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Treson. The bill ws prompted by widespred nger t the privtiztion of huge stte enterprises in the 1990s in often shdy dels tht enriched few wellconnected tycoons nd left the government with fr le.html

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The government and liberal lawmakers warned that the bill contradicted the Constitution and other laws. The Duma annulled its approval of the bill in a 261-136 vote Friday, despite loud protests by Communists and other hard-liners who called the move "treason".

The bill was prompted by widespread anger at the privatization of huge state enterprises in the 1990s in often shady deals that enriched a few well-connected tycoons and left the government with far less than expected returns.

The government and lawmakers have been trying for years to agree on procedures for nationalizing property, which according to the Constitution can only occur if a court has ruled that the privatization of a company was illegal, or if the company is declared bankrupt.

The government, afraid of spooking foreign investors with massive, Soviet-style seizures of private assets, has proposed its own bill with stricter procedures on nationalization.

    1 Read the newspaper article to discuss it in the class.

  2 Find the Russian equivalents to the underlined words in the text, paraphrase them, give synonyms or antonyms to them if possible.

   3 Write out the pairs of words to add the word partnership diagram " Bill" on page 23.

  4 Analyze the newspaper article according to the scheme
drawn in lesson 1 (patterns 1-5).

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 Street Children Lost in the Red Tape

The Moscow Times, January 24, 2002 By Andrei Zolotov Jr.

Bureaucrats will want to expand the welfare system rather than reform it, experts fear.

a) Read the article. Fulfil the following tasks.
"Names in the article"

Find the names of as many people as you can and write down each name together with a one-line biography, for example.

Gorbachev, politician, former president of the Soviet Union.

b) Sum   up   the   information   about   the   people   and
organizations they represent to circle those who worry and care
about the country's future - children.

There is a well-known Russian proverb: With seven nannies, a kid loses an eye.

It is precisely this abundance of bureaucratic "nannies" that has become the main cause behind the growing problem of besprizorniki - street kids, most of whom run away from their parents, experts say.

Despite their differing approaches, the experts agreed that the existing system of child welfare must not be expanded but reformed: Todav, they say, there is no single institution or individual responsible tor coordinating the disparate activities of a host of government agencies dealing with millions of neglected children.

Street urchins and drug abuse unexpectedly skyrocketed to the top of the national agenda during President Vladimir Putin's televised call-in session with the public in December. Last week, Putin scolded Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matviyenko,

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who oversees social issues, for the government's failure to deal with homeless and runaway children and ordered Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov to draw up proposals for a solution.

"Homeless children and the criminalization of teenagers have reached threatening proportions," the order said.

Putin's displeasure has sent bureaucrats scurrying into action. A number of child welfare officials contacted last week were busy writing reports for the Cabinet or attending endless meetings with higher-ups.

Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov held a meeting Friday where he ordered the creation of a specialized centre for working with kids in each of the city's districts and a municipal coordination task force, Interfax reported.

No one knows exactly how many street children there are nationwide. While Matviyenko told Putin the figure has reached the million mark, the Prosecutor General's Office estimates there are as many as 3 million, and reports from City Hall placed the figure at 1 million to 5 million.

Moreover, the vast majority of today's street urchins have run away from living parents who drink heavily, have no means to feed their kids or routinely abuse them.

The economic crises suffered by Russia during its transition from communism have certainly played a role in the problem. But with more children in the streets today than immediately after World War II, experts believe that an erosion of the family and the overall moral degradation in Russian society have become equally significant factors.

"It cannot be boiled down simply to an economic problem, it's a moral issue," said Tamara Ivanova, who spent years as head of the Moscow police department's juvenile inspectorate before transferring to the Interior Ministry's research institute last year.

But perhaps the greatest obstacle in dealing with the crisis is institutional.

 In 1999, in part to comply with European standards, the State Duma passed law taking responsibility for troubled children away from the Interior Ministry - which had been in charge of the problem ever since 1921, when Soviet secret police founder Felix Dzerzhinsky undertook to tackle the orphan crisis that arose after eight years of war.

Instead, a complicated system of child welfare was established under which different functions were given to branches of the Labour and Social Development Ministry, Education Ministry, Health Ministry, Justice Ministry and local authorities. Even police juvenile departments are now in dual jurisdiction - the Justice and Interior ministries'. Coordination is entrusted to special commissions that meet on an ad hoc basis.

"All the resources the country has are supposed to work for this system; but, while each link in the chain is very good in and of itself, the results run around in the streets," said Maria Ternovskaya, director of Moscow's orphanage No. 13, which specializes in foster care. "One agency [the Interior Ministry] lost its powers and others don't know how to deal with the problem. A gap emerged and children went en masse to the streets. "

Ivanova said that social welfare agencies were not ready to assume the new responsibilities without reorganization and retraining.

