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TITLE:  RUSSIA HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                             
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994


A year of political turmoil and crisis culminated in elections 
for a new Russian Parliament and a concurrent referendum on a 
new constitution on December 12.  Voters elected a Parliament, 
roughly divided among reformers, Communists, and extreme 
nationalists, which convened for the first time in 
mid-January.  The majority of voters approved the Constitution 
providing for a strong executive branch of government.

The conflict between the legislative and executive branches, 
which characterized the political situation during 1992, 
continued until September 21 when President Boris Yeltsin 
disbanded the Congress of People's Deputies (CPD) elected in 
1990 under the Soviet electoral system.  After September 21, 
the President ruled by decree.  The national referendum on 
April 25 had given President Yeltsin a strong vote of popular 
support but had not succeeded in resolving the constitutional 

Initially refusing to accept its dissolution, the CPD voted to 
remove the President and named an alternate government, 
including "ministers" of interior, security, and defense who 
sought to exert command over the armed forces.  The Government 
increasingly controlled public access to the so-called White 
House, where the CPD was meeting.  After a 10-day standoff 
marked by bloody street clashes, demonstrators broke through 
the government security cordon on October 3 and rallied at the 
White House.  Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoy and CPD Chairman 
Ruslan Khasbulatov urged the demonstrators, some of whom were 
armed with automatic weapons, to attack the nearby mayor's 
offices and the Ostankino television facilities.

On October 4, army troops surrounded and assaulted the White 
House.  Given opportunities to surrender, some 300 persons, 
including deputies and journalists, left the building 
peacefully.  While some deputies were detained and released, 
Khasbulatov, Rutskoy, and the "ministers" of security, 
interior, and defense were arrested.  Another group of armed 
militants remained in the building and battled government 
forces, including Interior Ministry troops, which attacked with 
tanks and armored personnel carriers.  The number of persons 
who died in the violence of October 3-4 is disputed.  Estimates 
in the press published in the immediate aftermath of the events 
ranged widely; they eventually settled on more than 100 persons 
reportedly killed at Ostankino and as many as 150 killed in the 
fighting at the White House.  The official death toll was set 
at 147.

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Committee 
for State Security (KGB) was broken into two organizations, the 
Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and the Ministry of 
Security.  Internal security became the responsibility of the 
Ministry of Security.  A presidential decree in December 1993 
dissolved that Ministry and set up in its place a 
counterintelligence service under the direct control of the 
President.  Laws passed in 1992 require them to respect human 
and civil rights, outline rules and procedures governing their 
activities and investigations, and establish presidential and 
legislative oversight over each agency's activities.  

The Government in 1993 continued to pursue the transformation 
of a centrally controlled economy into a market-oriented 
system.  Fiscal and monetary stabilization were the central 
issues.  As the economy continued to adjust to market price 
mechanisms, the Government began efforts to rein in credit and 
deficit spending, paving the way for assistance from the 
International Monetary Fund and the rescheduling of Russia's 
official debt.  Inflation continued at monthly rates of 20 to 
25 percent for most of the year.  Privatization continued 
rapidly, and the Government sold off over half the retail 
businesses and thousands of commercial and industrial firms.  
Closings of inefficient firms or bankruptcies were few, 
official unemployment remained low, and industrial output, 
which had fallen by about 50 percent from 1990 figures, began 
to level off.

Russia continued its progress on human rights during 1993, 
despite some temporary setbacks as a result of the October 
crisis.  Freedom of speech, assembly, and association, other 
than during the October crisis, were largely respected.  
Soviet-era restrictions on freedom of religion and travel 
continued to be eased.  The 1991 law on exit and entry is 
gradually being implemented, although some issues are 
unresolved.  There are no known political prisoners in Russia.  

Despite significant progress in recent years, Russia's overall 
human rights record is uneven, and some serious problems 
remain.  On October 3, President Yeltsin declared a state of 
emergency in the capital.  Several important human rights 
problems occurred during the state of emergency.  Press 
freedoms were restricted, for example, by the introduction of 
temporary censorship.  Restrictions on freedom of travel were 
imposed through enforcement of the "propiska" (residence 
permit) system against dark-complexioned people.  This resulted 
in the expulsion from Moscow of thousands of people from the 
Caucasus and Central Asia.  

In spite of legislation to foster greater judicial 
independence, the judiciary still reflects its Communist 
heritage in personnel and practice.  It is not yet fully 
independent or empowered to act as a guarantor of human 
rights.  Other human rights problems include harsh prison 
conditions; official discrimination against people from the 
Caucasus; societal discrimination against people from the 
Caucasus and Jews; societal discrimination and violence against 
women; and governmental pressures against independent labor 


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no reports of political killings by Russian 
authorities in 1993.  (See Section 1.g. for details of the 
political violence in Moscow on October 3-4.)  

Politics in the northern Caucasus, however, was marked by 
considerable violence.  In Chechnya, a journalist investigating 
corruption in the Chechen government was killed in April in the 
city of Grozny.  Observers believe local authorities with 
criminal ties were responsible.  In June forces loyal to 
Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev fired on a crowd of 
protesters gathered in front of Grozny's city hall, killing 14 
persons, including the democratically elected mayor of the city.

On August 1, Viktor Polyaichko, head of administration of the 
State of Emergency Zone in north Ossetia and Ingushetia, was 
assassinated.  No persons have been charged in connection with 
this incident.  

     b.  Disappearance

No political disappearances or abductions are known to have 
occurred in 1993.  According to Ingush sources, several hundred 
of the 687 Ingush who reportedly disappeared as a result of 
fighting in north Ossetia in 1992 are still missing.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

The Russian Constitution specifically prohibits torture and 
other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.  
However, some authorities still use force against persons in 
custody or under suspicion.  Human rights organizations 
routinely receive credible complaints of police beatings during 
questioning or at the time of arrest.  In one case, police told 
relatives of a victim that the injuries were caused by the 
person's trying to escape out of a second-floor window.  
Amnesty International was told by police that the injuries did 
not occur as described and that the injured victim was 
reportedly seen being wheeled out of the building into an 
ambulance.  Human rights groups reported that the authorities 
took numerous persons into custody following the assault on the 
White House and beat and mistreated them.

