Over the past two decades, USAID has provided assistance that has helped the Russian people improve public health and combat infectious diseases, protect the environment, develop a stronger civil society, and modernize their economy. As Russia has grown into a middle income country, the nature of USAID’s work has evolved beyond primarily providing technical assistance with a large focus on collaboration. By 2012, the majority of USAID’s engagement revolved around the promotion of an open and innovative society in Russia and a strengthened partnership between the U.S. and Russia. The work led to many breakthroughs and transformations described below.
USAID-supported projects helped introduce internationally recognized approaches in diagnostics and treatment of tuberculosis enabling the national TB program to decrease transmission and improve treatment success rates. Russia ranks 11th among 22 highest TB burden countries and the third among priority multi-drug resistant (MDR) and extensively drug resistant (XDR) TB countries worldwide.
USAID’s child welfare program has provided over 80,000 at-risk children and their parents with innovative services designed to reduce abandonment, resulting in a 33% increase in family reunification and an 85% increase in the number of foster families in target regions.
USAID’s health programs have dramatically helped raise awareness among Russian citizens of their health-related rights and responsibilities and strengthened an array of NGOs, including more than 200 which work on HIV/AIDS.
Russia is experiencing a concentrated HIV/AIDS epidemic fueled by injection drug use. Together with the Global Fund, UNAIDS, other international organizations and an array of Russian NGOs, local regional and national authorities, USAID is supporting dissemination and institutionalization of best practices for prevention, care and treatment.
USAID also has supported Russia’s reemerging efforts as a global donor and partnered with Russia to address health issues in third countries and globally. In the last two years, the U.S. and Russia have signed protocols of intent to work together on the global effort to eradicate polio and to control malaria.
USAID has been a proud supporter of Russia’s oldest human rights organizations that have been pivotal in promoting support for democratic values throughout Russia.
As a world-wide movement for open government has developed, USAID has supported civic watchdog groups in Russia that have provided non-partisan oversight over electoral processes including through innovative uses of technology.
USAID supports civil society organizations whose number and influence has grown from 40 registered organizations in 1987 to approximately 300,000 today, not including state-funded public organizations. These organizations contribute to Russia’s economic, political and social life in numerous ways and provide opportunities for citizens to help create better communities and elevate their voices.
USAID has helped foster the development of skills and relationships that have generated a more resilient information environment, especially as technology has evolved. Since 1992, USAID has supported the development of professional relationships between Russian and American journalists, publishers, electronic media managers, designers, content developers, advertising specialists and new media practitioners. In recent years, USAID media programs have worked to encourage convergence between traditional and new, innovative digital media.
USAID-funded Rule of Law implementers helped draft the Russian Constitution, Part I of the Russian Civil Code, and the Russian Tax Code.
USAID assistance led directly to the adoption of the 2001 Land Code which provided the right to buy, sell, and own urban and rural land in Russia.
Since 2001, the Government of Russia and the World Bank collaborated to implement two multi-billion-dollar judicial reform programs. These programs were built on models and best practices introduced to Russia by USAID programs in 1992-2008, which were related to improvements in court administration, justices of the peace, and jury trials. Russia increased its court administration budget thirty-three times between 2001 and 2010. The number of judges and their salaries were increased as well. Justices of the Peace and jury trials were reintroduced into the Russian justice system.
Over 5,000 Russian and U.S. judicial officials have taken part in exchanges and events resulting in strong partnerships between Russian judicial bodies and U.S. counterparts.
The U.S. Russia Investment Fund (TUSRIF), founded with a 1995 grant of $329 million from the US Government, promoted the development of a free market economy in Russia by providing investment capital to well-conceived, potentially high-growth entrepreneurial companies. TUSRIF generated in excess of $350 million in investment proceeds, and attracted $1.2 billion in outside equity, debt and co-investments.
Through microfinance, USAID supported the development of the small business sector, which in Russia still accounts for only about 12% of the economy as compared with 50-70% of the U.S. and European economies.
The Russian electricity sector has successfully undergone substantial restructuring and reform since 1992. Early USAID assistance focused on restructuring and particularly the design of the future competitive electricity market. These principles and design guide today’s electricity market as implemented by the Government, the electric utility system companies and their advisors. In 2012, USAID has been helping Russia develop a smart grid and improve energy efficiency.