"We can boast as much as we want about signing various European conventions, but we did not sign them to send kids wandering in the streets and sniffing glue," she said in a telephone interview.

None of the experts felt that the police should again take charge of child welfare.

"It would be a step backward," Ivanova said. "Kids should not be raised behind bars," Ternovskaya agreed.


But all of them said that police officers - who are now forbidden to touch a street kid unless he commits a crime - must be allowed to take children off the street, place them in temporary shelters, use police databases to track down parents and place children into institutions run by social welfare or educational services if they cannot be returned home.

Since Boris Gryzlov's appointment as Interior Minister, the ministry's position has changed and its social functions are likely to be broadened.

In the mean time, local authorities are searching for stopgaps: The Moscow City Duma proposed last week to impose a curfew for children unaccompanied by parents -11 p.m. for those 14 and under and 1 a.m. for those 16 and under. Apparently, the measure aims to create a legal pretext for policemen to detain street urchins.

But institutional reforms will not be enough on their own, experts said.

A much bigger issue is the families from which kids flee because of drinking, beating, abuse and hunger.

Ternovskaya, a member of the Education Ministry's working group that has developed proposals for changing the system, said the power to coordinate child welfare activities should be enhanced at a local government level.

Local officials must take an active approach in evaluating families, finding endangered children and then steering them and their parents through the rehabilitation process, after which kids should either return home or be placed with foster families or boarding schools, she said.

When the 1999 law was adopted, the system it prescribed was not yet in place. Now it is more or less there. Ternovskaya said there are about 270,000 children living in 2,000 institutions. These include 1,330 orphanages (local education departments), 360    boarding    schools    (education    and    social    welfare

 departments), 250 orphanages for kids under 4 (health departments) and 800 shelters (social welfare departments).

About 150 new institutions are built every year, costing the budget millions of dollars, Ternovskaya said.

She expressed concern that the president's order to take action and bureaucratic panic would trigger the building of more institutions, while proper retraining of personnel and reforms coordinated by local authorities would yield a better result. Foster care - possibly leading to adoption - is one good option, she said. Another is building up local authorities' child care branches and empowering them to take a proactive approach, since troubled families rarely ask for help and, instead, try to hide their problems.

Taking Britain as a benchmark, Ternovskaya said, 50 to 70 social workers should work at every low-level municipality, such as Moscow's upravy - which are now staffed by only one or two people each.

"The Family Code should include a clear separation of rights and obligations between parents and the respective services run by local authorities," Ternovskaya said. "These services should have rights to actively interfere in troubled families."

The State Duma has made some attempts to tackle the lack of coordination. After hearings on the issue in December, the Duma is set to consider a bill on plenipotentiaries for children's rights who would coordinate the work of officials in every region.

Vera Lekareva, a Union of Right Forces deputy who chairs the Duma's commission on street children, said at a round table held last week by Komsomolskaya Pravda that the commission supports the bill.

Another hurdle to overcome will be the tense relations between government bodies and nongovernmental organizations.

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Local child welfare agencies should sign contracts with NGOs who have trained social workers. However, government bodies must have the right to inspect privately run shelters, many of which also allow for the violation of children's rights.

Ivanova dedicates most of her time to developing a juvenile justice system so that children who commit crimes do not fall into the larger legal system, but go from juvenile police to juvenile investigators to juvenile judges to a juvenile corrections system where all officials are specially trained and not burdened by other cases.

Without such a system in place, local officials try to improvise.

Moscow city's education minister, Lyubov Kezina, said Wednesday the city would attempt to create a database of those who skip school and to investigate the reasons. She said teachers, policemen and social workers would carry out "joint raids" to find persistent truants.

But some people are distrustful of such initiatives.

"What does a bureaucrat think about today?" they asked. "To issue a resolution that would allocate budget money, which, in turn, can be eaten up - both legally and illegally."

     2 Enumerate    the    governmental    and    nongovernmental organizations responsible for child welfare.

     3 Discuss: What has been done and 'what is proposed to do with homeless and runaway children?

 

LESSON 2

THE STATE BODY STRUCTURE

     Read and discuss the newspaper article. Pay attention to the underlined words.

The President Reaches the Compromise with Governors

Moscow News, September 6, 2000

By Anna Ostapchuk and Yevgeny Krasikov

In Samara, Putin and regional leaders discussed a number of sensitive issues.

The President was apparently going to take up some of the most acute problems. But whereas the most painful subject for the governors was their participation in the work of the federal executive, for the President it was contradiction between federal and regional laws. Prosecutors have scrutinized all local laws, pinpointing 465 unlawful acts. After a series of urgent requests, the local authorities amended just fifty. But what about the others? The President expressed his discontent to the governors, in a rather uncompromising tone. The President used a very simple managerial rule: to end a conversation on a constructive

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