Russia - Social development

A social insurance system provides pensions for old-age, survivorship, and disability. The program is funded by employer payrolls, and self-employed persons and independent farmers contribute a fixed amount monthly. The government provides subsidies when needed. A government-funded system provides coverage for state employees, military personnel, and other specified groups. All citizens and refugees are entitled to medical care; employed persons receive cash benefits for sickness. Unemployment programs are funded by the government. Maternity benefits cover 100% of earnings from between 10 and 12 weeks before the expected date of childbirth and 10 to 16 weeks after childbirth. A universal system of family allowances provides a birth grant, a funeral grant, and a monthly benefit for each child under the age of 16.

The constitution prohibits discrimination based on race, sex, religion, language, social status or other circumstances. Despite these constitutional provisions, employment discrimination against women and minorities occurs. On average women earn significantly less than men and cluster in the lower-paid jobs and professions. The high cost of maternity care benefits leads some employers to hire men rather than women. Women suffer disproportionately in situations of worker layoffs. There is no law against sexual harassment and abuses in the workplace are common. Spousal abuse is a widespread problem and is treated as a domestic matter rather than a criminal offense. Sexual violence and other crimes against women are underreported and the government provides no support services to victims.

Discrimination against people from Central Asia and the Caucasus is on the increase according to international human rights organizations. These minorities were subject to harassment, searches, and arrest by police, and were sometimes denied local authority permission to reside in Moscow. Anti-Semitic rhetoric is increasing and several instances of intimidation and violence have been reported. Muslims continue to face discrimination.

Serious violations of human rights were reported, many of which occurred during the conflict in Chechnya. Both Russian military and Chechen forces committed abuses, including the killing of thousands of civilian residents and incidents of rape following the 1999 offensive at Alkhan-Yurt. An estimated 10,000–20,000 persons die in Russian prisons every year due to mistreatment, unhealthy living conditions, and lack of medical care.

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