Russian detention and incarceration practices remain harsh.  
Conditions in many prisons threaten the health and life of 
prisoners.  Many prisoners continue to suffer from mental and 
physical abuse and mistreatment during interrogation, trial, 
and confinement, according to a wide variety of reliable 
sources.  Excessive force by law enforcement personnel goes 
unpunished, and victims are rarely able to seek redress.

There are approximately 827,000 inmates in the Russian prison 
system, according to the Interior Ministry, and overcrowding is 
a significant problem.  In Moscow, for example, three prisons 
designed to hold 8,500 inmates house 14,400 persons, according 
to prison officials.  Prisoners ill with infectious diseases in 
some cases are not segregated from healthy prisoners.  

Prisoners are frequently placed in unduly harsh punishment 
cells for violations of rules.  No administrative process 
exists to ensure that prisoners are not arbitrarily or 
inappropriately sent to such cells.  Changes in procedures 
instituted in 1992 limit the time a prisoner may be held in 
such cells to no more than 60 days during a year and a maximum 
of 15 days at a time.  In labor camps, where prisoners live in 
barracks, prisoners may only be placed in cells for a maximum 
of 6 months per year.  

Corrective institutions for women also house children.  Like 
other Russian prisons, these institutions are marked by 
overcrowding and poor conditions.  Pregnant women and mothers, 
while incarcerated, are entitled to better conditions and food 
than other prisoners.  Few women inmates are believed to be 
aware of these rights and therefore do not always benefit from 
these entitlements.

The violent hazing of new recruits by other soldiers continued 
in 1993.  Cruel and degrading treatment of military conscripts 
sometimes resulted in death.  According to Ministry of Defense 
statistics, during the first 8 months of 1993, 1,222 servicemen 
died, of whom 25 percent reportedly committed suicide.  The 
Committee of Soldiers' Mothers uses the number of suicides to 
illustrate the hazing problem.  The Committee made some 
progress toward easing such treatment through direct contacts 
with military officials.  

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Persons may be detained arbitrarily and arrested without 
warrants.  The Criminal Code requires that detainees be charged 
or released within 72 hours.  Under the 1992 law on the 
procuracy, decisions on detention and custody are the 
responsibility of the procurator's office.  Criminal Code 
amendments enacted in 1992 provide for court review of arrests 
and empower judges to order the release of those arrested 
pending trial.  Detainees have the right to request a court 
evaluation of the legality of detention.  If the court finds 
the detention illegal, the judge has the power to order an 
immediate release.  Nonetheless, the judicial system is unable 
to cope with the increasing numbers of persons arrested for 
crimes.  Thousands of persons are held for extended periods of 
time, often for more than a year, in pretrial detention, 
without judicial review.  

Access to defense attorneys has improved.  The new Constitution 
guarantees the right of a detainee to consult with a lawyer.  
However, authorities denied the attorneys for former CPD 
Chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov and Vice President Rutskoy access 
to them during the initial days of their confinement.  The 
attorneys and families of the accused were later granted 
access, as was the International Committee of the Red Cross.  

Thousands of persons were detained during the weeks before and 
after the October 3-4 violence.  Most, but not all, were 
released within the legally prescribed 72-hour detention 
period.  Of those charged with criminal offenses, most remained 
in custody, though some were released under the legal 
provisions described above.  

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

Government efforts to reform the legal and judicial systems had 
limited effect in 1993.  Russian courts, which have long served 
as tools for enforcing state power, remain subject on occasion 
to political influence.  In July the Supreme Soviet passed a 
law authorizing the phased introduction of trial by jury in 
nine regions beginning in November.  Russian legal reformers 
hope that use of jury trials will spur the growth of a more 
open and fair adversarial courtroom procedure.  The first jury 
trials were conducted in November and offered to defendants 
accused of murder and other capital crimes.  A criminal 
defendant must be advised of his right to a jury trial by the 
investigator during the preliminary investigation.  Defendants 
may choose to be tried before a judge and jury or, in accord 
with traditional criminal procedures, before a judge and two 
people's assessors.  A defendant in a jury trial has the right 
to appeal to the Supreme Court.  

In general, Russian judges are poorly trained and have little 
concept of a truly independent judiciary.  The 1992 law on the 
status of judges began to have some positive effect on judicial 
morale.  Monetary incentives attracted better candidates to 
entry-level judicial positions.  Judicial wages increased by 
eight or nine times during 1993 and are now indexed to senior 
executive pay scales.  

President Yeltsin suspended the Constitutional Court's 
activities on October 6, citing the Court's lack of 
impartiality in the events leading to the violence of October 
3-4.  Prior to the Court's suspension, each side in the 
political power struggle turned to the Court in the hope that 
the Court's decision would add to its legitimacy.  The Court's 
most significant achievement during this turbulent period was 
to promote the notion of the judiciary's independence and 
authority, operating alongside the executive and legislative 
branches of government.  The Constitution adopted in December 
envisages a prominent role for a Constitutional Court and an 
independent judiciary.  

Criminal defendants are permitted by law to have an attorney 
represent them in court, and Russian courts routinely assign 
defense attorneys to defendants who cannot afford one.  The 
criminal justice system continues to be based on the 
presumption of guilt, and defense attorneys operate within a 
system that remains biased against their clients.  Russia's new 
Constitution provides for the presumption of innocence, but it 
remains to be seen whether and how this will work in practice.  
Lawyers are often unable to work with their clients during the 
early stages of an investigation and have only limited access 
to evidence developed by government prosecutors.  Many believe 
that prosecutors feel confident in bringing weak cases to court 
because they enjoy numerous built-in procedural advantages over 
the defense.  An overall conviction rate of better than 99 
percent testifies to the limited ability of the defense to 
present an effective case.  Russia has no system of plea 

In March the military collegium of the Supreme Court, handling 
the trial of those persons accused of plotting the August 1991 
coup attempt, instituted procedures to regulate public 
attendance at the trial.  More than a dozen news organizations 
were granted credentials to cover the proceedings.  The court 
turned down a defense request in mid-October to allow more 
media representatives to attend the trial.  The trial, which 
began in April, proceeded in fits and starts, with numerous 
procedural delays because of illness among the defendants or 
their attorneys.  On one occasion, the court denied a defense 
petition to dismiss the government prosecution team.  The 
defense alleged bias on the part of the Procurator General who 
had published a book on the coup based, in part, on the 
pretrial testimony of the defendants.  The coup trial recessed 
again in December due to claims of illness by three defendants.

