A Walk through Russia
Russia is the largest country on Earth and it borders countries that are in Europe as well as those that are in Asia. It is also bordered by Pacific and Arctic oceans. The country has varying landscape and as such, the weather also varies greatly.
For the past 20 years Russia has not experienced any significant population growth. The population has been on oscillation with some years experiencing growth while others experiencing a decline. However, one thing that remains unchanged is that the Russian population has accounted for about 1.89% of the total world’s population. From the year 2000 up to the year 2010 Russia’s population was decreasing. The total population in 2000 was 146,396,514 but by 2010 it had declined to 143153869. Therefore Russian experienced a decade of population decrease during that period. From the year 2010 until 2017 there was growth in population. Both the decrease and growth in population when compared to the total population accounted for only a small number. The increase and decrease was less than 0.5% of the total population. Thus, one can say that the population over the last 20 years has been constant since there have been no significant increase or decrease in population. The urban population forms the largest part of the total population which has been between 73.5% and 72.8% of the total population. When compared to the past years, there has been a tremendous increase in the urban population. The fertility rate has ranged from 1.25 and 1.71 in the last two decades and it currently stands at 1.71. The average age in the past two decades has ranges between 36.5 and 38.9 and it is now at 38.9 marks. The Russian population is now ranked at global position 9. At 2000 it was ranked at position 6 then by 2005 it has dropped to position 7 and by 2010 it was ranked at position 9. Therefore the Russian population has not increased at the same rate as other countries which have surpassed it in the global population ranking.
Russia is the biggest country in the world and hence it covers the largest part of earth in comparison to any other countries in the globe. It covers about an eighth of the inhabited land area on earth. The total area it covers is 17125200 square kilometres. The country also has the largest forest on earth. Therefore forestry plays an important part in the economy of the country. Because of the harsh winter most parts of the country especially Siberia region are under forest. It is estimated that 45% of Russia is under forest.
Russia has several competitive industries. They include electric engineering, mining, aircraft building, oil and gas industries, foodstuff industries, and the manufacture of weapons and military machinery among others. The leading industry is, however, machine building that takes place mostly in Moscow, Western Siberia, and St. Petersburg. It supplies all other economic sectors with the necessary equipment and machinery. Another major industry is the chemical and petrochemical industry. Apart from providing chemical raw materials used in mining, this sector produces mineral fertilisers, sulphuric acid, and chlorine among other products. Fuel and energy industry provide electricity and fuel used to run all sectors of the economy resulting in economic development. Presently, the products from this sector are the major exports of Russia. Other main industries in Russia are involved in metal ores extractions. Additionally, there are numerous industries that have specialised in production and processing of agricultural products.
By the end of 2017, Russia’s Gross Domestic Product was approximated to be worth 1577.52 billion US dollars, a value that represents nearly 2.54% of the economy of the world. From 1989 to 2017, it averaged 999.03 billion US dollars. Its highest value over this period was 2297.10 billion US dollars back in 2013. In 1999, however, it hit is record lowest value of 195.90 US dollars. The annual growth rate of its GDP during the period from 1989 to 2018 has average 2.99%. The total market value of commodities produced within Russia grew by 1.55% in 2017. In 2018, the GDP has expanded by nearly the same proportion. In the second quarter of 2018 for instance, it expanded by 0.90% compared to the first quarter. In the third quarter, the growth was averaged at 1.3%, a value that is slightly less than the 1.9% expansion reported with last year in a similar period. The statistics provided by the World Bank indicate that while industrial production, cargo turnover, and retail sectors experienced reduced growth, the construction and agricultural sectors contracted between 2017 and 2018.
A Walk through Russia
According to the World Bank, the economy of Russia is commodity-driven. Russia is the leading oil producer globally, accounting for nearly 14% of the world’s output. It is also the world’s producer of nickel, accounting to 12% of the total production, and natural gas, where it pumps nearly 18% of the total consumption in the world. The energy sector is crucial to the country’s GDP given that it contributes between 20 and 30% of its total value. Moreover, it is responsible for 65% of Russia Federation’s total exports. It is worth noting that 30% of the revue used to fund government budget comes from the same sector.
