Proportion of literate adults: 99.7% (estimated, 2019)
Major religions: Christianity (Russian Orthodox) 42%, Islam 7%
Urban population: 74.6% (2019)
Life expectancy (male / female): 66/77 years (2019)
Gender Inequality Index: Rank 49 (of 189) (2019)
Number of births: 1.7 / woman (estimated, 2019)
Infant mortality: 6.5 / 1000 live births (2019)
Human Rights & Civil Society
According to militarynous, Russia guaranteed all human rights and civil liberties in the 1993 constitution. The president and government have repeatedly pledged to uphold human rights, but they have not been implemented in practice. Despite increased reform efforts, especially in the prison area, the human rights situation in the country has not really improved. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg can barely cope with the five-digit number of pending proceedings against Russia; Russia is opposed to strengthening the court.
Human rights activists complain of state pressure on civil society actors. In the context of the fight against terrorism, authoritarian tendencies that restrict basic rights can be observed. However, new forms of civil society are emerging in many places: motorists protest against the arbitrariness of the traffic police, Strategy 31 advocates freedom of assembly, environmentalists prevent the transport of nuclear waste, and the Wojna Art Group is backing spectacular protests. The links between these “initiatives from below” and the established Russian NGOs are still weak.
The verdict against three members of the punk band Pussy Riot, who protested against Putin with a performance in the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, should have an intimidating effect on civil society. The three women were sentenced to two years in a prison camp.
Several thousand people benefited from an amnesty in December 2013 (including the activists of Pussy Riot), and Putin pardoned Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who had been imprisoned for almost ten years. The pressure on other critics of the regime, participants in protest actions, the media and civil society organizations is nevertheless increasing, often with criminal consequences.
The NGO laws have been increasingly tightened since 2012. Since then, organizations that receive money from abroad have had to register as ” foreign agents “. The organizations are subject to increased controls by the authorities. Several organizations then stopped working. Since the end of May 2015, the Attorney General has been able to ban an organization that has been classified as ” undesirable ” by the Federation Council without further proceedings.
Major sporting events
Russia hosted the 2013 World Athletics Championships, the 2014 Winter Olympics, the 2014 Formula 1 Grand Prix, the 2015 World Swimming Championships and the 2016 Ice Hockey World Championships. This sports marathon was crowned by hosting the 2018 World Cup.
2014 Winter Olympics
The Black Sea resort of Sochi with 330,000 residents, has from 7 to 23 Feb 2014 XXII. Olympic Winter Games aligned. It was the first Winter Games in a subtropical city and the second Olympic Games in Russia.
The Olympics became a prestige project of national importance. Around 9 billion euros were invested in expanding the necessary infrastructure. Not only were new sports facilities built, but the expansion and modernization of the transport infrastructure, energy generation, the telecommunications network and the catering and hotel sectors have also taken place. In addition to pure sports facilities, Sochi was also developed as a year-round health resort. To this end, the winter sports resort “Krasnaya Polyana”, which is not far from the city, was developed for tourism and its infrastructure expanded. The regional capital Krasnodar has also been modernized.
In early 2013, Human Rights Watch reported grievances on construction sites and found that employers had confiscated the passports and work permits of migrant workers from abroad.
Football World Cup 2018
As early as September 2012, the then FIFA President Joseph Blatter and Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko had eleven venues – Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Saransk, Sochi and Volgograd – and twelve stadiums for the 2018 World Cup announced. Most of the sports facilities were built specifically for the prestigious competition of nations and are to be taken over by local clubs after the finals. Moscow’s Luzhniki Olympic Stadium, built for the 1980 Olympics, was the venue for the opening game and the final.
A budget of 10.2 billion US dollars was estimated for the construction and renovation of the stadiums and the expansion of the infrastructure. Because of the tense economic situation, Russia decided at the beginning of 2015 to save on stadium construction. At some of the venues there was therefore a smaller number of permanently installed seats available than previously announced. At the end of April 2018, the Kosmos Arena in Samara was the last World Cup stadium to receive an operating permit. All venues were ready for use in good time.
For the venues, the World Cup brought a boost to the expansion of the infrastructure: a new airport was built in Rostov-on-Don, Saint Petersburg’s Pulkowo airport was renovated and Samara airport got a new terminal. In Yekaterinburg, the city motorway ring was completed just in time for the World Cup. The Russian railways have bought new trains to take fans to the games for free.
In spring 2014, as a result of the Crimean crisis, voices were heard in the media for the first time to boycott the 2018 World Cup. Another reason for criticism and demands for a new award were revelations about Russian state doping in the course of the McLaren report in 2016 and the resulting partial exclusion of the Russian association from the 2016 Summer Olympics.