In June the Tatarstan supreme court sentenced Tatar national 
activist Zinnue Agliullin, chairman of the All-Tatar Public 
Center, to 2 years in prison under Articles 70 (which prohibits 
calls for the violent overthrow of the government and the 
constitutional order) and 79 (which prohibits "organization of 
mass disorder" and "armed resistance" to the authorities) of 
the Russian Federation Criminal Code.  In October 1992, 
Agliullin publicly called for the "punishment" of the Tatarstan 
president for "betraying the interests of the Tatar people."  
Tatarstan authorities brought additional charges against 
Agliullin in August under special Tatar anticrime legislation, 
claiming that Agliullin owned a weapon allegedly found in his 
apartment at the time of his arrest.  Agliullin alleged that 
the charges were politically motivated.  

There are no known political prisoners in Russia.  Hundreds of 
persons captured in connection with the October 3-4 events were 
held briefly and released.  Those charged with crimes remain in 

Thousands of persons remain incarcerated for violating laws 
that prohibit a variety of commercial activities that are now 
legal and commonplace.  One such "crime" was speculation, in 
which a person sells a commodity at a higher price than he or 
she paid for it.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 

The right to privacy is guaranteed by the Constitution.  The 
splitting of the KGB in December 1991 and President Yeltsin's 
breakup of the Ministry of Security in December 1993 ended the 
security services' status as a "state within a state."  The 
President's December decree calls for a trimming of personnel 
and bureaucratic structures devoted to domestic intelligence 
and places the internal security services under his direct 
control.  In a December 22 news conference, he announced that 
police surveillance of the Russian people would now end and 
that the domestic intelligence service would perform only 
counterintelligence functions.

Authorities may search premises without a warrant but are 
obliged to obtain one within 24 hours after the search.  In 
July President Yeltsin signed legislation that allowed 
warrantless searches with 24-hour notification in cases of 
terrorism or threats to national security.  In spite of reforms 
that divided the KGB into two separate organs, electronic 
monitoring of residence is believed to continue, albeit at 
reduced levels.  Foreign radio broadcasts were not jammed.

     g.  Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian 
         Law in Internal Conflicts

A week prior to the violence of October 3-4, armed supporters 
of the disbanded Parliament, trying to take over a military 
communications facility in Moscow, killed one police officer 
and a civilian bystander.  On October 3, responding to Vice 
President Rutskoy's exhortation from the balcony of the White 
House, hundreds of anti-Yeltsin demonstrators, some armed with 
automatic weapons, attacked the Moscow mayor's office and later 
the television facilities at Ostankino.  More than 100 persons 
were reportedly killed in the fighting at Ostankino.  The 
attackers suffered the majority of the casualties.

Police forces by themselves were unable to control the 
situation in Moscow.  On October 4, the Government used the 
army to quash the rebellion.  Approximately 1,700 troops, 10 
tanks, and 20 armored personnel carriers were involved in the 
assault of the White House.  Occupiers of the building were 
given opportunities to surrender before government forces 
opened fire.  After some shelling by the tanks, the occupiers 
were given another opportunity to surrender.  More than 300 
persons left peacefully, but a number of the more militant 
supporters of Parliament remained in the building and battled 
government forces.  Press estimates of the death toll range 
between 150 and 200 persons.  Military casualties were light.

Russian troops are still in place in many of the republics of 
the former Soviet Union and are embroiled in a number of 
controversial conflicts, some involving the Russian minorities 
in the republics.  (See the reports on Georgia, Moldova, and 

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Freedom of speech and press was widely respected during much of 
1993.  Newspapers and magazines, most of which are independent 
of the Government and some of which are privately owned, 
functioned unhindered.  However, during the events of 
September-October, the Government restricted freedom of speech 
and press.

In March the executive and legislative branches issued 
conflicting decrees asserting control over the media.  
President Yeltsin issued a decree placing radio and television 
under his control.  On March 28, the Parliament voted to 
disband the Government's Federal Information Center (FIC) and 
to put state radio and television under its own control.  This 
battle for control of the media continued throughout the year, 
flaring up again on October 3 when supporters of the disbanded 
Parliament violently attacked the country's television 
broadcasting center.  In a December decree, Yeltsin replaced 
the Information Ministry and the FIC with a new media apparatus 
in the presidential administration.

Following the Government's assault on the White House, it 
imposed strict censorship for 2 days.  Authorities on October 3 
confiscated film from journalists leaving the country at the 
airport.  The newspapers Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Segodnya were 
published with blank spaces (or spaces labeled "censored") 
where three articles, to which government censors objected, 
would have appeared.  Censors ceased work after the second 
day.  However, the state of emergency empowered the Government 
to suspend provisions of the media law and to continue to hold 
publications "responsible" for the material they published 
after the lifting of censorship.  The Government advised 
publications to consult with the Ministry of Information if 
doubts about articles or their content arose.  The Government 
also pressured President Yeltsin's opponents to cancel a number 
of press conferences during the first week in October.  It 
banned 15 newspapers and froze their bank accounts.  In late 
October, the President gave assurances that the Government 
would respect freedom of the press.  By November freedom of 
speech and press largely returned to its pre-September 21 
status.  Three of the banned publications, the full-fledged 
newspapers Pravda, Sovietskaya Rossiya, and Den (under the new 
name Zavtra) resumed publication.  

