Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
June 1, 2005
U.S. Assistance to Russia -- Fiscal Year 2005
In Fiscal Year 2005, the $915.78 million budgeted by all U.S. Government agencies for assistance programs in Russia is allocated roughly as follows, based on information available as of the date of this fact sheet:
Democracy Programs. U.S. assistance continues to face a number of challenges given the Russian government's backsliding over the past several years. Although Russia made progress in some areas, key concerns included the Russian government asserting influence over independent media; parliamentary and presidential elections in 2003/2004 which were markedly less competitive than those of the 1990s; continuing violence, human rights abuses and political pressure in Chechnya; politically motivated criminal prosecutions; and the decision in 2005 for regional governors to be appointed by the president rather than elected. Recognizing these challenges, U.S. assistance programs focus on supporting civil society, independent media, local government reform, the rule of law, promoting free and fair elections and government accountability. In particular, democratic assistance implemented by USAID helps strengthen Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and civil society, increase citizen access to -- and participation in -- local government, strengthen local government institutions, increase accountability, and reduce corruption. Additionally, our assistance supports regional television stations, radio and print media and the improvement of voter and civic education, election monitoring, and training for young people and political leaders. U.S. Government programs also provide training for journalists, work to establish better partnerships between Russian and American judges and attorneys, and help local governments to function more openly and responsively. U.S. technical assistance programs help Russia make significant strides including toward greater independence of the judiciary; hundreds of local, regional and national elections; several thousand local and regional television and radio stations; and tens of thousands of civic, business, philanthropic and advocacy associations.
Economic Reform. U.S. Government assistance programs help the development of small and medium-sized enterprises through support to small business associations, micro-finance institutions, and training. Programs with the Central Bank target improved bank supervision and anti-money laundering. The U.S.-Russia Investment Fund provides direct investment to support private Russian companies.
Social Reform. USAID administers assistance programs to help Russia address serious problems in maternal and child health, reproductive health, infectious disease -- particularly HIV/AIDS and TB -- and child welfare. One clear sign of success is the reversal in Russia's infant mortality rate, which had increased in the past fifteen years. U.S. Government programs are also addressing serious family support issues that cause child abandonment. In addition, U.S. Government activities are geared to reducing the HIV/AIDS infection rate in Russia, which is among the most rapidly growing in the world, through collaborative efforts in education and research. The medical communities in the U.S. and Russia are also working together to develop improved treatment and care for Russians living with AIDS.
Security and Law Enforcement Programs. U.S. Government programs in Russia that consolidate, secure, or destroy and dismantle weapons of mass destruction account for the lion's share of U.S. Government assistance to Russia in Fiscal Year 2005. These programs support one of the U.S. Government's highest priorities in our relations with Russia: securing cooperation to reduce the risk of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The Department of Defense's Cooperative Threat Reduction program assists Russia with the destruction of strategic delivery systems, the enhancement of security for Russia's nuclear weapons in storage and during transport, and the construction of a facility for the safe destruction of chemical weapons. In order to improve interoperability with coalition or NATO forces, the International Military Education and Training Program provides training, in English, in peacekeeping operations, non-commissioned officer development, search and rescue, civil/military interaction, and military medicine for military and civilian officials of the Ministry of Defense. The program is moving from strategic to tactical interoperability focusing on the future of the Russian peacekeeping brigade. The Export Control and Related Border Security Assistance program assists Russia in stemming the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their delivery systems, and related technologies.
The Departments of State and Energy administer complementary programs to counteract the threat of WMD. Department of Energy activities assist in the securing and disposing of nuclear material, engagement of former weapons scientists in viable research endeavors, and the strengthening of the nonproliferation regime. Department of State programs, including the Science Centers Program, Bio-Chem Redirect Program, and BioIndustry Initiative, help redirect the activities of former weapons scientists toward peaceful research endeavors. Today, these redirection programs are developing models to bring former Soviet scientists with weapons expertise into self-sustaining enterprises.
The Anti-Crime Training and Technical Assistance program supports diverse activities, including: implementation of the July 2002 Criminal Procedure Code and the August 2004 Law on Witness Protection; adoption of modern investigative techniques in the fight against narcotics, trafficking in persons, smuggling, money laundering, terrorist finance, and cybercrime; the development of U.S.-Russian legal cooperation under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty; adoption of community-based policing in the Sakhalin region of the Russian Far East; the protection of intellectual property rights; and support of research into crime and corruption in Russia.
Humanitarian Assistance. The Department of State budgeted $8.5 million in FY 2005 to assist internally displaced persons in the North Caucasus. An additional $5 million will be spent for humanitarian, conflict mitigation, and relief and recovery assistance for needy families and communities in Chechnya, Ingushetia, and elsewhere in the North Caucasus. Since 1999, the Department of State has provided over $125 million for relief assistance in the North Caucasus.
Cross-Sectoral Initiatives. USAID administers programs concerning management of natural resources combine sound business and ecological techniques to help Russia manage its Siberian forests, which hold more than 20% of the world's standing timber. U.S. Government assistance helps independent Russian research and policy institutions produce scholarly articles and advice for policy makers that are specifically adapted to Russia. U.S. Government implementers are also helping to bring civil society, local government, media and business together to combat corruption across Russia.
The State Department operates an umbrella program called the "Regional Initiative" (RI), designed to promote cross-cutting development in selected areas of the country outside of the major population centers. Current areas of focus are the Tomsk/Novosibirsk area of Siberia and the Russian Far East. The RI helps coordinate assistance activities in these regions, provides information to local residents about programs active in the area, and encourages greater participation of regional governments in on-going programs.
Exchange programs are a vital means for Russians to experience directly how a market economy and pluralistic society actually work. Many alumni of U.S. Government exchange programs occupy key positions in Russian business, government, press, education, and civil society. They are key proponents within Russian society of liberal democratic values. In FY 2004, approximately 3,000 Russians came to the United States on U.S. Government-funded exchange and professional training programs. Since 1993, over 61,000 Russians have come to the United States on these programs.