FY 1995 Annual Report on "U.S. Government Assistance to and Cooperative Activities with the New Independent States of the Former Soviet Union," published April 1996. Prepared by the Office of the Coordinator of U.S. Assistance to the NIS Submitted Pursuant to Section 104 of the FREEDOM Support Act (Public Law 102-511).
USAID DEMOCRATIC PLURALISM INITIATIVES
By the end of FY 1995, a total of $182 million had been obligated, including $56 million in FY 1995, and a total of $94 million expended under USAID's Democratic Pluralism Initiatives to promote democratization by supporting democratic processes and institution-building, with a special emphasis on promoting the rule of law, democratic local governance, and a strengthened civil society and independent media.
Political Process Programs
In FY 1995, grant activities implemented by the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the Free Trade Union Institute of the AFL-CIO (FTUI), and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) continued to facilitate the strengthening of local, regional and national democratic institutions and processes by supporting the development of political parties, civic organizations and independent labor unions, and promoting free and fair elections.
IRI, NDI and FTUI worked with democratic reform-oriented parties to improve their political skills and their capacity to provide constituent services, as well as to help them increase coordination and communication between their national, regional and local organizations. In FY 1995, Armenia, Kazakstan, Russia and Ukraine also received election-related training and technical assistance which complemented the ongoing long-term political process programs. IRI, NDI and FTUI worked with political parties and civic organizations to train poll workers and monitors, and to develop campaign skills, while IFES worked mainly with government officials and central election commissions to address shortcomings in existing electoral laws and to promote the transparency and accountability of elections. All four of the grantees organized voter-and civic-education programs. While it is impossible to establish a direct causal link with any particular democratization program, the fact that an increasing number of political parties, candidates, independent trade unions, and civic organizations participated in political processes was an encouraging sign that democratic reform was making progress in the NIS.
The Rule-of-Law Consortia, the American Bar Association's Central and Eastern European Law Initiative (ABA/CEELI), and the American Legal Consortium (ALC) carried out a variety of complementary legal-reform activities in FY 1995. The rule-of-law grantees helped establish independent, effective court systems by providing training to judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys; helped establish independent bar associations; helped develop the capacity to provide continuing legal education; provided expert commentary on draft commercial and criminal codes and draft constitutions; and promoted grassroots legal reform by supporting public law clinics, local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and a jury-trial initiative in Russia.
Russia: USAID grantees affiliated with Harvard University and the University of Maryland helped Russian officials develop and pass a major portion (Part I) of a reformed Civil Code--the portion governing sales and contracts, which will serve as the legal and philosophical basis for future market-based economic activity in Russia. USAID grantees are providing ongoing assistance to Russian officials to facilitate the passage of the remainder of the Civil Code, which includes sections on banking and securities.
Ukraine: The USAID-funded Associates in Rural Development/Checchi (ARD/Checchi) Consortium and its subgrantee, the Ukrainian Commercial Law Project, are helping working groups in the Ukrainian Parliament and President Kuchma's Administration to pursue a coordinated approach to drafting key commercial laws which will establish a market-oriented commercial-law framework in Ukraine.
Russia/Ukraine: The ARD/Checchi Consortium, which has enlisted the cooperation of the Ohio and Vermont Supreme Courts and Bars, and of the National Judicial College, is helping establish reformed judicial systems that will enable judges to resolve economic disputes and enforce the law effectively, efficiently and fairly, and to protect citizens from arbitrary government actions. By the end of the program, all of Russia's and Ukraine's commercial-law judges will have been trained in market-oriented legal reform. This program helps address the kinds of issues that are hampering Russian and foreign business investments and, consequently, economic growth.
Both ABA/CEELI and ARD/Checchi are helping train the next generation of lawyers in commercial and criminal law, through ongoing law-school and continuing-legal-education programs.