Police reportedly beat more than 20 journalists attempting to 
cover the September/October events.  Also in 1993, unidentified 
assailants in Moscow severely beat three Central Asian 
journalists covering their home region from Moscow.  The 
journalists believe members of the security services from 
Tajikistan attacked them to intimidate them and force them to 
cease reporting on alleged government repression there.

The investigation of Vil Mirzayanov, arrested in November 1992 
in connection with the publication of an article in the 
newspaper Moscow News about the existence of a chemical weapons 
plant in the capital, began in the spring.  Mirzayanov was 
charged with revealing state secrets.  During the pretrial 
investigation, the Ministry of Security in April called in for 
questioning the American correspondent resident in Moscow who 
broke the story in the United States.  The American journalist 
answered the summons.  The investigation was concluded in 
summer, and the trial was set to begin in January 1994.  

Many publications in Russia suffer from acute financial 
problems which may affect their ability to function 
independently.  The Government directly subsidizes more than 20 
publications.  Indirectly, the Government subsidizes 
publications by guaranteeing a percentage of their newsprint at 
controlled prices.  Paper and ink are controlled by 

Television is a primary source of information for most 
Russians.  The two Russian television companies, Ostankino and 
Russian State Television, transmit nationwide and to most of 
the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).  The Russian 
Government owns both, but the degree of official supervision 
has varied.  Following President Yeltsin's disbandment of the 
CPD on September 21, television coverage of politics was 
markedly biased in favor of the President.  In late September, 
for example, the program "Krasny Kvadrat" was not allowed to 
air because the Chairman of the Constitutional Court was a 
guest.  Less than a month later, the directors of Russian State 
Television announced that the show would no longer be broadcast 
at all.  President Yeltsin ordered the program "600 Seconds" 
off the air on October 4.  The Government had also sought to 
cancel the program in April.  

On October 11, a new independent television news program 
appeared, anchored by a journalist who left Ostankino because 
of the Government's influence on content there.  A December 22 
edict by President Yeltsin provided a limited amount of time on 
Moscow television's Channel 8 to NTV, Independent Television.

Television studios at the oblast (province) level that were 
part of the central system during the Soviet era now operate 
more or less independently.  They function as affiliates, 
opting to use programs from the national company and producing 
local news programming independently.  Local authorities 
sometimes subject these affiliates to pressure.

All broadcasters and cable networks, both public and private, 
use foreign broadcast material.  In addition to the Russian 
broadcasters, several joint venture cable companies now offer 
programming in Moscow.

In the second year of post-Soviet existence, the environment 
for academic freedom in Russia continued to improve.  Russian 
scholars enjoyed unprecedented academic freedom.  Virtually all 
institutions of higher learning, from universities to research 
institutes, enjoy increased autonomy.  University rectors and 
department heads were selected in free and open elections.  
Curriculums and textbooks were revamped, and many institutions 
developed closer relations with Western universities.  The 
entrenched academic nomenklatura establishment, tinged with 
much "old thinking," nonetheless continued to exert some 
influence through their control of resources and privileges.  
Educational institutions at all levels suffered from decreased 
levels of government funding and support.  Many operate at 
subsistence levels.  

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Organizers of demonstrations must apply for permission to local 
authorities 10 days in advance, and officials must respond at 
least 5 days before the scheduled event.  According to a 
presidential decree issued in May, requests for permission may 
be submitted no earlier than 15 days and no later than 10 days 
before the scheduled date.  Participants in unauthorized 
demonstrations are subject to civil and criminal penalties, 
including fines, 15-day jail sentences, and stiffer 
punishment.  In April the Government issued a decree banning 
demonstrations on Red Square and in its vicinity.  

In the aftermath of the October assault on the White House, the 
Government temporarily banned all public demonstrations.  The 
ban was lifted when the state of emergency expired on October 

During the year, there were many peaceful public 
demonstrations, but a number of events were marked by 
violence.  Much of the violence occurred when anti-Yeltsin 
groups clashed with the authorities.  In September 
demonstrators protesting President Yeltsin's disbandment of the 
CPD gathered daily in front of the White House where it was 
meeting.  When the Government tightened security around the 
area and prevented demonstrators from rallying there, 
demonstrators clashed with the authorities in other parts of 
the city.  Unable to get to the White House, the crowd gathered 
at a nearby metro station and blocked Moscow's ring road with 
commandeered vehicles.  A senior policeman died when he was 
struck by a vehicle while assisting efforts to control a crowd.

May Day demonstrations by the National Salvation Front, Working 
Moscow, and the Communist Workers Party of Russia turned 
violent when protestors clashed with police after following an 
unauthorized route for their march.  One policeman was killed 
in the melee.

Freedom of association is respected in practice.  All public 
organizations must register their bylaws and the names of their 
leaders with the Ministry of Justice.  Political parties must 
also present 5,000 signatures and pay a fee to register.  The 
1991 Soviet law on public organizations allows the formation of 
political parties and guarantees such organizations the right 
to propagate their views.  The law also bans groups advocating 
violent change in the constitutional system or groups 
undermining public order.  In the aftermath of the October 3-4 
violence, the Government banned 10 organizations because of 
their alleged role in the events surrounding the violence.

Organizations registered with the Justice Ministry were allowed 
to present candidates for the December parliamentary 
elections.  As of October 20, 126 organizations registered with 
the Ministry planned to take part in the elections.  The 
Ministry suspended the registration of the 10 banned 
organizations, denying them the right to participate in the 

In April the Ministry of Justice launched an investigation into 
the activities of the Communist Workers Party of Russia in 
workplaces.  Their activities were alleged to run counter to a 
1991 Russian Federation decree "on the cessation of the 
activities of organizational structures of political parties 
and mass social movements in state bodies, institutions, and 
organizations of the Russian Federation."  In February the 
Justice Ministry sought to ban a Russian Communist Party 
conference, citing (erroneously) the November 1992 
Constitutional Court decision which reaffirmed the Communist 
Party's right to exist as a political organization.  The 
conference nonetheless took place without hindrance.

