Russian News: January 31st, 2008!

31/01/2008 16:26 MOSCOW, January 31 (RIA Novosti) – Suicide is the primary cause of violent deaths globally with over one million people taking their own lives annually, the head of Moscow’s social and forensic psychiatry center said Thursday.

Suicide is the world’s eighth leading cause of death. Globally, suicide takes more lives than murder and war put together, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report.

“Since 1950 the figure has grown 60% worldwide,” said Professor Boris Polozhy of the Moscow Serbsky Institute for Social and Forensic Psychiatry.

In Europe the country with the highest rate, among both men and women aged 25-64 years, is Lithuania, followed by Belarus, Russia and Latvia. The region with the lowest suicide rate is Latin America.

In Russia, the number of suicides has plunged 30% from 2001 to 2006, when a total of 42,855 Russians committed suicide. Currently, the overall rate is 30 deaths per 100,000, with over 22% of suicides committed by people aged 40-49. Almost six times as many Russian males commit suicide than females.

“The peak suicide rate in Russia was in 1995, and the figure is now falling,” Polozhy said.

Research also shows that the most vulnerable jobs are psychiatrists, musicians, lawyers, military personnel and insurance agents……(Click: read more for rest of News Items)

31/01/2008 15:32 MOSCOW, January 31 (RIA Novosti) – Soviet soldiers buried in the Hungarian village of Kiskorpad will not be removed after the land was sold to a private owner, a Russian embassy spokesman said citing local authorities on Thursday.

The cemetery was sold “through a misunderstanding” and “Hungarian lawyers are considering the issue and drafting proposals in accordance with Hungarian laws,” Irina Zvonova said.

“A move is out of question,” she added citing the village mayor.

In May 2007, the removal of a monument to Soviet soldiers in another ex-Soviet country Estonia led to clashes between protestors and local police, leaving one dead, over 150 injured and more than 1,000 arrested.

The human rights group Amnesty International condemned the situation in Estonia and called on its leadership to respect the rights of ethnic Russians.

31/01/2008 15:42 MOSCOW, January 31 (RIA Novosti) – The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe may refuse to monitor Russian presidential polls due to restrictions, a spokesman for the OSCE’s election-monitoring arm told a national daily.

In an interview with Moskovsky Komsomolets published on Thursday, Curtis Budden, a spokesman for the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), said that conditions set by Russia’s Central Electoral Commission (CEC), meant that his organization would be unable to perform its functions fully.

He said Moscow had given permission for monitors to enter Russia on February 28, which would not give them enough time to adequately prepare to observe the March 2 vote.

The ODIHR refused to monitor Russia’s parliamentary election on December 2 last year, citing visa delays and restrictions. The OSCE subsequently declared the polls not free and not fair.

Budden said the invitation the OSCE had received for the presidential polls “has serious restrictions both in terms of the number of observers and time they are allowed to observe.”

The head of the CEC, Vladimir Churov, said on Monday that 70 ODIHR observers had been invited to monitor the presidential election.

The ODIHR asked Russia on Tuesday to reconsider its quotas for the number of observers as well as the observers’ mandates. A Russian election official said the CEC was studying the OSCE’s request, and the election body’s deputy chairman, Stanislav Vavilov, said a reply would be provided soon.

President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia will not allow foreign countries to influence its presidential election.

Speaking at a session of the country’s state security service, the FSB, Putin called for measures to deter “attempts to interfere in Russia’s domestic affairs.”

31/01/2008 14:53 MOSCOW, January 31 (RIA Novosti) – The state-run VTsIOM opinion center forecast on Thursday that Dmitry Medvedev, a first deputy prime minister and a presidential runner, will receive 74.8% of the vote in the March 2 elections.

Another three candidates have passed the registration procedures ahead of the polls in addition to Medvedev: Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, the ultra nationalist Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Andrei Bogdanov, the leader of the tiny pro-Western Democratic Party.

“This is about the number [President] Vladimir Putin received in 2004 [71%],” VTsIOM Director General Valery Fyodorov told a news conference. He added that 75% of Medvedev’s electorate were those who voted for Putin in 2004.

Publicly endorsed as his choice of successor by Putin, Medvedev enjoys high popularity ratings in the country and is the clear front-runner.

Fyodorov forecast that Zyuganov would receive 12.8% of votes, Zhirinovsky 11.5% and Bogdanov a mere 0.9%.

Fyodorov said that a survey conducted among a sample of 1,600 in 46 Russian regions last weekend showed that 63.5 % of respondents would vote for Medvedev, 5.3% for Zyuganov, 5.5% for Zhirinovsky and 0.4% for Bogdanov.

Zyuganov said he would take part in the TV debates.

Fyodorov also said that voter turnout on March 2 would be around 70.7%.

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