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World Russia vs. US: Where is life better?

09:11  14 march  2018
09:11  14 march  2018 Source:   cnn.com

Russia Mistakes Video Games for Combat Footage

  Russia Mistakes Video Games for Combat Footage Russia’s government and state media keep mixing up video games and reality.Russia’s state-run Channel One network ran a segment on the country’s “Defender of the Fatherland Day.” As the segment covered the work of Su-25 “Frogfoot” ground attack pilots in Syria, including one killed earlier this month in combat, the network briefly cut to footage from the realistic first person shooter Arma 3. The footage can be seen here, at the 4:59 mark.

a drawing of a face © HENRIK PETTERSSON/CNN

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to win the March 18 election by a wide margin, but that doesn't mean Russians are happy with the way things are.

Restrictions on political freedoms have prevented any real opposition from running against Putin, and years of economic troubles have hit everyday Russians hard.

But is life in the United States any better? Here's how the two countries compare...

...if you want to be happy

Americans are significantly happier than Russians, according to the most recent United Nations-commissioned World Happiness Report. Looking at indicators such as income, life expectancy, freedom to make decisions and social support, the US ranked 14th of 155 countries, while Russia was at 49th.

Russia 'launches hypersonic missile'

  Russia 'launches hypersonic missile' President Putin has described the Kinzhal as an ideal weapon, and it has been test-fired ahead of elections.The country's defence ministry released video footage showing the missile detaching from a fighter jet and leaving a fiery trail behind it.

But that gap is closing. Another index in the report measuring changes in happiness levels from 2005-07 to 2014-16 ranked Russia 7th of 126 countries, meaning Russians have become significantly happier in that time.

The US, however, was among 56 countries that became less happy and was ranked a low 103rd. This loss of happiness was in part due to less social support and a reduced sense of personal freedoms, according to the report.

...if you want to save up

Prices are generally much lower in Russia than in the US, but Russia wages are lower too. When purchasing power parity -- a measure of affordability -- is taken into account, Americans can buy more with their bucks than Russians can with their rubles.

Renting a home and lifestyle expenses, like going out for dinner or buying a bottle of wine, are much more affordable for Americans. Of course, there are some things, such as catching a cab, that are cheaper for Russians.

Rex Tillerson condemns Russia for UK nerve agent attack

  Rex Tillerson condemns Russia for UK nerve agent attack US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued a harsh condemnation of Russia following a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in the United Kingdom last week, going further than the White House's response stopping short of pinning blame for the attack on Moscow. In a Monday morning call with United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Tillerson discussed the attempted murder of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury, according to a State Department statement.

...if you're a woman

a close up of text on a white background © HENRIK PETTERSSON/CNN

The gender gap in the US isn't that different to Russia's when it comes to the number of women in the workforce and education levels. But a World Economic Forum study of gender equality around the world ranked the US well above Russia for one main reason -- political empowerment.

American women play a greater role in governance overall than women in Russia, although Russia has more women in ministerial positions. Neither country has ever had a female head of state.

Russia has no laws specifically addressing domestic violence, and in February 2017, the country introduced legislation dubbed the "slapping law," which actually decriminalized many forms of violence in the home.

...if you like vacations

Paid vacation is enshrined in law in Russia, and everyone in the country is entitled to at least 14 paid national holidays as well. If these holidays fall on a day like Tuesday, Russians will often get the Monday off as a "bridge" day, as well.

Trump says will talk to UK's May, will condemn Russia 'if we agree'

  Trump says will talk to UK's May, will condemn Russia 'if we agree' <p>U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States still needed to sort out the facts behind the nerve agent attack in Salisbury.</p>Trump, speaking to reporters at the White House, acknowledged that British authorities have accused Russia in the attack on the former Russian double agent who passed secrets to British intelligence, but said he still needed to talk to May before rendering a judgment.

The US is the only developed nation in the world that doesn't guarantee paid time off work. Americans in salaried professions, however, generally expect employers to offer paid vacation time and public holidays as well.