Two complementary projects--a joint effort being undertaken by the Department of Justice in collaboration with ABA/CEELI, and an effort by ARD/Checchi--are supporting the reintroduction of jury trials in Russia and the drafting of new criminal codes, and are training prosecutors to fight crime effectively while simultaneously respecting human rights. These efforts are laying the groundwork for a reformed criminal-justice system that can fight crime and corruption, protect human rights, and instill public confidence in a society based upon the rule of law. The Russian Parliament is preparing to pass a reformed criminal code which, along with the new Constitution, will help establish the legal framework needed to modernize the country's criminal justice system and to prosecute criminals fairly and effectively. The Department of Justice and ABA/CEELI have helped Russian officials analyze and draft many key portions of this important set of laws.
ARD/Checchi, in coordination with Germany's Marshall Fund, helped establish criminal-law clinics in Russian law schools in order to provide crime-fighting training to future lawyers and judges. With the help of these clinics, reform-minded law-school faculty members wrote a comprehensive textbook on international organized crime, and are now coordinating with various Russian criminal-justice institutions and U.S. advisors on important organized-crime research, and are working on draft criminal laws.
Encouraging Public Support for Legal Reform
Throughout the NIS, USAID is supporting and training nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) whose mission is to advocate on behalf of human rights, promote the development of transparent participatory legal and legislative processes, and enhance the free flow of legal information, all of which will help protect and promote reforms and will provide a check against arbitrary government action.
Parliamentary Development Programs
USAID is facilitating greater parliamentary transparency and independence in the NIS countries in order to enable elected policy-makers to develop reform-oriented policies and laws, and to promote the concept of a legislature that functions as a co-equal branch of government and serves as an effective check against the executive branch. In the NIS countries, however, one of the factors impeding parliamentary effectiveness is inadequate technical infrastructure. In several NIS countries, USAID grantees are therefore providing direct technical assistance to improve the institutional capacity of the countries' parliaments.
For example, the Parliamentary Human Rights Foundation connected the Georgian Parliament to the Internet so that parliamentarians and their staff can access legislative information from U.S. and other foreign sources. This Internet access facilitated the drafting of the Georgian Constitution and will continue to facilitate the development of Georgia's legal infrastructure--additional hookups were made available to a variety of governmental and nongovernmental organizations. President Shevardnadze praised this project for keeping the international community informed about developments in Georgia and giving Georgia access to unlimited amounts of information. This project has helped circumvent one of Georgia's main obstacles to further reform: its collapsed communications infrastructure.
USAID is also supporting parliamentary assistance programs implemented in Russia and Ukraine by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), and in Ukraine, by the U.S. Ukraine Foundation in collaboration with Indiana University. In FY 1995, CRS continued to work with the Deputy Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament (Supreme Rada) to identify ways in which the legal environment can promote private investment in Ukraine. CRS also provided the Supreme Rada with networking capability and automation equipment that connected the Parliament to the Internet (see CRS section below). Meanwhile, the U.S. Ukraine Foundation/Indiana University Parliamentary Assistance Program (PAP) continued to work closely with commissions in the Supreme Rada to help them formulate their reform agendas--ten articles of a revised budget-system law that was passed in July specifically reflect information provided by PAP, as did the process by which Rada deputies revised the text of the draft law. PAP also continued to provide advice to Ukrainian parliamentarians on budget development and budgetary control, and helped establish an auditing and control body within the Supreme Rada similar to the U.S. General Accounting Office. In addition, PAP produced and distributed to all Ukrainian parliamentarians a well-received bulletin (The Visnyk) analyzing issues facing the Ukrainian Parliament and containing information on PAP activities.
Local Governance and Public Administration Programs
USAID helped municipal governments in several NIS countries become more transparent, accountable and responsive. A consortium led by the USAID-supported Research Triangle Institute continued to implement the NIS-wide Municipal Finance and Management (MFM) Program, which is designed to help the municipal governments of eight demonstration cities to introduce new management and financial practices and to upgrade service delivery. The MFM Program has resident advisors stationed in Moscow, Nizhniy Novgorod and Vladivostok in Russia; Lviv, Ternopil and Kharkiv in Ukraine; Atyrau, Kazakstan; and Karakol, Kyrgyzstan.
