publication
number CDC-94-8280, price $7.00) is available from the Superintendent of
Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, tel.
Information on travel conditions, visa requirements, currency and
customs regulations, legal holidays, and other items of interest to
travelers also may be obtained before your departure from a country's
embassy and/or consulates in the U.S. (see "Principal Government
Officials" listing in this publication).
Upon their arrival in a country, U.S. citizens are encouraged to
register with the U.S. embassy (see "Principal U.S. Embassy Officials"
listing in this publication). Such information might assist family
members in making contact en route in case of an emergency.
Further Electronic Information:
Consular Affairs Bulletin Board (CABB). Available by modem, the CABB
provides Consular Information Sheets, Travel Warnings, and helpful
information for travelers. Access at (202) 647-9225 is free of charge to
anyone with a personal computer, modem, telecommunications software, and
Department of State Foreign Affairs Network. Available on the Internet,
DOSFAN provides timely, global access to official U.S. foreign policy
information. Updated daily, DOSFAN includes Background Notes; Dispatch,
the official weekly magazine of U.S. foreign policy; daily press
briefings; directories of key officers of foreign service posts; etc.
DOSFAN is accessible three ways on the Internet:
U.S. Foreign Affairs on CD-ROM (USFAC). Published on a quarterly basis
by the U.S. Department of State, USFAC archives information on the
Department of State Foreign Affairs Network, and includes an array of
official foreign policy information from 1990 to the present. Priced at
$80 ($100 foreign), one-year subscriptions include four discs (MSDOS and
Macintosh compatible) and are available from the Superintendent of
Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 37194, Pittsburgh,
PA 15250-7954. To order, call (202) 512-1800 or fax (202) 512-2250.
Federal Bulletin Board (BBS). A broad range of foreign policy
information also is carried on the BBS, operated by the U.S. Government
Printing Office (GPO). By modem, dial (202) 512-1387. For general BBS
information, call (202) 512-1530.
National Trade Data Bank (NTDB). Operated by the U.S. Department of
Commerce, the NTDB contains a wealth of trade-related information,
including Country Commercial Guides. It is available on the Internet
(gopher. stat-usa.gov) and on CD-ROM. Call the NTDB Help-Line at (202)
482-1986 for more information.
Background Notes Series -- Published by the United States Department
of State -- Bureau of Public Affairs -- Office of Public
Communication -- Washington, DC -- Series Editor: Marilyn J.
Russia -- Department of State Publication 10305 -- October 1995
This material is in the public domain and may be reprinted without
permission; citation of this source is appreciated. For sale by the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, DC 20402.
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