But a lot of Russians don't take the leave they're given -- many say they can't afford to go away. It's also because Russians often rely on financial extras, like overtime, so while they may get their wages to take time off, they give up other benefits if they do.

...if you get sick

It can be difficult to quantify the quality and accessibility of healthcare. Russia, for example, offers universal healthcare to its citizens, meaning the government pays for people to see a doctor or get treatment, and it has more hospital beds and physicians available per person. But the quality of healthcare is so low that many Russians end up paying out of their pockets for treatment.

The US spends a much larger portion of its GDP on health, but it generally only funds or subsidizes healthcare for eligible lower-income people and their families, disabled people and senior citizens, so most Americans rely on private insurance. But a study published in The Lancet ranking the world's healthcare systems by quality and accessibility put the US at 34th of 195 countries, while Russia came in at a much lower 72nd. 

White House blames Russia for 'abhorrent' attack on ex-Russian spy

  White House blames Russia for 'abhorrent' attack on ex-Russian spy The White House said in a statement Wednesday that it agreed with the British government's assessment that Russia was responsible for the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the U.K."The United States shares the United Kingdom's assessment that Russia is responsible for the reckless nerve agent attack on a British citizen and his daughter, and we support the United Kingdom's decision to expel Russian diplomats as a jus t response," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in the statement.

...if you want to have a baby

Paid maternity and paternity leave is another area where the US lags behind the rest of the developed world. By law, new parents working for companies of a certain size for at least a year are given time off after having a baby or adopting a child, but there's no national requirement to pay them or hold their job beyond a few months. Some states, like California, are beginning to offer more generous terms.

In Russia, the leave entitlement is generous, but the pay is capped at a basic wage. Women get 70 paid days before and 70 days after birth or adoption. Some women, however, report discrimination and job insecurity when they do return to work.

There is no explicit paternity leave, but men can take annual paid leave and employers are obliged to offer all parents up to three years off or flexible working time after having a child. One parent can stay at home at a time at a maximum pay of 21,555 rubles ($377) a month in that three-year period.

...if you're gay or a lesbian

The acceptance of homosexuality in Russia is strikingly low and homophobia has crept into government policy in recent years. The country in 2013 passed a law that became known as the gay propaganda law, making the distribution of materials that show "non-traditional sexual relationships" to minors illegal.

Schumer to Trump: When are you 'going to get smart' on Russia?

  Schumer to Trump: When are you 'going to get smart' on Russia? Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) blasted President Trump's policy toward Russia on Thursday, questioning when he would "get smart" on Moscow."President Trump warns all the time that we need to 'get smart' about other countries taking advantage of the United States. So President Trump, when are you going to get smart about the threat Russia poses to the United States and our allies?" Schumer asked fr"President Trump warns all the time that we need to 'get smart' about other countries taking advantage of the United States. ... So President Trump, when are you going to get smart about the threat Russia poses to the United States and our allies?" Schumer asked from the Senate floor.

Reports emerged around a year ago that authorities in Russia's Chechen Republic were detaining and abusing gay men because of their sexuality. The Chechen government denied the accusations and also denied gay men even exist in the republic.

In the US, on the other hand, gay rights have improved. A 2015 Supreme Court ruling paved the way forsame-sex marriage to become legal in all 50 states and another Supreme Court decision in 2016 made same-sex adoption legal across the country as well.

...if you want to feel safe

Crime rates in the US are much higher than in Russia -- except when it comes to murder. Russia has more than twice the number of intentional homicides than the US, but Americans are over five times more likely to be burgled and over 14 times more likely to be assaulted, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

CNN's Mary Ilyushina contributed from Moscow.

Trump, Macron vow to 'hold Russia accountable' for nerve agent attack .
<p>President Trump on Wednesday condemned Russia's alleged poisoning of a former double agent in the U.K. during a call with French President Emmanuel Macron.</p>Trump and Macron "reiterated their solidarity with the United Kingdom in the wake of Russia's use of chemical weapons against private citizens on British soil and agreed on the need to take action to hold Russia accountable," the White House said in a statement.

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