Russia has experienced unprecedented prosperity within the past 20 years that coincided with the rise of oil prices. This natural resource has been a major factor contributing to Russia rapid growth in GDP. The country’s dependence on natural resources was highlighted by global financial crisis of 2008 that led to a drop in oil prices. Although the economy and GDP contracted significantly during that period, it continued to grow in the years that followed as global financial markets became more stable and its oil sector recovered.
The Russian education system is structured such that the state is responsible for providing nearly all of the education services. The Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for regulating education. The prevailing framework allows regional governments to be in charge of education within their respective jurisdictions but in accordance to the established federal laws. Presently, Russia spends approximately 3.8 % of her GDP to fund education, an increase from 2.7% in 2005. Before 1990, the Soviet Union’s passage of school training lasted for 10 years. In 1991, however, an eleven-year course was launched and is still in operation until today. The government through all state-owned secondary schools provides free education to its citizens. On the other hand, the university-level education is also free but with reservations. Although most schools are state-owned, the number of private schools has been on the rise.
The Russia educational system is structured such that education starts at pre-school level (The European Education Directory, 2018). This stage is, however, not compulsory. Most children in preschool are aged six and attend kindergartens that pay much focus on both physical and intellectual undertakings. Primary school forms the first part of general education program. The other two stages are basic generation education and secondary education. While primary education takes four years, the next two stages last for five and two to three years respectively.
The country’s education system seeks to facilitate intellectual, social, and moral growth of learners. Moreover, it fosters their emotional and physical development to help them adapt to the society and to make wise choices relating to their future professional education. In any given year, general education takes 34 full weeks of study where students study for 27 to 36 hours each week. New academic year tarts in September and run until early June when school examinations are done. Russian is the only language of instruction allowed in all educational institutions.
According to the Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty (2017), the number of Russians facing poverty reached its highest peak in a decade in 2016. According to this organization, there were at least 19.8 million Russians living in poverty by that year, majorly as a result of poor performance of the economy following a sharp decline in oil-prices and the effects of Western sanctions that were imposed on the country following Moscow’s involvement in Ukraine. While quoting figures provided by the state statistics service, the report by Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty indicates that the number of Russians living in poverty increased by nearly 300,000 in 2016 compared to the previous years. In the same year, the income of more than 14% of the total population was below the accepted minimum of $171 or 9,691 rubles. In 2006, more than 21.6 million people survived on les that the accepted income. However, in both instances, the level of poverty was below that recorded in 2000 when more than 40 million citizens survived on less than $171.
Rowe (2017), notes that there are several factors that have contributed to the high level of poverty in Russia. First, the sanctions imposed on the country in 2014 in response to its annexation of Crimea contributed to the poor performance of the economy. Second, the economy contracted significantly following the 2008 financial crisis that resulted in diminishing price of oil, the country’s major export commodity. Third, debt has also contributed significantly to Russia’s poverty situation. Most of the country’s local governments depend on the more commercial loans, which have put them in increasing debt. The national government expects to receive high taxes from the local governments, most of which are struggling to pay national loans. These factors combining with the country’s high are of inflation and decreasing wages has pushed more millions below the poverty level.
The Russia Federation upholds a multi-party system. Six of its major parties are represented in the federal parliament. The dominant party is the United Russia that is led by Vladimir Putin (British Broadcasting Cooperation, 2012). It controls the majority of seats in parliament at both national and regional levels. United Russia advocates the stability of Russia, both politically, socially, and economically, with the aim of regaining the superpower status of the country. It bases its notion on unique identity and ideology of the ancient Russian values.
The Communist Party of the Russian Federation is the main left-wing political organization in Russia and controls the second-largest number of seats in parliament. It is popular among older working-class people. While is main ideology revolves around patriotism and Russian identity, it condemns capitalism using soviet-era rhetoric. The Liberal Democratic Part of Russia comes in thirds and thrives on populist views. In recent years, the party has focused its attention on defending rights of ethnic Russians. A Just Russia, Yabloko, Right Cause, and Patriots of Russia form the remaining small parties. A Just Russia advocates social justice and stability. The ideology of Yabloko, on the other hand, is built on a mixture of social democracy and liberalism.
