Russia: January 31, 2002


When the Soviet Union fell apart in 1991, strict controls over private ownership of weapons went with it. Fed by a large supply of pistols and assault rifles stolen from poorly guarded armories, millions of Russians are now thought to have a firearm hidden away. This helped fuel a rapidly growing crime rate. But the police have been cracking down on this, and in 2001, over 300,000 weapons were seized and 26,000 people arrested. Meanwhile, in the far east, there was another incident of a Russian soldier turning his weapon on other soldiers. Four border guards were shot dead. There is an incident like this every two months or so. Contributing to the anger among troops in the far east are the electricity cut offs because of unpaid power bills. The Defense Ministry say this is because electricity rates went up unexpectedly and the government did not budget additional money for this. Currently, the unpaid military electricity bills amount to over $100 million. 


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