Under the MFM Program, municipal officials from the above cities traveled to the United States to meet and confer with their U.S. counterparts; upon returning home, the Mayors of Kharkiv, Ternopil, Nizhniy Novgorod and Karakol made landmark decisions to increase the transparency and accountability of their municipal governments. For example, for the first time, they presented their municipal budgets and spending priorities, and accounted for expenditures, through television broadcasts, town meetings and newspaper articles.
Kyrgyzstan: The MFM Program has had a significant nationwide impact. RTI is assisting the government with the development of model city charters, for adoption initially in Karakol and the Issykul Oblast (Region) and eventually nationwide. RTI is also advising the Presidential Committee on Local Government on the formulation of new legislation to increase decentralization.
Russia: In Nizhniy Novgorod, the country's third largest city, a team of U.S. and Russian computer experts successfully installed a financial software package in the city's finance department which will revolutionize its budget operations. Nizhniy Novgorod's municipal government thus became the first in Russia to adopt U.S.-style fund-based accounting principles. As the program continues, an increasing number of city managers will have the capability to report financial performance against a transparent budget, and will have a greatly enhanced capability to control expenditures and deliver public services more effectively.
Ukraine: In Ukraine, the MFM Program supported the growth of a mayors' association which now has over 60 active members and a full-time executive director. The Mayors' Association has developed a legislative agenda, and has learned firsthand the role of lobbying in a democratic society. The organization's stature has grown to the point that it was asked by President Kuchma's office to help draft legislative amendments leading to greater decentralization and increased empowerment of local government. In Ternopil, the MFM Program worked with the municipal government to develop an integrated program to improve the city's bus service; in early November, 15 newly repaired buses were brought back into service, increasing the fleet's capacity by 40 percent. Other significant improvements in Ternopil's city bus service included improved fare collection, reduced costs, the installation of a prototype fleet-management and maintenance software program, the establishment of a revolving fund for the purchase of spare parts, and a program under which commercial space is offered in exchange for making structural repairs to bus stops.
NGO Development Programs
USAID continued to support the development of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) throughout the NIS, helping them to increase their capacity to provide services and to participate in public policy-making in their communities. Through seed grants, training and institution building, the NIS-U.S. Women's Consortium established by Winrock (a USAID grantee) worked to enhance the development and operations of a united group of women's NGOs in Russia and Ukraine. The Consortium has already trained a local cadre of trainers who are now organizing leadership, fundraising and networking seminars.
Similarly, another USAID grantee, World Learning, supported U.S. private voluntary organizations (PVOs) which are working directly with counterpart NGOs in the NIS. Projects supported by World Learning focused on increasing the capacity of indigenous NGOs to address social-service needs, create income-generating opportunities for vulnerable and needy populations, and participate in their communities. For example, World Learning subgrantee Opportunity International facilitated the establishment of an entrepreneurs' club, as well as an NGO association whose mission is to facilitate networking among non-profit service organizations in Nizhniy Novgorod. Opportunity International's local partner NGO, Vozmozhnost (Opportunity), made several small-business loans which have already resulted in more than 1,000 new jobs.
Yet another USAID grantee, the Counterpart Consortium, trained local NGOs and PVOs in project design and NGO management at Counterpart Service Centers in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova. Counterpart also provided seed grants to local NGOs to provide services to populations suffering as a result of the breakdown of social services after the collapse of the Soviet Union., Counterpart also worked to stimulate NGO networking, communication and participation in public policy-making. The Counterpart Consortium experienced a slow start, but will implement the bulk of its seed-grant program in FY 1996.
