Why do minorities have higher abortion rates


Basic information




Religion and church


Priorities of the Osthilfefonds

Basic information

Official name

Russian Federation




17,075,400 square kilometers (excluding Crimea)


144,526,636 (as of 2018)


Russian, local languages ​​in the autonomous counties and the sub-republics (more than 100)


Around 88.9% Romanians, around 6.1% Hungarians, around 3% Roma, around 0.3% Ukraine, around 0.2% Germans, around 0.2% Russians, around 0.2% Turks , around 1.1% others.

The Russian Federation still sees itself today as a multi-ethnic state. The largest group are the Russians, who make up the majority of the population with 79.8 percent, but almost 100 other peoples live on the territory of the country. Despite the heterogeneity, the Russian population is dominant nationwide in all urban and industrial areas and the titular nations often form the minority in their “own” territories as well. [45] Only 23 peoples or titular nations have more than 400,000 people. The degree of ethnic identification varies.
Larger minorities are the Tatars (4.0 percent), the Ukrainians (2.2 percent), the Armenians (1.9 percent), the Chuvashes (1.5 percent), the Bashkirs (1.4 percent) and the Germans (0.8 percent) and others. The smaller minorities include the Meshes and various minorities of the Jewish faith. The non-Russian minorities mainly speak languages ​​from the group of Turkic languages, Caucasian languages, Uralic languages ​​(Samoyed languages), Altaic or Paleo-Siberian languages. Republics with extensive autonomy were established for many non-Russian peoples. While some minorities, such as Armenians, Koreans and Germans, are spread across various regions of Russia, there are also several indigenous peoples on European soil, i.e. between the traditional Russian settlement area and the Urals. The number of nationalities in the Caucasus region, which only came to Russia in the last third of the 18th century, is large.


15-20% Russian Orthodox, 10-15% Muslim, 2% other Christians (2006)

Administrative structure

  • 22 republics. These have their own constitution and legislation and have the highest degree of internal autonomy within the Russian Federation. Republics have been established for the larger non-Russian peoples and for part of the Crimea. With the exception of Tatarstan, Chechnya and Crimea, all republics have signed the Federation Treaty of March 31, 1992 with Russia.
  • 1 Autonomous Oblast (Avtonomnaya Oblast; Jewish Autonomous Oblast only)
  • 4 Autonomous Counties (Avtonomny Okrug)
  • 9 regions (Krai)
  • 46 areas (oblast)
  • 3 cities with subject status (Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Sevastopol)


The Russian ruble is the currency of Russia and is divided into 100 kopecks. The exchange rate is around 75.44 RUB = 1 euro.

National holiday

June 12: Russian Day

Human Development Index

According to the Human Development Index (HDI), Russia is one of the most highly developed countries. In 2018, the country was ranked 49th out of 188 countries surveyed with an index value of 0.816. Russia achieved the good values ​​primarily due to the figures in the education sector and in the health system (number of doctors and hospital beds).

Press Freedom Index

In the current ranking for 2018, Russia ranks 148th out of 180 countries. The state organs have a wide range of options to take action against independent journalists and the media (including charges of defamation of the president, unauthorized reporting for foreign media). The state's influence in the area of ​​television is complete, all TV stations broadcasting nationwide are either directly owned by the state or under state control. The situation is similar in the radio sector. Officially, there is no government censorship - the ownership structure means that censorship is in people's minds.

Corruption Perception Index

In the Corruption Perception Index, which has been compiled by Transparency International since 1995, Russia ranks 135 out of 180 (29 points) in the 2017 ranking. Thus, Russia is clearly a country where corruption is a serious problem.



After a severe recession (-2.8 percent in 2015) and a weaker economic decline in 2016 (-0.2 percent), Russia was able to record slight GDP growth of 1.5 percent (IMF) in 2017. The main cause of the positive trend is the rise in the oil price since the end of 2016, on which Russia's economy and the state budget are largely dependent.

Russia is one of the largest energy producers in the world. It has large deposits of crude oil and natural gas, as well as coal and uranium. Russia is currently the world's largest exporter of natural gas and crude oil and Germany's most important energy supplier - it covers around one third of Germany's demand for natural gas and crude oil. The Russian economy is highly dependent on the development of international raw material prices.


After the collapse of the USSR, poverty had risen to over 40% of the population by 1999. After that, the situation had improved noticeably. The proportion of the population living below the poverty line was 19.6% in 2002, until 2011 this figure fell and rose slightly to 12.8% of the population or 18 million Russians. For some years now, the value has remained roughly the same at 13% or 20 million people. If you include all those who are either very just above the limit or who are not entitled to help, the number doubles to around 25%.

The number of “working poor” who do not have enough to survive in spite of one (or more) jobs is increasing: According to official figures, this is 60% of all people who live below the subsistence level. The subsistence level is currently at 11,160 rubles (149 euros). According to a study by the Russian Academy of Economics (2017), 23.4% of all families with underage children are affected by poverty. The proportion for large families and families with one handicapped child is around 40%.

