Hundreds of people mysteriously disappear in Russia every day 

Several hundreds of people vanish in Russia every day. The number of those who 
disappeared without a trace during the recent several years has doubled and 
reached 120,000 people. Out-of-town visitors, entrepreneurs and lonely 
proprietors make the largest risk group at this point. 

The sad statistics has been recently discussed with the participation of 
law-enforcement officers, lawyers and law-makers within the scope of a special 
conference in Moscow. Experts tried to analyze which measures could be taken to 
stop the unrestrained growth of mysterious disappearances, the Rossiiskaya 
Gazeta wrote. 

The majority of the 120,000 people, who disappeared in Russia in 2007 alone, 
are men - nearly 59,000. About 38,000 of them are women, whereas teenage and 
underage children make 23,000 of the total number. Most of those people are 
found alive, although the process may take from several months to several 

A precise legal definition of the term 'missing' can not be found in any 
normative document in Russia. The term usually indicates a human being, who 
unexpectedly disappeared under unclear circumstances and with no apparent 
reasons for it. 

The only Moscow-based service, which collects the information about the found 
victims and dead bodies, is the Bureau of Registration of Accidents. The 
employees of the bureau say that people disappear most frequently during 
autumns and springs. Medics say that mental illnesses usually exacerbate during 
these two seasons. 

Most harmless incidents occur when people decide to hide from their family 
conflicts or escape from their debts. A police officer told the story of a 
woman, who filed a report looking for her husband. The woman said that her 
husband simply left for work one day and never came back. The police found the 
man six months later: he moved to another region and was living with another 
woman. The man literally begged the police "not to find him." 

The statistics of the Internal Affairs Ministry says that most of the missing - 
80 percent - are adults who depart from their homes in search of jobs. Many of 
them face hard reality and do not make any money at all. They eventually decide 
not to send home any news . 

The ministry links the number of disappearances with migration and the 
unfavorable criminal situation in the country. 

The number of missing people grows 12-15 percent every year. It is not just 
common workers who disappear without a trace. Police records say that not less 
than five high-ranking officials go missing every year along with about 200 
military men and police officers. 

About a fourth of those on the missing lists are people who make first steps on 
the way to homelessness. Such people may lose any connection with their 
relatives and friends. Others die under unclear circumstances or fall victims 
to unsolved crimes. 

It is impossible to define the percentage of those who die as a result of their 
mysterious disappearances. 

The police usually find up to 80 percent of missing adults and up to 90 percent 
of missing children. Children may often be kidnapped for panhandling or even 
sectarian activities. A sect with about 100 teenage members has recently been 
unmasked in the Siberian region of Russia. Nine of those teenagers were on 
wanted lists. 

If a person goes missing in Russia, he or she will be sought after for 15 
years, as the law stipulates. Afterwards, the person will be declared 
officially dead. 

Up to 3,000 people disappear in Russia's every large city (with a 
million-strong population and more) every year. However, a joint database of 
those people does not exist, whereas the information about the missing is 
spread between the police, hospitals and morgues. 

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