The Russian Federation endorsed the Tashkent Declaration in 2007, a year in which only 10 autochthonous malaria cases were reported. In 2010, no autochthonous cases were reported. In 2012, the country was included in the list of those officially acknowledged by WHO to be malaria-free.
The Russian Federation has faced numerous malaria epidemics throughout history. The period following the First World War was extraordinarily difficult, as famine, mass population movement and social upheaval – combined with hot and humid weather – caused what has been called the greatest malaria epidemic of modern times in Europe. Although the anti-malaria activities carried out by the Government in the mid-1930s brought about significant reductions in incidence, the onset of the Second World War led once again to massive epidemics, particularly in occupied territories.
Soon after the Second World War, malaria morbidity decreased considerably. The Government drew up and approved a plan of action for the complete eradication of malaria from the USSR in 1951, which had largely succeeded by the 1960s. Owing to continuous introduction by military personnel returning from Afghanistan, local malaria cases were reported in Orenburg, Pavlodar, Tumen, Chelyabinsk, Omsk, Tomsk, Gorky and other regions throughout the 1980s.
Profound socioeconomic changes in the newly independent states (NIS) in the 1990s had a negative impact on the malaria situation in the Russian Federation. Epidemics in Azerbaijan and Tajikistan in the early 1990s, along with intensive population movement from these countries into the Russian Federation, brought about an increase in malaria cases.
In addition, the presence of seasonal workers from these countries has led to an increase in local transmission, particularly in the outskirts of cities and summer-house areas. Under suitable climatic conditions, vectors such as Anopheles messeae and An. maculipennis mosquitoes facilitate the transmission of malaria. The greatest number of locally acquired cases (94) was reported in 2001 in Moscow and the Moscow region.
In view of the continuing importation of malaria, paying special attention to the epidemiological surveillance of all imported and autochthonous cases is crucial. To cope with the problem, a decree on intensifying measures to curb the spread of malaria in the country has been issued.