Vladimir Putin's meeting with the leaders of Russian invalids' organizations

As of 2001, there were 10.5 million invalids residing in Russia, including 675,000 children and 4.9 million pensioners.

The Law of Social Protection of Disabled Persons in Russia, which was adopted in 1996, is recognized as "one of the best of its kind" throughout the world.

Between 1996 and 2001, the country set up 598 rehabilitation centres for invalids and about 200 enterprises specializing in goods for disabled people. Russia also has more than 40 specialized technical secondary schools, which turn out 2,000 specialists every year. The same number of invalids attends Russian higher education establishments.

Today, however, only 1.5 million, or 10%, of invalids are employed. According to representatives of invalids' organizations, employers are not interested in having invalids working at their enterprises.

Over the past decade, the number of disabled children registered in Russia increased two-fold. The causes of childhood disability are, in order of succession: diseases of the nervous system and organs of sense (52 and 45 cases per 10,000 children aged below 15); psychic disorders (31.2 cases per 10,000 children, including 21.88 cases of mental deficiency); and congenital developmental anomaly (28.2 cases per 10,000 children). Some of the disabled children are kept in specialized state-run establishments. More than 50,000 are being brought up and educated in boarding schools overseen by the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation. 29,300 severely handicapped children reside in boarding schools run by the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population. Of the latter number, 50% are orphans.

The All-Russia Society of Invalids, or the VOI, was set up in 1988 as Russia's only nationwide public organization for invalids with locomotor system disorders. The purpose of the VOI is to protect the rights and interests of invalids and streamline their integration into society.

The All-Russia Society of the Blind, or the VOS, was founded on April 6th, 1925. The organization admits people aged 18 and above of the 1st and 2nd disability groups.

The All-Russia Society of the Deaf, or the VOG, was formed in 1926 and is known as Russia's largest nationwide organization for the deaf. Today, it comprises about 200,000 members. The VOG has a large material and socio-cultural base consisting of 68 educational and manufacturing ventures and more than 400 clubs, health centres and educational establishments.

The All-Russia Public Organization of Disabled Veterans of the Afghan War, or the OOOIVA (The Russian Fund of Disabled Veterans of the Afghan War before June 29th, 1998) was founded by presidential decree on May 18th, 1991. The organization focuses on social and medical rehabilitation of people disabled in local conflicts and while on military duty; material, moral and psychological support; assistance in securing equal opportunities with the rest of the population in the life of society; and elaboration of legislative and normative base problems dealing with war veterans. As of May 2001, the OOOIVA comprised 63 regional organizations uniting more than 10,000 people, all of them invalids of the war in Afghanistan and other countries, and invalids of the war in Chechnya.

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