As of November 2018, the average salary is 42,750 rubles (= 570 euros). There are significant differences between salaries in the capital Moscow and cities like St. Petersburg and in the other regions. The average pension in 2018 is 13,396 rubles (= 179 euros).

The birth rate in Russia is very low and is currently 1.22 births / woman - despite increased government funding.

Russia has one of the highest abortion rates in the world. Reasons include the sole responsibility of women in the field of contraception, poor medical care and the high prices of mostly imported contraceptives. Abortion is legal until week 12.

The population is increasing slightly (0.04% in 2018), but due to migration.

The main responsibility for the social support of various disadvantaged population groups lies with the respective oblast or the municipalities.

As before, a large number of children in Russia are placed in homes or with foster families. Worldwide, the rate of out-of-home children is highest in Central and Eastern Europe.

NGOs are mostly supported from abroad, but the use of foreign humanitarian aid is subject to strict regulations and lengthy approval processes. Local NGOs that receive support from abroad must prove that they are not hostile agents.

Health care: Article 41 of the Russian Constitution gives all citizens the right to free basic health care. This principle, which has existed since the Soviet times, is in part the reason why Russia has a comparatively high number of doctors and hospitals per capita in an international comparison. Nevertheless, the health of the Russian population is poor. The healthcare system was hit particularly hard during the economic decline in Russia in the 1990s. The result led to extremely low salaries for doctors and nurses and, as a result, to a massive deterioration in the quality of medical care for the general public. Every third clinic of the 7,000 hospitals in the country is now in urgent need of renovation. Recently, salaries for medical staff have been gradually increased and government funds have been invested in the establishment of new and modernization of existing clinics. In the years 1999 to 2003, the average total expenditure on the health sector in Russia as a percentage of GDP was 5.70 percent.

In Russia, the health sector is organized on a decentralized basis. The Ministry of Health is responsible for the entire sector at the federal level, but the provision of specific medical services (including the provision of hospitals) is the responsibility of the federal subjects and municipalities. In accordance with the importance of the federal subjects and municipalities in the health sector, around two thirds of the total budget expenditure is met by them. The Russian health system is financed by a mix of budget and social security funds.

Religion and church

As for membership of individual religious groups, there are no reliable figures, as the members of churches and parishes in Russia are not registered and no church tax is levied. Surveys often differ significantly from one another. The Foundation for Public Opinion (FOM) found only 41 percent Orthodox in 2012, compared to 13 percent atheists and only 6.5 percent Muslim. Another 25 percent described themselves as agnostics or stated that they believed in a higher god-like power.

Catholic Church

Since 2002 there are four dioceses in Russia:

  • Archdiocese of Mother, Moscow: Archbishop Paolo Pezzi FSCB
  • Diocese of St. Clemens, Saratow: Bishop Clemens Pickel
  • Diocese of the Transfiguration of the Lord, Novosibirsk: Bishop Josef Werth SJ
  • Diocese of St. Joseph, Irkutsk: Bishop Cyryl Klimow

There are two seminaries (St. Petersburg and Moscow). A large part of the Roman Catholic priests and religious working in Russia still come from abroad.

Religious communities play an important role in the social and pastoral activity of the Church. The Capuchins, Salesians, and Franciscans are some of the larger communities in Russia. Many Polish and Slovak women's orders as well as the Mother Theresa Sisters are also active.


Caritas in Russia is a rather smaller aid organization that supports people in need regardless of their religion or nationality. With its projects, Caritas sets standards and offers models that often change the social situation in the region in the medium term. Caritas Russia has officially existed since 1992 and is a member of Caritas Europa and Caritas Internationalis.

The main focus of help is

  • Help for the homeless with soup kitchens, clothing and mobile medical care in some larger cities, often in cooperation with religious orders such as the Mother Theresa Sisters
  • Help for children and families: In the Caritas children's centers, children from families in need receive a warm meal and help with learning. In recent years, more and more children from migrant families have been supported in attending school. Caritas in St. Petersburg operates 2 children's centers, Caritas West Siberia 10, in Saratov 4 and in East Siberia there are 4 such centers. In Russia there is the right to attend school, but not compulsory school attendance, which is why children from extremely poor families in particular need help with attending school. Some centers also offer groups for preschool children. In the mother-child homes, mothers and their children in crisis situations are taken in, for example in Chelyabinsk or Novosibirsk. Families in crisis situations are advised in the resource center of Caritas St. Petersburg.
  • Help for people with disabilities: With day centers for children and adults with disabilities (Barnaul and St. Petersburg), Caritas is setting an example for the integration of people with disabilities
  • Help for old and single people: In the old people's home of Caritas St. Petersburg old, single people can spend their retirement years with dignity. In particular, the support and training of caring relatives and nursing staff including the rental of medical aids and
  • Developing volunteer engagement

For many projects and programs, Caritas in Russia is still dependent on support from abroad. It has only been possible for two years to participate in state tenders for social projects.

Caritas Russia

Priorities of the Osthilfefonds

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