Russian press review 29.11.06

Russian press writes about the problems of administrative reform in Russia, new political technologies invented by the “United Russia” party and the protest of HIV-positive people over availability of drugs to fight the disease. 

The government’s inefficiency as a “manager”, a “proprietor” and a “businessman” is the main topic of an article in “Novie Izvestia” daily. “Administrative reform” in Russia has been going on for the past year. But polls suggest the public are not particularly excited about the way it’s being implemented. The daily lists a range of “bribes and offers” that are known to help get documents processed. It also quotes ordinary citizens and celebrities who've had to deal with civil services in Russia. They cite endless queues, a lack of information and bribery & corruption as the main problems in Russia's administrative system. However, the paper suggests the situation could be improved by limiting the power of bureaucrats.

“Nezavisimaya Gazeta” newspaper reports on an interesting method of recruiting voters invented by the “United Russia” party in St. Petersburg. In the run-up to Mother’s Day, the party handed out greeting cards with the party’s symbols to the city’s schools. The cards also contained the words “on behalf of United Russia”. The kids were supposed to simply put their names in the gap and send a joint congratulations to their mums from the ruling party. However, the paper points out that federal law prohibits political parties from interfering in the educational process.

Finally “Kommersant” business daily tells about a meeting which took place in Moscow that was organized by the Front AIDS movement. Demonstrators, most of whom were HIV-positive, demanded an “open contest” for all pharmaceutical companies manufacturing medicines to treat HIV/AIDS. The paper also says a national project, called “Health”, one of whose aims is the protection of the rights of HIV-positive people, has not been successfully implemented.

Corruption in Russia's healthcare system has led to an alarming situation which means that medicines which were supposed to be free and easily available are hard to get. Add to that public attitude that needs to be changed and it makes the lives of people with HIV just that bit more difficult.