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Russia: Transnational Issues & International Disputes

Transnational Issues Russia
Disputes - international:
China continues to seek a mutually acceptable solution to the disputed alluvial islands at the confluence of the Amur and Ussuri rivers and a small island on the Argun River as part of the 2001 Treaty of Good Neighborliness, Friendship, and Cooperation; the islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan, and the Habomai group identified by the Russians as the "Southern Kurils" and by Japan as the "Northern Territories" occupied by the Soviet Union in 1945, now administered by Russia, claimed by Japan; boundary with Georgia has been largely delimited but not demarcated with several small, strategic segments remaining in dispute and OSCE observers monitoring volatile areas such as the Pankisi Gorge in the Akhmeti region and the Argun Gorge in Abkhazia; equidistant seabed treaties have been signed with Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan in the Caspian Sea but no resolution on dividing the water column among any of the littoral states; Russia and Norway dispute their maritime limits in the Barents Sea and Russia's fishing rights beyond Svalbard's territorial limits within the Svalbard Treaty zone; Russia continues to reject signing and ratifying the joint 1996 technical border agreement with Estonia; the Russian Parliament refuses to consider ratification of the boundary treaties with Estonia and Latvia, but in May 2003, ratified land and maritime boundary treaty with Lithuania, which ratified the 1997 treaty in 1999, legalizing limits of former Soviet republic borders; discussions are still ongoing among Russia, Lithuania and the EU concerning a simplified transit document for residents of the Kaliningrad coastal exclave to transit through Lithuania to Russia; land delimitation with Ukraine is ratified, but maritime regime of the Sea of Azov and Kerch Strait is unresolved; delimitation with Kazakhstan is scheduled for completion in 2003; Russian Duma has not yet ratified 1990 Maritime Boundary Agreement with the US in the Bering Sea
Illicit drugs:
limited cultivation of illicit cannabis and opium poppy and producer of methamphetamine, mostly for domestic consumption; government has active illicit crop eradication program; used as transshipment point for Asian opiates, cannabis, and Latin American cocaine bound for growing domestic markets, to a lesser extent Western and Central Europe, and occasionally to the US; major source of heroin precursor chemicals; corruption and organized crime are key concerns; heroin increasingly popular in domestic market

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Source: The CIA World Fact Book 2003

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