The Criminal Justice System of Russia is rooted in an act known as Russkaya Pravada from the 11th century. The criminal procedure code in use now has been effect since 1995 and was made possible by president Yeltzin. So far the criminal code has been amended a total of 7 occasions since the 90s. The reforms have been rather slow. (Nikiforov, 2018)
According to World Fact Book of Criminal Justice System, the following is true in the Russian case. Crime in Russia is classified in in three areas. They include legal classification in the criminal code where every crime is on the list. The code separates crime into major offenses such as treason and murder and minor offenses such as hooliganism. The nature of the crime determines the prison sentence. The age criminal responsibility of Russia is 16 years but a child of 14 years can be prosecuted for murder, rape, major bodily injury and a variety of other major crimes. If one is under 18 years, they are eligible for reform rather than serving a prison sentence. Drug offences are a major crime in Russia and are provided for in the Criminal Code. They include unlawful production and distribution of drugs, stealing drugs, and consumption of the drugs, illegal acquiring and storage of small parcels of drugs, cultivation of poppy and hemp and organizations related to the drugs. The country also has an illegal list of drugs that are criminal to handle.
The major crimes in the 90s were murder, major bodily injury and rape. The victims of crime are mostly the youth and the very old. Victims are allowed to participate in prosecution and sentencing. (Nikiforov, 2018)
The police also known as militia are an executive branch of the government and part of the ministry of Internal Affairs. The militia exists in two groups. Criminal militia are under the ministry of Internal Affairs. Their tasks are to prevent supress and expose preliminary investigation offences. They are also required to expose persons who escaped from execution, investigation, inquiry or any other law requirement.
The second group is the Public Security Militia which is under local authority. It is mandated to providing citizens with a secure environment, protect public order, deal with criminal offences that do not require investigation and assist the entire public in their daily living. (Nikiforov, 2018)
On average, the police spend US$10,000,000,000. If a city has more than 300,000 residents, they are given their own police detachment. A town with 50,000 people is given 8-12 police officers. There are officers for penitentiary, inquiry and inspection.
To be part of the militia, one should not have a previous criminal record, must be between 18-35 years of age and have attained a secondary education. Probation lasts from 3 to 12 months.
The militia have been given the power to use force; special means such tear-gas and weapons in their fight against crime. Fire arms and special means however cannot be used on women, people under 18 years and .persons living with disabilities. Suspects are arrested after a crime if they were found within the vicinity, were seen around the crime area, show obvious signs of the crime, the person tried to escape or cannot be identified. Prosecutors give the search warrants.
Arrested persons have the right to appeal against the militia through their bosses, prosecutor or court. (Nikiforov, 2018)
The accused has the right to information on what they are accused of, give explanation or present evidence, petition or appeals in court, to know the reasons for arrest, to validate court materials, to know why they are being incarcerated, to examine records of pre-trial examination, right to a counsellor, right to reject a judge or other trial participants, to examine materials relevant to the case and have the right to appeal against a prosecutor, judge or investigator.
A court can be made up of a judge and two assessors, three judges, a jury or judge alone.
Before a suspect is tried, they pass through two pre-trial processes. These are preliminary investigation and court investigation. They have a right to bail. Incarceration rates are below 48 %( Nikiforov, 2018)
The courts are on three levels. The highest is the Higher Court of Russia. It is followed by Supreme courts of the republics, regional courts and city courts. On the third level are the people’s courts and is found in the districts and smaller towns. The military have separate courts and tribunals are handled by the Supreme Court. (Nikiforov, 2018)
To be a judge, one must be a citizen of Russia, have higher legal education certificate, be of good reputation and pass the qualification exam. To serve in the people’s court, one must be 25 and above, to serve in the second level one has to be 30 and above and have 5 years’ experience and 35 and above to serve in the highest court of the land and have 10 years of experience.
A judge cannot be associated with any political party, engage in other businesses for money. In addition to being a judge however, one can contribute to science, be a lecturer or do creative work. The judges are first elected for five year probation and then they qualify to serve for life.
