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Table of Contents
Country Reports
Russian Federation, Landmine Monitor Report 2006

Russian Federation

Key developments since May 2005: Russian officials confirmed to Landmine Monitor in June 2006 that Russian forces continued to use antipersonnel mines in Chechnya. CCW Amended Protocol II entered into force for Russia on 2 September 2005. Clearance teams undertook over 300 tasks in 2005 to deal with explosive remnants from World War II, destroying 40,000 explosive items, including 10,500 mines. Landmine Monitor identified 305 new casualties in at least 82 incidents in 2005.

Mine Ban Policy

The Russian Federation has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. It has often cited the military utility of antipersonnel mines, the lack of viable alternatives, and the financial difficulties in destroying its large stockpile of antipersonnel mines within four years as reasons for not joining. In January 2005, Russia told the Conference on Disarmament that a “mine-free world remains our goal. We support in principle the idea of joining the [Mine Ban Treaty]. But it can be done only when we find ourselves capable to fulfill our obligations.... Progress towards a mine-free world should be realistic, phased and based on maintaining the necessary level of stability.”[1]

Russia has abstained since 1996 on each annual UN General Assembly resolution supporting a global ban on antipersonnel landmines, including UNGA Resolution 60/80 on 8 December 2005. Russia did not attend as an observer the Sixth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in Zagreb, Croatia in November-December 2005. After regularly attending meetings of the treaty’s intersessional Standing Committees in Geneva from 2000-2004, it was absent in June 2005 and May 2006.

Russia is party to the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and ratified Amended Protocol II on 2 March 2005. Amended Protocol II entered into force for it on 2 September 2005. Russia attended the Seventh Annual Conference of States Parties to the protocol in November 2005 and, as required by Article 13, submitted an annual report for 2005. Russia exercised the option to defer for nine years compliance with Amended Protocol II’s requirements for self-destruction and self-deactivation of remotely delivered antipersonnel mines and for detectability of low metal content antipersonnel mines. Russia submitted a series of declarations with its ratification instrument that will guide its national implementation of Amended Protocol II.[2]

Production and Transfer

Russia has produced at least 10 types of antipersonnel mines since 1992, including blast mines (PMN, PMN-2, PMN-4 and PFM-1S) and fragmentation mines (POMZ-2, OZM-72, MON-50, MON-90, MON-100 and MON-200). Russia has stated that it stopped production of blast mines in 1997.[3] Russia has been conducting research on modifications to existing landmines, new landmines and alternatives to landmines since at least 1997.[4]

Russia has had a moratorium on the export of antipersonnel mines that are not detectable or not equipped with self-destruction devices since 1 December 1994. The moratorium formally expired on 1 December 2002, but Russian officials have stated on occasion that it is still being observed.[5] Russia is not known to have made any state-approved transfers of any type of antipersonnel mine since 1994.

Stockpiling and Destruction

In November 2004, Russia for the first time released official information on the number of antipersonnel mines in its stockpiles, when the Minister of Defense cited a figure of 26.5 million. The Minister stated that in 2000, Russia retained 46 million antipersonnel mines, but had since destroyed or disposed of about 19.5 million of them.[6]

The Minister further said that approximately 23.5 million of the remaining 26.5 million stockpiled antipersonnel mines were subject to destruction or disposal between 2005 and 2015. He noted that Russia spends some 150-180 million rubles (US$5-6 million) per year on the disposal of outdated antipersonnel mines and mines falling under the restrictions of Amended Protocol II.[7]

Russian officials have acknowledged that Russian military units in other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States maintain antipersonnel mine stockpiles, such as 18,200 in Tajikistan and an unknown number in Georgia (Abkhazia).[8] In May 2006, Russia stated to Landmine Monitor that there are no stockpiles of landmines with Russian forces in the disputed Transnistria region of Moldova.[9] According to information received by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Mission in May 2005 from the Headquarters of the Operational Group of Russian Forces in Transnistria, a stockpile of 25,423 antipersonnel mines held by Russian forces there were destroyed. The types and quantities of antipersonnel mines reported destroyed were: PMN (8,742); PMN-2 (13,771); POMZ-2 (200); OZM-72 (514); MON-50 (1,768); MON-90 (68); MON-100 (360). The dates and means of destruction are not known and the process was not verified or financed by the OSCE.[10]

Use

Russia has used mines on a regular basis since 1999, primarily in Chechnya, but also at times in Dagestan, Tajikistan, and on the border with Georgia. Russia has generally argued that its mine usage has been necessary to stop flows of weapons, drugs and terrorists, and it maintains that it has been in full compliance with CCW Amended Protocol II.[11]