Otherwise, hundreds of organizations, representing a wide 
political spectrum, functioned unhindered in 1993.  

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Freedom of religion continued to expand in 1992, and the 
visibility of religion increased dramatically.  Religious 
services and other programs were televised throughout the year.

Official and unofficial religious groups held seminars, 
conferences, and revival meetings, frequently in public 
facilities.  Public advertising of religious services, 
leafletting in subways and other parts of the city, and street 
proselytizing in major cities was common.  The press 
extensively covered religious issues, including statements of 
religious leaders and Orthodox Church events.  Missionaries 
from almost every world religion, as well as lesser known 
sects, are present in Russia, and an increasing number of such 
groups opened permanent offices.

Relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the 
Government have grown closer in recent years.  The Patriarch 
claims that the Church seeks no role in politics but has 
insisted that the Church act as a moral influence in Russian 
society.  In March he appeared on national television to appeal 
for political reconciliation between the legislative and 
executive branches, while during the September/October crisis 
in Moscow he mediated negotiations between presidential and 
legislative representatives.  In July the Orthodox Church 
prompted the legislature to pass a proposed new law which 
relied heavily on the Church's views and, if enacted, could 
have further strengthened the Church's already preeminent place 
among religious groups in Russia.  The law would have required 
all non-Russian organizations to register with the Government 
before engaging in religious activity in Russia.  After 
President Yeltsin vetoed the bill, the September 21 dissolution 
of the Congress of People's Deputies ended parliamentary 
efforts to pass the bill over his veto.  

Bureaucratic obstacles to complete freedom of religion still 
exist due to the provision of the 1990 Soviet law on religion 
requiring religious groups of 10 adults or more to register 
with local authorities.  Some groups view the requirement 
itself as contradicting their beliefs and therefore refuse to 
register.  Although failure to register has not resulted in 
harassment, groups must register to acquire the status of a 
"juridical person" and to receive benefits, including access to 
the media and the right to establish their own schools, own 
property, and engage in social work.  The registration process, 
therefore, allows for obstructionist tactics by local 
authorities, such as lost applications, endless reviews of 
applications, or denial of adequate facilities.  This problem 
is most prevalent in cases of Protestants and the Russian 
Orthodox Free Church.  Individual Russian Orthodox believers 
have prevented Pentecostals and other evangelical groups from 
meeting, particularly in the northern Caucasus and the Russian 
Far East.  Violent attacks against non-Muslims by Muslim 
believers in Chechnya were also reported.  

The number of clergy and places of worship in Russia is still 
inadequate for the population, but churches continued to open 
in record numbers.  Seminaries and other institutions of 
clerical education continued to expand their enrollment, 
limited only by their financial resources.  Bibles, icons, 
religious calendars, and memorabilia are on sale in street 
kiosks and stores in major cities.  There are no restrictions 
on the importation of religious materials.

Young men who object to military duty because of their faith 
continued to be subject to prison terms.  Legislation providing 
alternatives to military service for conscientious objectors 
was pending, but there will be no resolution until after the 
new legislative body convenes.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Citizens were generally free to travel within the country.  All 
adults are issued internal passports which must be carried 
during travel.  Internal passports are also used to register 
with local authorities visits of more than 3 days, although 
this requirement is generally ignored by travelers not staying 
in hotels.

The right to choose one's place of residence, though guaranteed 
by law, continued to be restricted in practice.  Under the 
propiska registration system, all citizens must register their 
place of residence.  The system is enforced selectively and 
often targeted against those who are not Russian, primarily 
persons from the Caucasus and central Asia.  Some officials 
called for abolition of the propiska system, stating that it 
infringes on the right of citizens to choose their place of 
residence.  However, officials in major cities, especially 
Moscow, staunchly defended the system, predicting widespread 
crime and homelessness if it were abolished.  

During the weeks prior to and following the October 3-4 
violence, city authorities reportedly deported from Moscow more 
than 4,000 persons, most of whom were Caucasians or Central 
Asians, because they were not officially registered.  
Authorities in Moscow during that time also detained more than 
20,000 persons for residency violations.  

The new Constitution guarantees freedom of travel, including 
emigration.  The May 1991 Soviet law on emigration officially 
came into force on January 1, 1993; however, actual 
implementation has been gradual.  Under this law, exit 
permission and a formal invitation from abroad are no longer 
required of travelers who are not emigrating.  Passport offices 
were overwhelmed by the flood of new applications, but despite 
administrative delays many thousands of Russian citizens 
traveled abroad during 1993.

Emigrants are no longer required to show an invitation from a 
first-degree relative and need only show an invitation from any 
relative abroad or permission to enter the country to which 
they are emigrating.  The implementing resolution for the new 
law also annulled the 1967 decree under which emigrants to 
Israel were required to give up their Soviet citizenship.  The 
new law, however, continues to restrict the emigration of 
persons with access to state secrets.  Special travel 
regulations apply to some Russian scientists wishing to travel 
abroad temporarily.

A government commission headed by deputy Foreign Minister 
Lavrov was established in March to review emigration 
applications refused on secrecy grounds.  The commission 
accepts individual appeals, contacts the government entity that 
has placed the secrecy restriction on the person, and gives the 
entity 2 weeks to respond.  If no response is received within 
the 2 weeks, the restriction is automatically lifted.  Persons 
also have the right to argue before the commission and to call 
expert witnesses to challenge the continued secrecy of the 
information in question.  Since the commission began reviewing 
cases this summer, many secrecy cases have been overturned.