Ohr Torah's USAID-funded "Helping Hand" job-skills training project facilitated the transition to a democratic, free-market system by encouraging self-help and developing business initiative in the NIS. Of the 226 students who graduated from summer/fall session of the "Helping Hand" program, 30 percent have reported an increase in their standard of living, 15 percent found new jobs based on their newly acquired skills, 15 percent pursued further education and 7 percent changed their professions or started their own businesses.
Independent Media Programs
In FY 1995, USAID-funded programs continued to support the development of independent newspapers and broadcasters throughout the NIS by providing journalists with training, technical assistance and equipment.
The Independent Television (ITV) Program managed by USAID-grantee Internews provided training and technical assistance to independent broadcast stations and helped develop an alternative television-news distribution system in the NIS. Earlier this year, many of the stations involved in this alternative distribution system gave viewers throughout the NIS their only exposure to objective information on the war in Chechnya.
The USAID-funded Russian-American Media Partnership (RAMP) Program fostered partnerships between U.S. and Russian media organizations, with the goal of helping the Russian partners become viable and financially self-sustaining. Partnerships initiated by the RAMP Program included ones between the National Association of Broadcasters and the Russian National Association of Telecasters, the Providence Journal Company and the Globe Press Syndicate, and Bloomberg LP and Skate Press.
The USAID-funded International Media Center (IMC) in Kiev supported the development of nongovernmental media in Ukraine by training and helping equip independent television stations, supporting independent documentary producers, and operating a press-information center. An IMC-based group began producing four daily live news programs for Ukraine's Second National Channel. IMC recently became one of the founders of Ukraine's largest national network of independent television stations.
USAID provided funding to the Children's Television Workshop to develop and broadcast a Russian-language version of the PBS educational children's program "Sesame Street," with an emphasis on teaching democratic and civic values. The program has now selected a Russian production company and is proceeding with the filming of live-action and animated sections and the training of Russian puppeteers.
CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE (CRS)
In September 1993, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) of the Library of Congress began a program of support to the Ukrainian Parliament (the Supreme Rada) with $2.9 million in FREEDOM Support Act funding. In May 1994, CRS began a program of assistance to Russia's Federative Council, under which $2 million had been obligated by the end of FY 1995. Both of these parliamentary assistance programs are designed to improve the access to and use of information and policy analysis by legislators and their staffs, based on the premise that only an effective and informed legislature can serve as an independent check against the executive branch. In FY 1995, CRS provided technical assistance and training, automation and networking equipment, and materials for the two countries' parliamentary libraries, including books, subscriptions to foreign and domestic periodicals, and CD-ROM databases.
In Ukraine, CRS funded the installation of a fiber-optic network to connect the six buildings of the Supreme Rada and linked the Supreme Rada to a satellite dish in Kiev supplied by the United Nations. With this new system, the Supreme Rada will have rapid access to the Internet and thus to information from throughout the world. In November, CRS held a program on parliamentary information technology that provided a demonstration of the global information resources available through the Internet, as well as of various automation systems available to the Rada for use by its deputies and their staff. Other training programs held in FY 1995 included an in-depth orientation for the Deputy Speaker of the Supreme Rada, Oleh Dyomin, to the U.S. Congress, CRS, and other congressional support organizations in February 1995; a training program for the director of Ukraine's new Parliamentary Research Center; a program on research emphasizing foreign investment, held in Washington in August for seven staff members of the Supreme Rada; and a conference to train 33 Rada interns sponsored by the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress.
In FY 1995, Ukraine became a participating member of the Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) of the Law Library of the Library of Congress. GLIN, which will be accessible through the Internet, provides access to the official versions of the laws of participating countries through indexing and abstracting in English linked to digitized images of the official laws. A lawyer and automation technician from the Supreme Rada were trained in Washington by Law Library staff in abstracting and data-input procedures. Through GLIN, Ukraine's laws will be accessible to a worldwide audience.