In June 2006, Russian officials confirmed to Landmine Monitor that Russian forces continued to use antipersonnel mines in Chechnya, both newly emplaced mines and existing defensive minefields, noting, “Antipersonnel mines are used to protect facilities of high importance.” They insisted that all use of antipersonnel mines “complies with Amended Protocol II,” that “all necessary documentation for minefields is retained,” and that all minefields “are fenced and the civilian population informed.” They indicated mines are used by forces of the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior, and Border Guards. They said Russian forces “do not use antivehicle mines” in Chechnya because the rebels “have no vehicles.”[12]

While Russia has regularly acknowledged using antipersonnel mines in Chechnya in the past, in August 2005 Russian military officials claimed that Russian Ministry of Defense forces had not used antipersonnel mines in Chechnya in 2004 or 2005. They said they could not comment on whether other Russian forces (Interior Ministry, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Border Guards or others) had used them in that time.[13]

(For more information on mine use in Chechnya, see report on Chechnya in this edition of Landmine Monitor).

Landmine and ERW Problem

The Russian Federation is heavily contaminated with landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW). Both mine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) contamination results from World War II; there are also substantial quantities of abandoned explosive ordnance (AXO) in some areas.[14] Clearance teams are said to destroy about 100,000 ERW and mines every year.[15]

Mines and UXO remain a major problem in Chechnya due to continued combat.[16]

Mine incidents have also been reported in other republics, notably Ingushetia, Dagestan and North Ossetia. ERW remain an acute problem in Dagestan, specifically in Novolaksk, Botlikh and Buynaks districts, which were the scenes of conflict in 1999. It was claimed in 2004 that complete clearance of ERW in these areas would take a further five to six years. [17]

Mine Action Program

There is no civilian mine action program in Russia.

Mine clearance remains the responsibility of three governmental bodies: the Engineer Forces of the Ministry of Defense; demining brigades of the Ministry of Internal Affairs; and the Russian National Corps of Emergency Humanitarian Operations of the Ministry of Civil Defense, Emergencies and of Consequences of Natural Disasters (EMERCOM). The main responsibility for mine clearance lies with the Engineer Forces. The Russian National Corps deals mainly with unexploded aircraft bombs.[18]

Commercial companies, such as Uniexpl and Fort in Moscow and Iskatel in St. Petersburg, also conduct demining activities. Employees of these companies are said to be mainly retired officers of the Ministry of Defense’s Engineer Forces.[19] No information on demining by these companies was available.

It has not been revealed how the Russian authorities prioritize and plan mine/ERW clearance, or how they store and use relevant data. The division of responsibilities between planned clearance and response activities such as explosive ordnance disposal, and between state and private clearance capacities, has not been reported.[20]

Demining

The Head of the Engineering Forces of the North Caucasian Military District reported that clearance teams had undertaken more than 300 tasks in 2005 to deal with mines and ERW from World War II, destroying in the process more than 40,000 explosive items, including 10,500 mines. It is not known whether this included abandoned stocks of landmines and ordnance. He claimed that in Chechnya and Ingushetia, demining teams of the Engineering Forces checked more than 138,000 kilometers of roads and column routes, disposing of 32 landmines. In total, the teams disposed of 5,500 items of explosive ordnance in the two regions in 2005.[21]

A “short” humanitarian demining mission (the first ever recorded in Chechnya since the outbreak of the second conflict in autumn 1999) was organized by Russia’s EMERCOM in March-April 2005.[22]

Demining teams of the Engineering Forces are said to use mine detection dogs, especially to survey roads.[23] It is claimed that quality assurance of clearance operations is the responsibility of the three government bodies responsible for demining.[24]

In August 2005, it was reported that the Ministry of Defense had a new device to identify explosive devices on railroads under development. Col-Gen. Grigory Kogatko, the commander of the Russian railroad troops, stated that mine detectors often fail to identify explosives on rails, because the railroad groundwork contains metal.[25]

Landmine/ERW/IED Casualties

There is no comprehensive official information on mine/ERW casualties in Russia. However, casualties continue to be reported in all parts of the Russian Federation as a result of mines, ERW and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Landmine Monitor media analysis identified at least 305 new mine/UXO/IED casualties in at least 82 incidents reported in Russia in 2005, including 72 killed and 211 injured; the status of 22 casualties was unknown. There were 257 civilian casualties: 57 killed (six children) and 178 injured (13 children), with the status of 22 unknown; and 48 military and police casualties (15 killed and 33 injured, including six women).[26]

