View Header


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 28, 1994


Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has recognized the importance of assisting Russia and the other New Independent States (NIS). A substantial portion of our assistance program has been devoted to helping Russia develop a system based on market principles and the rule of law. However, with the rise of organized crime and other criminal activities, many Russians have begun to equate a free market and democratic society with chaos and a breakdown in law and order. In addition to undermining the transition to democracy in Russia and our assistance efforts there, the rise of crime and corruption in Russia carries potentially dangerous international consequences.

In recognition of this problem, the U.S. Congress recently recommended expenditure of up to $30 million in FREEDOM Support Act and SEED funds to help eastern Europe and the NIS fight crime and corruption. New programs in support of assisting law enforcement activities in Russia will receive approximately $12 million. These programs will supplement our ongoing efforts to reform civil procedures, develop legal curricula and bar associations, and draft a new commercial code. In all, U.S. assistance to support a new legal infrastructure in Russia will total some $30 million in fiscal year 1995.

Various U.S. government agencies, with expertise in the reform of the criminal justice system and law enforcement activities, are responsible for implementing the new programs to help the Russian Federation cope with the rise of criminal activities. The package will include programs to develop skills to combat organized crime, strengthen export and other financial controls, train judges and prosecutors, and reform the criminal code.

U.S. law enforcement agencies that will participate in the Russia program include the Department of Justice's Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the Department of Treasury's Internal Revenue Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, U.S. Customs Service, U.S. Secret Service, and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. Under contracts with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), a number of U.S. legal organizations, including the American Bar Association, will assist in the reform of the criminal justice system and the reintroduction of jury trials in selected regions of the Russian Federation. In addition, the Department of Justice's Criminal Division will provide training to prosecutors.

With funding from the FREEDOM Support Act, these agencies intend to provide training and technical assistance in consultation with Russian law enforcement and criminal justice agencies. These partnerships are designed to aid Russian counterparts in planning and executing a strategy to subdue Russian organized crime and other criminal activities. The major components of this program include:

Criminal Justice Reform

The FREEDOM Support-funded rule-of-law initiative will include more activities to support enabling legislation and the reform of the criminal justice system to help fight the rise of crime. Specific programs planned include:

Combating Organized Crime

Department of Justice agencies, with the assistance of Department of Treasury personnel, will assist Russian law enforcement agencies to combat activities of international organized criminal groups by providing:

The Fight Against Financial Crimes

Department of Treasury agencies, with the assistance of Department of Justice officials, plan to provide mutual assistance to federal agencies in Russia through the development of a regional training program featuring financial investigative techniques, industry oversight measures, and criminal analysis methods. The program will provide expert guidance to:

Interdicting the Flow of Narcotics

The Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Customs Service will provide training to law enforcement, judicial, and legislative officials to develop the capabilities of drug control agencies in Russia. The program concentrates on providing:

Nuclear Smuggling

U.S. government strategy to address the danger of nuclear smuggling from Russia embodies two distinct but complementary approaches: 1) initiatives to improve the safety and security of Russian fissile materials and warheads as the long-term key to reducing the potential for theft of fissile material; and 2) greater sharing of intelligence and coordination of law enforcement efforts, both to stem the tide of smuggling in the short-term and provide a safety net once improved accounting/control measures are in place.

The Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Energy play leading roles in the first area, through our bilateral efforts to improve the Russian chain of custody of fissile material. Ongoing activity funded by Nunn-Lugar includes:

Our two governments are implementing a plan to permit expeditious construction of a new, long-term storage facility for fissile materials from dismantled nuclear weapons. Up to $90 million in Nunn-Lugar funds will be provided for this project.

The U.S. has an agreement with Russia on nuclear material, protection, control and accountability (MPC&A), providing up to $10 million in assistance. We are prepared to provide an additional $20 million for nuclear materials security and accounting system upgrades.

The U.S. nuclear laboratories, funded by the Department of Energy, are working directly with their Russian counterparts in a lab-to-lab effort to improve MPC&A. This effort is funded at $2 million in FY94, and DOE plans to provide over $50 million in FY95-FY96.

Additionally, we are negotiating an export control agreement with the Russians, similar to the program currently in place in Belarus, which would make up to $2.26 million available for export control assistance.

DOD also lends support to increased bilateral interaction between U.S. and foreign (especially German and Russian) intelligence and law enforcement services. The U.S. is working to establish cooperation with Russia to share intelligence and enhance law enforcement capabilities. We also encourage international cooperative efforts that complement our bilateral approaches.

# # #