The ICRC regional delegation in Moscow
The Moscow delegation covers the Russian Federation, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, focusing on past conflicts and the current North Caucasus situation. It maintains strategic dialogue with the Russian Federation on humanitarian and IHL issues, works with the Russian Red Cross and supports the National Societies of Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine.
Relieving suffering in the North Caucasus
The ICRC began working in Russia in 1992, following the start of the conflict in Prigorodny District in the North Caucasus. Since then it has provided assistance and protection to hundreds of thousands of people affected by armed violence in this region.
As in many other places, the consequences of past conflicts in the North Caucasus are long lasting. To give but a few examples:
- at least 3,000 families of people who went missing during conflicts, including those of around 600 servicemen, are still waiting for news of their relatives;
- thousands of families had to leave their homes in Prigorodny, Georgia, and Chechnya in the last decade of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st, and many have still not found permanent homes;
- conflict has left many elderly people with no close relatives; they need economic and emotional support.
In recent years, thousands have been killed or wounded in the North Caucasus, leaving grieving families deprived of their breadwinners. The ICRC complements the efforts of the authorities by helping people in accordance with their needs. ICRC assistance includes micro-economic initiatives, which are targeted grants that enable people to start businesses or otherwise generate additional income. Since 2005, the ICRC has run 4,700 such projects in the North Caucasus.
Engaging with Russia on humanitarian and legal issues
Russia has a fundamental role to play in humanitarian affairs and in the implementation and development of IHL, both in the region and internationally. The ICRC engages actively with the Russian authorities, including the ministries responsible for foreign affairs, justice and emergencies, and with regional organizations such as the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation.
Supporting Red Cross Societies
The delegation supports the region’s Red Cross Societies, helping them develop their capacity to respond to emergencies, promote humanitarian values and IHL, restore family links and support vulnerable people. In the North Caucasus, the ICRC often works with the Russian Red Cross. Russian Red Cross nurses visit 1,100 destitute and lonely elderly several times a week and provide psychological support to families of the missing and to children affected by the Beslan tragedy.
Clarifying the fate of people missing since World War II
The ICRC, together with the tracing centres of the National Red Cross Societies, makes a special effort to help those looking for information on relatives who went missing during World War II. The delegation is working to raise the profile of the International Tracing Service, which is located in Germany. After having managed the International Tracing Service since the Allies set it up in 1955, the ICRC will withdraw from that role at the end of 2012.
The delegation's regional functions include supporting the national IHL commissions in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine and addressing problems related to World War II weapon contamination in Ukraine. In addition, Moscow-based ICRC experts provide support to other ICRC delegations in the former Soviet Union.