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The Sarmatian Review Index

April 2003

Volume XXIII, No. 2

New nationalism in Russia

Estimated number of skinheads in Russia in 2003: 20,000, with 5,000 in Moscow and 3,000 in Petersburg.

Source: Interior Ministry official Valery Komarov on 4 February 2003, as reported by AF-P (Moscow) on the same day.

Number of people attacked and injured by skinheads in Petersburg in the first week of February 2003: two, of whom one, a medical student from Mauritius, died of wounds received.

Source: AF-P, 7 February 2003.

Estimated number of members of satanic sects in Russia in 2003: several thousand, with 500 members each in Moscow and Petersburg.

Source: Russian Interior Ministry on 4 February 2003, as reported by AF-P (Moscow) on the same day.

Date when both chambers of the Russian Duma approved a law that requires official languages in the republics forming the Russian Federation to use alphabets based on the Cyrillic script: November 2002.

Republics in which protests have already been raised over the new law: Tatarstan and Karelia.

Source: Chechen scholar Zaindi Choltaev, the Galina Starovoitova Fellow at the Kennan Institute,
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, "A New Nationality Policy or a New Setback for Russia," Russia and Eurasia Review, vol. 2, no. 2 (21 January 2003).


Average yearly alcohol consumption in Russia: 7.5 liters (1.95 gallons) per capita, while UN experts estimate that five liters is enough to threaten national security.

Number of Russians who died of alcohol poisoning in 2001: 47,000.

Source: AF-P (Petersburg), 5 January 2003.

Political opinions of Russians

Percentage of Russians who wish the Soviet Union had never collapsed: 68 percent.

Percentage of Russians who believe that the USSR was better suited to fostering people's social and economic growth than present arrangements: 75 percent.

Source: VtsiOM Poll released 30 December 2002, as reported by AF-P (Moscow), 30 December 2002.

Changes in Ukrainian population

Ukraine's Russian population according to 2001 census: 8.4 million, or 17.3 percent (down by three million since the 1989 Soviet census when Russians numbered 22.1 percent).

Percentage of ethnic Ukrainians in Ukraine in 2001: 78 percent (up from 72 percent in 1989).

Ukraine's population in 2001: 48.5 million.

Source: Taras Kuzio, "Census: Ukraine, more Ukrainian," Russia and Eurasia Review, vol. 2, no. 3 (4 February 2003).

European Union and migration fears

Estimated number of Poles working legally in the EU in 2002: 450,000.

Estimated number of Poles working illegally in the EU as seasonal laborers: between 150,000 and 300,000.

Estimated number of Czechs working in the EU in 2002: 20,000-30,000.

Countries that attract the largest number of foreign workers: Germany and Austria.

Source: Frank Laczko of the Geneva-based Internation Organization for Migration, as reported by Jean-Luc Testault, "Fears of EU immigration wave will prove unfounded: analysts," AF-P (Prague), 28 January 2003.

Budget deficits, debts etc.

Hungarian budget deficit in 2002: 9.6 percent of GDP.

Source: Deputy State Secretary of the Finance Ministry Istvan Varfalvi, as reported by AF-P(Budapest), 28 January 2003.

Size of the US public debt in 2001: 60 percent of GDP.

Source: National Public Radio, 4 February 2003.

Size of Poland's national debt in 2002: 44 percent of GDP.

Source: Finance Minister Grzegorz Kolodko, as reported by AF-P (Warsaw), 5 February 2003.

U.S. government public debt in 2001 in figures: $3,319.8 billion.

Unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare A and B in 2001: $4,207 billion and $12,814 billion.

Total negative worth of U.S. government in 2001: $23,479.8 billion.

Source: Financial Report of the United States Government for 2001 (, as reported by Scott Burns in Houston Chronicle, 17 February 2003.


The most traded commodities in the world: 1. oil 2. coffee

Amount of coffee shipped through the four "coffee exchange" ports (i.e., ports approved by the New York Board of Trade) in the United States in 2001: 674,000 tons.

Names and rankings of coffee exchange ports: New Orleans, New York, Miami, and Houston.

Number of coffee marketers in Houston: 27.

Source: Bill Hensel, Jr., in Houston Chronicle, 15 February 2003.

Foreign investment in Russia

Increase in direct foreign investment in Russia between 2001 and 2002: 0.6 percent, from 3.98 billion dollars in 2001 to 4.002 billion dollars in 2002.

Total foreign investment in Russia in 2002: 19.78 billion dollars.

Countries that invested most, in descending order: Germany (19 percent of all foreign investment in Russia), Cyprus (13.1 percent) , United States (12.9 percent), Great Britain (11.8 percent).

Amount of money British oil company BP intends to invest in Russia over the next four years: 6.75 billion dollars.

Source: AF-P, 18 February 2003.

Per-head foreign investment in post-Soviet countries in 2001

Foreign investment dollars per head of local population in 2001 in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Russia, and Ukraine, respectively: 468.9 dollars, 135.8 dollars, 65 dollars, 27.7 dollars, 13.3 dollars.

Source: Lucie Godeau, "Foreign investors shun Russia despite economic upturn," AF-P, 23 February 2003.

Russian small businesses

Small businesses as percentage of Russian GDP: 12 percent.

Number of small businesses per 1,000 people in Russia and the EU, respectively: 6, 30.

Percentage of Russian work force employed in small business: 18.3 percent, a percentage two to three times smaller than in Western Europe.

Source: Agenstvo Biznes Novostei (ABN), as reported by Russia Reform Monitor, No. 1014 (

Russian foreign trade:

The share of foreign trade in the GDP since 2000: 50 percent.

Percentage of Russian exports that are NOT mineral products, metals and metal products, timber, cellulose, pulp and paper: 25 percent.

Source: Julien Vercueil, "Opening Russia? Contemporary Foreign Trade," Russia and Eurasia Review, vol. 2, no. 4 (18 February 2003).

Polish public opinion:

Percentage of Poles opposed to military intervention in Iraq: 75 percent.

Percentage of Poles who believe the United States should be Poland's main strategic ally: 39 percent.

Poles who believe that Germany, Britain, France, or Russia should be Poland's main strategic ally: 20 percent for Germany, and five percent each for Britain, France, and Russia.

Percentage of Poles who believe that NATO is their best security guarantee: 70 percent.

Source: A recent poll, as reported by AF-P (Warsaw), 18 February 2003.

Wealth and poverty in Russia

Population of the Russian Federation in 2002: 143.3 million.

Of that, percentage of the wealthy upper class: 3 percent.

Percentage of those who belong to the comfortable middle class: 30 percent.

Percentage of those who are "disadvantaged" in various ways: 67 percent.

Source: Greg Thain, head of the Interactive Research Group (IRG) in Russia, as reported by AF-P (Moscow), 20 February 2003. IRG based its study on a representative sample of 4,500 people living across the Russian Federation.

Legal system in postcommunist Russia

Percentage of trials in Russia that ended in acquittals in 2002: 9,000, or 0.08 percent.

Percentage of trials in Russia that ended in acquittals in earlier years: zero.

Number of prisoners in Russia per 100,000 population: 630, or the second highest in the world.

Source: Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov, in an interview published on 25 February 2003, in Gazeta (

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Last updated 4/11/03