The 1991 law also retains the requirement for intending 
emigrants to obtain permission from close relatives in Russia.  
If would-be emigrants are unable to secure the permission, they 
may, theoretically, pursue a resolution of the problem in the 
courts.  However, to date no Russian court has accepted such a 
case for review.  The law also added a new emigration 
restriction on draft-age men who have not yet completed their 
obligatory military service.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Under the new Constitution, the Russian people, in principle, 
have the right to change their government.  The President may 
be impeached by a vote of two-thirds of the Federation Council 
if the Duma by a two-thirds majority charges him with treason 
or another serious crime and if the Supreme Court and the 
Constitutional Court confirm the charge.  The President may not 
dissolve the Duma during the first year of its existence.  It 
is still not certain, however, that the Russian people have the 
ability to change their government peacefully and 
democratically.  The constitutional crisis between the 
executive and legislative branches, which began in 1992, 
continued throughout much of 1993, leading to the events of 
October 3-4 in Moscow.  President Yeltsin was democratically 
elected to a 5-year term in 1991 with approximately 60 percent 
of the vote.  On September 21, he disbanded the Russian 
legislature, last elected in 1990 under Soviet electoral 
rules.  The legislature had repeatedly and arbitrarily blocked 
efforts to introduce democratic and free market reforms.  

President Yeltsin called for elections to a new Parliament on 
December 12.  A referendum on a new constitution was held 
concurrently.  In a mixed majoritarian and proportional 
electoral system, Russian voters elected a 450-seat lower house 
called the Duma and an upper house consisting of 2 
representatives from each of the country's 88 constituent 
administrative areas.  (The Federation's 89th constituent 
member, Chechnya, refused to participate in the elections.)  To 
qualify for the 225 proportional seats in the Duma, a party, 
electoral bloc, or political movement had to obtain 100,000 
signatures of which no more than 15 percent could come from a 
single area.  A group gained representation in the Duma if it 
received more than 5 percent of the total vote.  This minimum 
percentage guarantees a group at least 11 seats.  Candidates 
for the majority seats were elected from 225 electoral 
districts, each consisting of an average of 475,000 to 500,000 
inhabitants.  The new Parliament, split roughly four ways 
between reformers, nationalists, Communists, and independents, 
convened on January 11.

On April 25, in an attempt to resolve the conflict between the 
executive and legislative branches, the Yeltsin Government 
conducted a referendum on four questions:  1) confidence in the 
President; 2) confidence in his economic policies; 3) early 
presidential elections; and 4) early legislative elections.  
According to a Constitutional Court decision on referendum 
rules, a majority of votes by participants in the referendum 
would suffice for the first two questions to carry, while a 
majority of registered voters would suffice to carry the second 
two questions.  The majority of participants voted "yes" on all 
four questions, but not in sufficient numbers, according to a 
decision of the Constitutional Court, to be legally binding on 
the questions of elections.  The results strengthened the 
position of President Yeltsin but did not resolve the political 

The Constitution provides for equal political rights for men 
and women, but women do not occupy many leading positions in 
politics and government.  However, the "Women of Russia" bloc 
received around 8 percent in proportional balloting.  Members 
of Russia's ethnic and religious minorities face no legal 
limitations on political participation.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

Numerous nongovernmental human rights groups were active during 
the year.  Amnesty International, Helsinki Watch, the Moscow 
Helsinki Group, Memorial, and the Center for Human Rights were 
the most prominent.  They investigated and publicly commented 
on human rights issues; there were no reports of government 
interference in their activities.  Financing remained a problem 
for many groups in light of Russia's difficult economic 
situation.  Russian authorities encouraged international 
investigation of alleged human rights violations.  

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

Human rights guarantees figure prominently in the new 
Constitution.  It remains to be seen whether these guarantees 
will be respected.  Both official and societal discrimination 
still exist.

For the majority of Russians, homosexuality is socially 
unacceptable behavior.  Homosexuals are subject to violence and 
discrimination by police and civilians.  Local police also 
continue surveillance of homosexuals and keep files on them.  


Women are entitled to the same legal rights as men, including 
the right to participate in all areas of social, political, and 
economic life.  An extensive system of day-care and maternity 
leave allows women to retain employment after having children.  
The system has become less reliable, and in some cases reform 
has meant that the families must pay directly for child-care 
services.  Women are well represented at many levels of the 
general economy.  Nonetheless, women often are not paid the 
same as men for equal work and frequently are the first to be 
laid off as enterprises reduce staff.  Positions of influence 
and prestige in both the Government and the economy are still 
disproportionately occupied by men.

Violence against women occurs, but its extent is unknown.  
Police often do not take an interest in cases of violence 
against women.  According to a rape crisis center in Moscow 
started by a foreigner, some 16,000 rape cases throughout 
Russia were reported to the authorities in 1992.  The real 
number is likely to be much higher but is not reflected in 
either official or nongovernmental records.  Incidents often go 
unreported because of the belief that authorities will do 
little about the matter and because of the victim's own shame.  
In the case of spousal abuse, there are no specific legal 
provisions against wife beating, and legal recourse such as 
bringing charges of assault is seldom exercised in such cases.  
Interest in women's issues is only beginning to grow and is 
focused primarily on the effects of the transition to a market 
economy.  The "Women of Russia" electoral bloc, which received 
8 percent of the vote in the December 12 election, focused its 
campaign on the need for guaranteed health care, education, and 
social welfare.  


The new Constitution assigns the Government some responsibility 
for safeguarding the rights of children.  While Article 38, 
section 2, notes that "concern for children and their 
upbringing are the equal right and duty of parents," section 1 
stipulates that "maternity, childhood, and the family are under 
the State's protection."  Article 39 guarantees " social 
security ... for the raising of children."  Russia is a 
signatory of the 1989 U.N. Convention on the Rights of the 
Child.  Russians from all political perspectives advocate a 
greater state role in safeguarding the welfare of children and 
all Russian citizens.  The Government's efforts to develop an 
effective "social safety net," however, are severely hampered 
by economic problems.  