Mines accounted for eight casualties (all tampering), with six killed and two injured (five children); UXO caused 39 casualties, with 15 killed (three children), 23 injured (one child) and one unknown, with tampering the leading cause of UXO incidents; IEDs accounted for at least 226 casualties, with 44 killed (two children), 160 injured (six children) and 22 unknown. The explosive device(s) causing the additional 32 casualties is unknown. Confirmed casualties of victim-activated IEDs totaled 16, with three killed, 11 injured (three children), and two unknown; these incidents were scattered throughout the Russian Federation. Examples of victim-activated explosions include an incident on 25 April when two children found a box at the entrance of their home with a 50 ruble note sticking out of it. They took the box inside, where it exploded, and both were injured.[27] The leading causes of casualties were targeted violence: 18 killed and 96 injured, including one child; followed by handling explosives, UXO or AXO: 16 killed (three children), 40 injured (two children), and one unknown; and by tampering with mines/UXO: 18 killed and 21 injured (13 children).

The most-affected regions were Dagestan: 60 casualties (nine killed and 51 injured); Chechnya: 24 casualties recorded by UNICEF; Ingushetia: 15 casualties (one killed and 14 injured); and Bushkiria: 14 casualties (all injured).[28]

On 17 June 2005, a soldier of the Russian battalion of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces and two Georgian police officers were injured during mine clearance in South Ossetia.[29]

In Nepal, two Russian tourists were injured when their vehicle hit a landmine on 9 April 2005.[30]

Casualties continued to be reported by media in 2006 with at least 107 new mine/UXO/IED causalities in 35 incidents as of May; 102 casualties were civilians (21 killed, including one child, and 49 injured, including 10 children); five were military or police (two killed and three injured); the status of 32 casualties was unknown.

In Afghanistan, two Russian embassy personnel were injured by a mine in the northern city of Hairatan, and were treated in a hospital in Uzbekistan.[31]

The total number of casualties in Russia is not known, but there are believed to be significant numbers of mine/UXO survivors from World War II, the 1980s war with Afghanistan and the conflict in Chechnya. From 1999 to December 2003, more than 2,500 mine casualties, including at least 600 killed and 1,700 injured, were recorded by Russian federal forces in Chechnya. According to the Dagestan Ministry of Civil Defense, from 1999 to 2004, there were 28 local residents killed and 115 injured by UXO in Botlikh district.[32]

Survivor Assistance, Disability Policy and Practice[33]

Russian military medical practice has accumulated experience in the treatment of blast injuries. Medical, surgical, prosthetic, rehabilitation and reintegration services are available for mine/UXO survivors. However, assistance and rehabilitation services are inadequate to meet needs.[34]

Medical assistance is also provided by the Zaschita (Protection) All-Russian Center of Catastrophe Medicine, including mobile hospitals in Chechnya, under the Russian Federation Ministry of Health.

The International Institute for the Prosthetic Rehabilitation of Landmine Survivors and its Russian partner, the St. Petersburg Institute of Prosthetics, also assist mine survivors with surgical and rehabilitation assistance, vocational training and socioeconomic reintegration.

The All-Russian Public National Military Foundation focuses its efforts on the support of military personnel injured in Chechnya.

The rights of mine survivors and other people with disabilities are protected under the 1995 Federal Law on Social Security of Disabled. The Ministry of Labor and Social Development is responsible for all disability issues.[35] Government bodies specifically charged with protecting human rights also protect the rights of people with disabilities. However, the laws are not enforced and people with disabilities are denied equal opportunities to education, employment, and access to social life. According to official sources there are an estimated 12.2 million people with disabilities in the Russian Federation; approximately 90 percent are unemployed despite hiring quotas.[36]


