An exhibit entitled 'trade items and technology of Russian prisoners' opened at the all-Russian exhibition center in Moscow on September 5. According to Rosbalt Justice Minister Yuri Chaika opened the exhibition.
It is the first exhibition of its kind in Russia. It showcases products made by Russian prisoners in different areas of industry including machine-building, metal and construction. Chaika said that the main goal of the exhibition was to enlarge mutually advantageous ties between companies of Russian prisoners and state and commercial organizations. 'We are going to enter not only the Russian, but also the international level,' he said.
Analysts at the exhibition called the products 'highly competitive, especially in cost.' Chaika said that not long ago the situation with the financing of Russian prisoner's companies was difficult, however, the Ministry introduced market forces and reached an annual growth rate of 12%. Moreover, the companies open 10 thousand new jobs each year.
In all, there are approximately 600 state companies of Russian prisoners in operation. They produce more than 2 thousand different wares for industry, agriculture and consumers. For the first 6 months of 2003 they produced merchandise valued at more than USD 207 million or 5.7% more compared to the same period in 2002.