     Indigenous People

The State Committee for Development of the North, based in 
Moscow, is tasked with representing the interests of indigenous 
peoples.  With only one full-time staff member, its influence 
is limited.  Local committees have been formed in some areas to 
study and make recommendations regarding the preservation of 
the indigenous peoples' cultures.  Indigenous leaders criticize 
these committees as lacking political influence.  In September 
Russian authorities sponsored an international conference on 
the rights of indigenous peoples but drew relatively little 
participation from indigenous groups from Russia or abroad.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Discrimination against people from the Caucasus was most 
evident in the weeks around the October 3-4 violence.  The 
Moscow authorities targeted persons with Caucasian features at 
checkpoints around Moscow and during the state of emergency 
ordered traffic police to stop all vehicles driven by "persons 
of Caucasus nationality."  A spokesperson for the traffic 
police said that the purpose of these measures was to rid the 
city of all illegal residents, most of whom are from the 
Caucasus.  The official noted that the order singled out those 
from the Caucasus because they are easy to identify by their 
"physiological and facial features."  He also commented that 
"most of these people are thieves and robbers," responsible 
"for two-thirds of the crime" in Moscow.  Human rights groups 
in Moscow criticized the discriminatory procedures under which 
thousands of persons were forced to leave the capital.  
However, the crackdown provoked little negative response from 
Muscovites, who blame much of the crime in the city on people 
from the Caucasus.  Vendors and merchants in the capital's many 
markets and in city markets throughout Russia were also targets 
of discrimination.  Concentrating on persons that looked like 
Caucasus residents, Moscow police forced many to halt their 
business, confiscated wares, and subjected the vendors and 
merchants to physical violence.

Following his arrest on October 4, former CPD Chairman Ruslan 
Khasbulatov, who is himself a Chechen, refused to be 
represented by a Chechen lawyer.  He said a lawyer from that 
part of Russia would not be able to mount an effective defense 
because of discrimination.  

     Religious Minorities

Anti-Semitism is no longer condoned by the Government.  
However, it continues to occur, its virulence varying by 
region.  Jewish leaders called for greater assertiveness on the 
part of the central Government in combating anti-Semitism.  

Anti-Semitism continues to exist among the people and is 
manifested in acts of vandalism and verbal assaults on persons 
who appear to be Jewish.  A number of Jewish cemeteries were 
desecrated, and on occasion rocks were thrown through the 
windows of Jewish schools.  In February the a high-ranking 
figure in the Russian Orthodox Church published an article in 
the newspaper Rossiskaya Gazeta which asserted that the 
discredited "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" are a blueprint 
for Russia's political crisis.

The authorities at times have been unwilling to take action 
when anti-Semitic acts are committed.  In the spring a group of 
persons gathered in front of Moscow's Choral Synagogue, shouted 
anti-Semitic slogans, and broke windows.  Police refused calls 
for assistance from the temple's leaders.  Later in the year, 
police refused to help a Jewish family regain its apartment in 
Moscow after "criminals" took it over when the family was out 
of the country.  

In April the newspaper Pravda published a spurious article 
linking Hasidism to satanic cults and blood ritual murders.  
The newspaper later noted that the article contained unfounded 
assertions and apologized to its readers.  Although as a rule 
the Russian Government does not respond to newspaper items, it 
called the article "destructive in its manner" and criticized 
it for inflaming "nationalist and religious dissension."  On 
December 30, fire destroyed one of Moscow's three synagogues.  
The Jewish community believes, and the authorities suspect, 
that arson was the cause of the blaze.  

The expression of anti-Semitism was particularly evident in 
politics.  Street protestors opposed to President Yeltsin often 
referred to him as a Jew, and antigovernment graffiti often 
contained anti-Semitic imagery.  Prior to the April referendum, 
the Communist Party of Russia distributed election flyers that 
criticized Yeltsin for having allowed Hasids to tread on the 
"holy stones of the Kremlin."

     People with Disabilities

The new Constitution stipulates that all persons are equal 
before the law.  It does not contain any specific prohibitions 
directed at discrimination against disabled persons.  There is 
no known specific legislation that mandates accesibility for 
people with disabilities.    

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The Russian Labor Code guarantees the right of workers to join 
trade unions.  Unions are required to register with local 
authorities.  Local authorities have historically used this 
requirement to impede the establishment of new unions.  The 
primary obstacle to the exercise of this right has been the 
special position occupied by the Federation of Independent 
Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR), the successor to the Soviet-era 
All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions.

The FNPR has largely retained the privileges and control 
mechanisms of the old official union structure that existed in 
the Soviet era.  For example, it retained exclusive control of 
the social insurance fund, from which it distributes worker 
benefits such as vacations and sick and disability pay, and has 
used these benefits to keep workers in the FNPR and to threaten 
those workers contemplating leaving the official unions.

Leaders of the free, democratic labor unions consider the 
FNPR's exclusive control of the social insurance fund the 
primary obstacle to the growth of democratic trade unions.  In 
September, shortly after President Yeltsin dissolved the 
Congress of People's Deputies, FNPR Chairman Klochkov led the 
official unions into direct opposition to Yeltsin and called 
for massive strikes in support of Khasbulatov and Rutskoy.  In 
response, the Government prepared to punish the FNPR.  It took 
over the social insurance fund and threatened to ban the FNPR.  
The FNPR, however, forced Klochkov to resign and made peace 
with the Government.  As a result, no further steps were taken 
against the FNPR.  Moreover, although the social insurance fund 
remained under the nominal control of the Labor Ministry, no 
real changes were made in the operation or management of the 
fund.  As a result, independent union members seeking benefits 
from the fund continue to face discrimination.  The Government 
has invited the FNPR to take an active role in preparing new 
legislation for the fund.  

Nominally, almost all of the Russian work force is organized.  
In the Soviet period, all workers were required to join the 
official trade unions.  However, an increasing number of jobs 
are located in the private sector or in the informal economy, 
in which unions are much less active.  The FNPR still claims to 
represent about 65 million of Russia's 72 million workers.  
However, labor officials and other observers estimate that it 
has lost a significant portion of its membership, perhaps as 
much as 30 percent.  The membership of the independent unions 
and independent unionlike organizations probably does not 
exceed 3 million.