[1] Statement by Amb. Leonid Skotnikov, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation, Plenary Meeting of the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva, 27 January 2005.
[2] For details of the declarations, see Landmine Monitor Report 2005, pp. 854-855.
[3] Statement by Russia, Third Annual Conference of States Parties to CCW Amended Protocol II, 10 December 2001. In January 2005, Russia said it had not developed, produced or supplied blast mines to its Armed Forces for more than nine years. Statement by Amb. Leonid Skotnikov, Plenary Meeting of the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva, 27 January 2005.
[4] Maj. Gen. Alexander Averchenko, “Traditional and New Tasks,” Amreysky Sbornik Magazine, No. 1, 1997. In 2004, Russia said it has spent or plans to spend 3.33 billion rubles (about $116 million) on research, development, and production of new engineer munitions, including alternatives to antipersonnel mines. Statement by Sergei Ivanov, Minister of Defense, parliamentary hearings on ratification of Amended Protocol II, 23 November 2004. Average exchange rate for 2004: US$1 = RUB28.8170. Landmine Monitor estimate based on www.oanda.com.
[5] For example, in November 2004, the Defense Minister said that Russia is abiding by the moratorium on the export and transfer of antipersonnel mines that fall under the restrictions of Amended Protocol II. Statement by Sergei Ivanov, parliamentary hearings on ratification of Amended Protocol II, 23 November 2004.
[6] Ibid. As noted in previous editions of Landmine Monitor, Russian officials have given different totals for destroyed stocks. In January 2005, an official said over seven million stockpiled antipersonnel mines had been destroyed. Statement by Amb. Leonid Skotnikov, Plenary Meeting of the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva, 27 January 2005.
[7] Statement by Sergei Ivanov, parliamentary hearings on ratification of Amended Protocol II, 23 November 2004.
[8] Bilateral negotiations concerning the disposition of Russian stockpiles of antipersonnel mines in Tajikistan were ongoing; Tajikistan Article 7 Report, Form B, 3 February 2003.
[9] Letter from the Russian Embassy in Chisinau, Moldova, No. 282, to Ana Rudico, Landmine Monitor researcher for Moldova, 18 May 2006; email from Ana Rudico, 14 June 2006.
[10] Letter from Kenneth Pickles, Deputy Head, OSCE Mission to Moldova, Chisinau, 31 March 2006.
[11] See, for example, the statement by Amb. Anatoly Antonov to the CCW Group of Governmental Experts, “On the Landmines Other Than Antipersonnel Mines (MOTAPM),” Geneva, 18 November 2003.
[12] Interview with members of the delegation of the Russian Federation to the fourteenth session of the CCW Group of Government Experts, Geneva, 23 June 2006; translation provided by the Russian delegation and notes by Human Rights Watch (HRW).
[13] Interview with members of the delegation of the Russian Federation to the eleventh session of the CCW Group of Government Experts, Geneva, 8 August 2005. For a summary of use from 1999-2004, see Landmine Monitor Report 2004, pp. 1186-1187.
[14] See Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 1100.
[15] CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form B, 22 November 2005. Under Protocol V of the Convention on Conventional Weapons, ERW are defined as UXO and AXO. Mines are explicitly excluded from the definition.
[16] See report on Chechnya in this edition of Landmine Monitor.
[17] See Landmine Monitor Report 2005, p. 858; Musa Musaev, “How to Prevent Unknown Threat,” Severnyi Kavkaz (regional newspaper in the northern Caucasus), #17, 27 April 2004.
[18] See Landmine Monitor Report 2005, p. 858.
[19] Ibid.
[20] Ibid.
[21] “Major-General Alexander Krasnikov, Head of the Engineering Troops of the North Caucasian Military District, Hero of Russia, About the Activities of his Subordinates,” WPS Russian Media Monitoring Agency, 6 March 2006, www.wps.ru/en.
[22] UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “Inter-Agency Transitional Workplan for the North Caucasus, Russian Federation, 2006,” undated, p. 34; see Landmine Monitor Report 2005, p. 859.
[23] “Major-General Alexander Krasnikov, Head of the Engineering Troops of the North Caucasian Military District, Hero of Russia, About the Activities of his Subordinates,” WPS Russian Media Monitoring Agency, 6 March 2006.
[24] See Landmine Monitor Report 2005, p. 859.
[25] “The Russian Defense Ministry is developing a new gadget to identify explosive devices on railroads,” RIA Novosti, Zagoryanka Village (Moscow region), 3 August 2005.
[26] Landmine Monitor examined press reports from January 2005 to May 2006 in Russian language media. News items of incidents involving devices not victim-activated, or due to interaction with explosives (tampering, handling) were not counted.
[27] “The found box with an explosive has blown up in hands of children,” Regnum News (Novouralsk), 25 April 2005.
[28] Email from Eliza Murtazaeva, Assistant Project Officer, Child Protection Section, UNICEF North Caucasus, 29 June 2006; data provided by Zaur Tsitsaev, Program Assistant, Child Protection Section, UNICEF North Caucasus, 29 June 2006. (See report on Chechnya in this edition of Landmine Monitor).
[29] Information from the Georgian Campaign of ICBL casualty database, which records information obtained from hospitals throughout Georgia as well as media reports and surveys since 2001.
[30] See Landmine Monitor Report 2005, p. 862.
[31] “Russian embassy staffers wounded in mine blast,” Pajhwok Afghan News (Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan), 25 February 2006.
[32] See Landmine Monitor Report 2005, p. 862.
[33] See Landmine Monitor Report 2004, pp. 1105-1106; Landmine Monitor Report 2001, pp. 907-908.
[34] See Landmine Monitor Report 2005, pp. 862-863.
[35] Ibid, p. 863.
[36] US Department of State, “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices-2005: Russia,” Washington DC, 8 March 2006.