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Russia Issues - 2024


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Disputes - international

Russia-China: in 2023, Russia rejected a new PRC map that laid claim to Bolshoi Ussuriysky Island in its entirety as Chinese territory; this move undermined a 2004 Agreement in which Russia and China demarcated long-disputed islands at the Amuri and Ussuri confluence and in the Argun River

Russia-Denmark-Norway: Denmark (Greenland) and Norway have made submissions to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), and Russia is collecting additional data to augment its 2001 CLCS submission

Russia and Estonia: Russia and Estonia signed a technical border agreement in May 2005, but Russia recalled its signature in June 2005 after the Estonian parliament added to its domestic ratification act a historical preamble referencing the Soviet occupation and Estonia's pre-war borders under the 1920 Treaty of Tartu; Russia contends that the preamble allows Estonia to make territorial claims on Russia in the future, while Estonian officials deny that the preamble has any legal impact on the treaty text; negotiations were reopened in 2012, and a treaty was signed in 2014 without the disputed preamble, but neither country has ratified it as of 2020

Russia-Finland: various groups in Finland advocate restoration of Karelia (Kareliya) and other areas ceded to the Soviet Union following World War II but the Finnish Government asserts no territorial demands

Russia-Georgia: Russia's military support and subsequent recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia independence in 2008 continue to sour relations with Georgia; in 2011, Russia began to put up fences and barbed wire to fortify South Ossetia, physically dividing villages in the process; Russia continues to move the South Ossetia border fences further into Georgian territory

Russia-Japan: the sovereignty dispute over the islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan, and the Habomai group, known in Japan as the "Northern Territories" and in Russia as the "Southern Kurils," occupied by the Soviet Union in 1945, now administered by Russia, and claimed by Japan, remains the primary sticking point to signing a peace treaty formally ending World War II hostilities

Russia-Kazakhstan: Russia boundary delimitation was ratified on November 2005; field demarcation commenced in 2007 and was expected to be completed by 2013

Russia-Lithuania: Russia and Lithuania committed to demarcating their boundary in 2006 in accordance with the land and maritime treaty ratified by Russia in May 2003 and by Lithuania in 1999; border demarcation was completed in 2018; Lithuania operates a simplified transit regime for Russian nationals traveling from the Kaliningrad coastal exclave into Russia, while still conforming, as an EU member state with an EU external border, where strict Schengen border rules apply

Russia-North Korea: none identified

Russia-Norway: Russia and Norway signed a comprehensive maritime boundary agreement in 2010, opening the disputed territory for oil and natural gas exploration; a visa-free travel agreement for persons living near the border went into effect in May 2012

Russia-Ukraine: Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014 and launched a full-scale invasion in 2022; in 2014, Russia purported to annex Ukraine’s territory of Crimea, while in 2022, Russia purported to annex parts of Ukraine’s Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk oblasts; as of 2024, Russia continued to wage a war of aggression against Ukraine and make illegal claims to Ukraine’s sovereign territory  

Russia-US: Russian Duma has not yet ratified 1990 Bering Sea Maritime Boundary Agreement with the US; the southwesterly "Western Limit" places about 70% of the Bering Sea under U.S. maritime jurisdiction

Russia-various: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Russia ratified Caspian seabed delimitation treaties based on equidistance, while Iran continues to insist on a one-fifth slice of the sea

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 1,212,585 (Ukraine) (as of 30 June 2023)

IDPs: 7,500 (2022)

stateless persons: 56,960 (mid-year 2021); note - Russia's stateless population consists of Roma, Meskhetian Turks, and ex-Soviet citizens from the former republics; between 2003 and 2010 more than 600,000 stateless people were naturalized; most Meskhetian Turks, followers of Islam with origins in Georgia, fled or were evacuated from Uzbekistan after a 1989 pogrom and have lived in Russia for more than the required five-year residency period; they continue to be denied registration for citizenship and basic rights by local Krasnodar Krai authorities on the grounds that they are temporary illegal migrants

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 3 — Russia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so, therefore, Russia remained on Tier 3; despite the lack of significant efforts, the government facilitated the return of Russian children from Syria, some of whom may have been trafficking victims; however, a government policy or pattern of trafficking of Ukrainian citizens and North Korean workers continued; officials reportedly forced, deceived, or coerced foreign national adults to fight in Russia’s war against Ukraine or subjected some to forced labor in detention; the government continued to perpetuate North Korea’s imposition of forced labor on North Korean workers and circumvented UN Security Council resolutions prohibiting North Korean overseas labor; officials did not identify any trafficking victims, and efforts to prosecute and convict traffickers decreased; the government offered no funding or programs to provide services for trafficking victims and routinely penalized victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked; officials did not draft a national strategy or assign roles and responsibilities within the government to combat human trafficking; the government's forced transfer of thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia—including separating some children from parents or guardians—greatly increased their vulnerability to trafficking; Russia’s war against Ukraine has created millions of Ukrainian refugees and internally displaced persons who are highly vulnerable to trafficking (2023)

trafficking profile: human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Russia and Russians abroad; although labor trafficking is the predominant problem, sex trafficking also occurs; victims from Russia and other countries in Europe, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, China, and North Korea are subjected to forced labor in Russia’s construction, manufacturing, textile, agriculture, farming, maritime, grocery and retail store, restaurant, and domestic services industries, among many other tasks; traffickers also exploit victims in criminal activities such as drug trafficking, facilitation of illegal migration, and production of counterfeit goods; undocumented migrants and refugees reportedly face particularly high risk of trafficking; the government increased the use of convict labor to offset a shortage of labor migrants; women and children from Europe (predominantly Ukraine and Moldova), East and Southeast Asia (primarily China and the Philippines), Africa (particularly Nigeria), and Central Asia are victims of sex trafficking in Russia; Russian women and children reportedly are victims of sex trafficking in Russia and abroad, including Northeast Asia, Europe, Central Asia, Africa, the US, and the Middle East; some corrupt officials facilitate victims’ entry into Russia, protect traffickers, and in some cases engage directly in trafficking crimes; observers note a growing use of non-labor visas to bring North Korean workers to Russia, where the North Korean Government subjects many of these citizens to forced labor conditions; Russian-led forces in Ukraine reportedly forcibly conscript adults to fight against their country and recruit children for fighting or support roles in eastern Ukraine; Ukrainians forcibly displaced to Russia following the invasion of Ukraine and Ukrainians in Russian-controlled eastern Ukraine are highly vulnerable to forced labor; widespread reports indicate Russian authorities transported without consent Ukrainian orphans and foster children to Russia and gave them to Russian families; the Kremlin-backed Wagner Group reportedly recruited and used children in the Central African Republic, and Russian-led forces reportedly recruit Syrian child soldiers to guard installations and fight in Libya (2023)

Illicit drugs

a destination country for heroin and other Afghan opiates; a transit country for cocaine from South America, especially Ecuador to Europe, Belgium and Netherlands; synthetic drugs are produced in clandestine drug laboratories throughout the country; marijuana cultivated in Russian Far East and the North Caucasus; the majority of hashish is smuggled in from Northern Africa

NOTE: The information regarding Russia on this page is re-published from the 2024 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Russia 2024 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Russia 2024 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 04 May 24, Copyright © 2024 ITA all rights reserved.