CRS sponsored the visits of two major Russian parliamentary delegations in FY 1995. A delegation including the First Deputy Chairmen of both the State Duma and Federative Council and four committee chairmen visited CRS in an effort to strengthen support for improvements to the information and analytical services of the Russian Parliament. A visit by a second delegation comprised of senior parliamentary staff led by the Deputy Secretaries General of the State Duma and the Federative Council resulted in the approval of an action plan for making further improvements. The delegation's automation specialists were able to see the capabilities available to the U.S. Congress and to observe the work of their counterparts at CRS.
In May, CRS sponsored the participation of two Russian parliamentary librarians in a regional conference for parliamentary librarians in Prague. In June, CRS organized a parliamentary-institute training session for 13 researchers, policy analysts and information specialists from both houses of the Russian Parliament and librarians from Russia's Parliamentary Library. CRS also competitively selected vendors to deliver $700,000 worth of computer equipment, networking equipment and vendor training to Russia's Parliamentary Library in early 1996. Using Ford Foundation funding, CRS purchased and delivered equipment to upgrade a CD-ROM tower previously installed in the Library by CRS. In FY 1995, CRS provided 265 books, journal and CD-ROM subscriptions, and other library materials to the Russian Parliamentary Library. CRS also provided replacement copies of all CRS materials and surplus duplicates of the reference materials from the Exchange and Gift Division of the Library of Congress that were destroyed in the Russian White House in October 1993.
ANTI-CRIME TRAINING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE (ACTTA) PROGRAM
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, a sharp increase in organized crime and other types of criminal activity has led many NIS citizens to equate the transition to a democratic, market-based system with an overall breakdown in law and order, and has begun to pose a threat to the international community as well. In late FY 1994, in recognition of the transnational dangers posed the rise of crime in the NIS and Central Europe, the U.S. Government established the Anti-Crime Training and Technical Assistance (ACTTA) Program--an interagency effort administered by the State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs which is designed to help NIS and Central European law enforcement officials develop new techniques and systems to cope with crime while simultaneously strengthening the rule of law and respect for individual rights. The NIS component of the ACTTA Program has three major objectives: (1) to develop partnerships between U.S. and NIS law enforcement agencies which will enable them to combat organized crime and other forms of criminal activity in the NIS, (2) to help prevent NIS organized crime from spreading in the United States, and (3) to focus U.S. Government-funded training and technical assistance on three areas of mutual concern to the U.S. and NIS governments: international organized crime, financial crimes and drug trafficking, as well the need to expand the institutional capacity of NIS law enforcement agencies to combat these problems.
In FY 1995, the NIS component of the ACTTA Program focused primarily on the four nuclear successor states--Belarus, Kazakstan, Russia and Ukraine--but will be expanded to include Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Moldova in FY 1996. A total of ten Justice Department and Treasury Department agencies participated in the ACTTA Program in FY 1995:
Department of Justice: the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP), and the Office for Professional Development and Training (OPDAT);
Department of the Treasury: the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF); the U.S. Customs Service; the U.S. Secret Service; the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC); and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
In FY 1995, the ACTTA Program provided 56 training courses to a total of 1,870 NIS law enforcement personnel. Forty courses were conducted for a total of 1,150 Russian law enforcement officers--15 of these courses were U.S.-based and 25 were conducted in Russia. Seven courses were conducted in Ukraine for a total of 350 law enforcement officers, seven courses were conducted in Belarus for a total of 340 law enforcement officers, and two courses were held in Kazakstan for a total of 30 law enforcement officers. Interagency groups led by the State Department traveled to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakstan and Kyrgyzstan to consult with government officials in those countries on proposed ACTTA training. As a result of the initial successes of the ACTTA program in Russia, more open communication between U.S. and Russian law enforcement agencies led to the expansion of ACTTA efforts beyond Moscow and St. Petersburg to include regional centers such as Chelyabinsk, Khabarovsk and Nizhniy Novgorod.
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