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#10 - JRL 7059
Ombudsman Mironov Faults Russia's Human Rights Record
Vremya MN
8 February 2003
Article by Armen Urikhanyan:
"An 'Unsatisfactory' for Quality of Life"

Yesterday Russian Federation Human Right ombudsman Oleg Mironov presented the not very comforting results of last year: the situation in the country regarding human rights remains unsatisfactory.

The stream of complaints arriving in the ombudsman's apparatus has reached 3,000 per month and keeps on growing. Mironov predicts that there will be an enormous number of violations in the upcoming federal elections.

The ombudsman links the troubles of Russians first of all with the difficult social-economic situation and the unfulfilled obligations of the authorities, for example, when people die of cold in their own apartments. Oleg Mironov has also told journalists about the unsatisfactory situation in our country's human rights. He is not against "billions in profits in the pockets of the oligarchs, but not due to the cost of oil itself. Where is the natural rent?" The younger generation is practically deprived of access to cultural valuables (R200 stipend as opposed to an R600 theater ticket). The ombudsman notes that almost 40 percent of the country's population has incomes lower than the minimum standard of living and 30 percent at the minimum level. Thus the majority of Russia's population lives either in poverty or on the edge of poverty.

Many of the contradictions, the ombudsman remarked, are concentrated in Chechnya. On one hand there is the anticonstitutional activity of the fighters, and on the other the malfeasance on the part of the federal authorities. Mironov supports in principle carrying out a referendum in Chechnya and thinks it is impossible to put it off. However the draft constitution's concepts of "sovereignty," "citizens of the Chechen republic" and too much authority of the president pique his curiosity.

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