Labor unions in Russia are independent of the Government and 
political parties.  The FNPR has a formal agreement of 
cooperation with the Civic Union, an alliance of centrist 
parties, and one of the free trade unions has ties with the 
Social Democratic Party of Russia.

The Labor Code recognizes the right of workers to strike.  
However, the law includes numerous restrictions on that right, 
prohibiting, for example, strikes for political reasons.  The 
law permits strikes only after all other means of resolving a 
dispute have been exhausted.  Strikes may be declared illegal 
if they pose a threat to people's lives or health or if the 
closing of a plant's operations might lead to severe 
consequences.  Strikes are also prohibited in several sectors:  
railroads, city transport, civil aviation, communications, 
energy, and the defense industry.

Numerous strikes occurred in 1993; however, most were either 
short-term warning strikes or were settled quickly.  Unlike in 
Western market economies, labor disputes are rarely directed 
against enterprise management.  In fact, the FNPR and the 
management of large state-owned industries normally cooperate 
closely in pressing their demands against the Government.  In 
early 1993, the FNPR and the Government formed a tripartite 
commission comprised of union, management, and government 
representatives to protect workers' rights and standard of 
living and avoid strikes and other labor disputes.  This 
arrangement reduced the number of strikes in 1993.  The FNPR 
withdrew from the commission in August and organized a series 
of strikes and other worker protests to pressure the Government 
to maintain subsidies to industries and increase workers' pay.  
The FNPR was only moderately successful and decided to suspend 
further strikes because of the political crisis in Moscow.

The Government did little to protect workers from management's 
retribution in the event of a strike.  FNPR-affiliated union 
officials work in a close, subordinate relationship with 
enterprise management.  As a result, FNPR-led strikes were 
usually approved in advance and supported by enterprise 
management.  Free union members and leaders face threats and 
intimidation from enterprise management.  Free union officials 
contend that these actions are often taken with the passive 
support of FNPR officials and local politicians.

During 1993, free union officials were increasingly aggressive 
in pressing their case in the Russian courts, with moderate 
success.  For example, the Association of Trade Unions of 
Yekaterinburg has been very active in employing law students 
from the city's legal institute to assist member unions protect 
worker rights.  The head of the Association says the poor state 
of the legal system is the primary hindrance to the protection 
of workers' rights.

Unions are permitted to form and join federations or 
confederations and may participate in international bodies.  
The Government designated the FNPR to represent Russian workers 
at the International Labor Organization (ILO) conference in 
1993.  The ILO Governing Body in 1993 addressed two freedom of 
association complaints against the Russian Federation, one of 
which was from the FNPR protesting a decision by local 
government bodies prohibiting wage check-offs for union dues.  
The ILO observed that government bodies should not interfere 
with check-off arrangements reached through collective 
bargaining between workers and employers but that such 
deductions should not infringe on the right of workers to 
belong to trade unions of their choosing.  

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Collective bargaining is not widely practiced and still largely 
misunderstood by workers and enterprise directors because 
official unions, which include managers in their membership, 
continue their close, subordinate relationship with 
management.  The tripartite commission reinforced this 
misunderstanding by perpetuating the process whereby official 
unions and enterprise managers spoke with a common voice, 
requesting subsidies, for example, from the Government.

Some free unions understand the importance of creating in 
Russia a system in which enterprise management is independent 
of labor and the Government and is held responsible for 
complying with the terms of contracts.  Recently, as firms have 
become privatized, the courts have started to compel 
enterprises to comply with contracts.

Most wages continue to be set at the industry level by 
government agencies or in national tariff agreements negotiated 
in the Tripartite Commission.  The Labor Code does not 
explicitly prohibit antiunion discrimination by employers.  
Such a prohibition is implied, however, in several sections of 
the Labor Code.  The Government admits that under current law 
there is no mechanism for resolving labor disputes; it recently 
undertook, however, to establish in the Labor Ministry a 
service for the resolution of disputes.  The legal basis for 
conflict resolution and the full establishment of the service 
were not expected until some time in 1994.  

During 1993, the Government established a number of foreign 
enterprise zones.  Worker rights are not more restrictive in 
these zones than elsewhere in the country.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The Labor Code prohibits compulsory labor, and there are no 
known reports that it occurs.  However, as in other areas of 
worker rights, the government apparatus for enforcing and 
overseeing compliance with labor laws either does not exist or 
is largely ineffective.  

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children.

The Labor Code does not permit the regular employment of 
children under the age of 16.  In certain cases, children aged 
14 and 15 may work in intern or apprenticeship programs.  The 
Labor Code regulates the working conditions of children under 
the age of 18, including prohibiting dangerous work and 
nighttime and overtime work.  Government enforcement is largely 
ineffective, but there is no evidence that this prohibition is 
violated in Russia.  The responsibility for the protection of 
children in this area is shared by the Labor Ministry and the 
Ministry for Social Protection.  

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

The legislature sets the minimum wage, which covers all 
workers.  It is so low, however, that few workers actually 
receive such a low salary.  Even the minimum pension is higher 
than the minimum wage.  The minimum wage is insufficient to 
provide a decent living for a worker and family.  Its primary 
purpose is to serve as a baseline for computing benefits, 
pensions, and some wage scales.  The minimum wage is set 
quarterly.  It was increased in July, for example, to just 
under $8 (7,740 rubles) per month at the then exchange rate.  
This is below the minimum pension of 14,000 rubles per month 
and the poverty line of about 20,000 rubles per month.  In 
contrast, the average wage in September was $67 (about 80,000 
rubles).  A December 1 decree by President Yeltsin raised the 
minimum wage to $12.25 (14,620 rubles).  

The Labor Code provides for a standard workweek of 40 hours, 
which includes at least one 24-hour rest period.  The law 
requires premium pay for overtime work or work on holidays.  

Russian law establishes minimum conditions of workplace safety 
and worker health, but these standards continue to be widely 
ignored, and no effective enforcement mechanism exists.  
Industrial deaths and injuries are very high, especially in 
heavy industries such as mining.  The free unions have been in 
the forefront of efforts to improve safety and health 

[end of document]


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