They try the militia and other security agencies, espionage cases and penitentiary system officers. (Nikiforov, 2018)
The penalties are criminal punishments and death penalty performed by a firing squad. Death penalties are for offences against human life. (Nikiforov, 2018)
Include 764 reform institutions, 13 prisons and 60 educational-labour institutions. There are adult and juvenile prisons as well as male and female. These systems are under Department for Reformation Affairs within Internal Affairs. Prisoners are paid for their labour as the constitution prevents forced labour. Juveniles must complete their education. If a prisoner is of excellent behaviour they are released earlier from prison. (Nikiforov, 2018)
The criminal jurisdiction is determined by rule of territory and the rule of citizenship. Russia has bilateral treaties regarding legal assistance. Russia also transfers convicted criminal to serve time in their own countries. (Nikiforov, 2018)
According to International Statistics on Crime and Justice conducted by the United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime, the following crimes occurred in Russia. The first one is homicide and the Russian Federation was leading in 2007 in the European region (UNODC, 2007) Russia also has a major assault of 26.9. According to this report, Russia did not appear in burglary rates, motor vehicle theft, rape, kidnapping or other assaults that should be reported by police. The Russian federation however did appear for drug-related crime in 2000 at the rate of 166 per 100,000 populations. (UNODC, 2007)
In comparing population growth, Russia has a slower population growth compared to the US. It also boasts of a bigger land area. While the US is largely comprised of two political parties, Russia has six political parties which all participate in the general election. While the US is fighting to keep immigrants away from their borders due to increasing rates of immigration, Russia is trying to invite foreign labour force because it does not have enough labour as a result of a smaller population of the working generation.
Comparing crime and criminal justice between the US and Russia results in some similarities and differences. By looking at the crime issues mapping by the UNODC, it is easy to notice that Russia lacks information especially those crimes that are reported by the police. The US has more reliable statics. Homicide in Russia is higher than in the US.
Under criminal justice systems, a variety of differences exist between the two countries. In the victims of crime for example, the very old in Russia are a major target. However in the US, the old are not likely victims on an attack. The youth in both countries however form the largest number of victims in crime.
Unlike Russian police who are only divided into two groups, in the US police exist in as federal, state, local and city police all reporting to different agencies. In the judicial process, incarceration rates in Russia are lower compared to the US. In the judicial system, the courts are basically the same, but unlike the US, Russia does not separate civilian cases with criminal cases. They however have a military and tribunal court. In Russia, judges are restricted by age unlike in the US. In Russia also, the judges cannot be affiliated to any political party or be members of parliament. In the US, these restrictions are not in place as sometimes, judges are elected by officials who are affiliated to political parties. In Russia, judges are exempt from participating in for-profit businesses something which is not applicable in the US.
In sentencing, a person found guilty in Russia and put on the death row can only die through a firing squad. In the US however, other options for death row inmates exist such as death by the electric chair or lethal injections. Russia practices exchange of criminals which is not applicable in the US in cases of major crimes. While Russia is very dependent on parole for excellent performing prisoners, the US is slower in giving parole thus resulting in overcrowded prisons. Russia has fewer prisons compared to the US as a result of early releases and lower incarceration rates in cases dealing with criminals. In Russia, a criminal is more likely to get a labour correctional service than a prison sentence compared to the US.
Russia struggles with a low population especially the working people as the young generation is a small number. They however seek to rectify the problem through importing foreign labour. The country is also democratic as different political parties participate in nation building. Their judicial system is at par with international standards but the country needs to deal with murder which forms their largest criminal activity as well as drugs. Russia supports the international community especially by its role in the Interpol, helping to solve international crime. Russia may not be up to par with the US on GDP or nationwide development but it is doing well and steady progress in noticeable. Russia is doing better on the international map and their president is dedicated to making Russia the place to be. So far, they are doing a good job.
British Broadcasting Cooperation. (2012). Russia parliament elections: How the parties line up. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-15939801
Nikiforov, I. (2018) Russia. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/wfbcjsru.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwiz1-PSj-LeAhUmyoUKHSKIAhAQFjACegQICRAB&usg=AOvVaw1B8orZDh7xTJVJaXfrSd99
Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty . (2017). Number of Russians in poverty hits decade-high. Retrieved from https://www.rferl.org/a/recession-sanctions-left-20-million-russians-living-poverty-2016-up-300000-2015/28413387.html
The European Education Directory. (2018). Russia. Retrieved from http://www.euroeducation.net/prof/russco.htm