Russia’s first statistical analysis of children’s issues
Normal 0 Normal 0 At the end of 2008 there were 26 million children in Russia, 12 million fewer than in 1995. How do young Russians live? The answers to this are contained in a new book “Children of Russia” published by the Russian Federal Statistical Service jointly with UNICEF. The 120-page publication contains data on children’s demography, health, education, leisure, economic involvement, living standards, social protection and criminality. On the occasion of its launch, UNICEF’s representative in Russia, Bertrand Bainvel, said that its appearance was timely. In 2009 the Russian authorities took a new interest in children’s affairs, setting up an institute of the President’s Ombudsman for children’s rights. Bainvel considered the data on different regions of Russia as the most telling statistics in the brochure, and said that its publication was a first, but not the only one of its kind. The Head of the Federal Statistical Service, Aleksandr Surinov, also expressed the hope that such work on children’s issues would continue. He called on the academic community to comment on the brochure and suggest new topics for research. The first commentary on the work came from the Chair of the Foundation for Support for Children at Risk, Marina Gordeeva, who observed that the chapter on the situation of children with special needs was written mainly from a medical point of view. There was not enough information about social support for families with children with special needs, or about the possibilities for them to be educated in ordinary schools. Ms Gordeeva also thought the section of the publication on orphaned children rather modest. More detailed information is needed, for example on the proportion of orphans among all children, and a comparison by region. Pavel Astakhov, Presidential Ombudsman for Children’s Rights, said that the data in the booklet would be used as the basis for a National Action Plan for children.