Position: Chief State Sanitary Doctor of Russia
Born October 21, 1950 in the village of Chargyn-Tash, Suzaksky region of the Osh Oblast of the Kirghiz SSR. After high school he entered the sanitary-hygienic faculty of the Donetsk State Medical University named after Maxim Gorky. In 1973, Onishchenko graduated from the university and obtained the degree of "medical officer".
In 1973 he began work as a physician-epidemiologist at the Ministry of Transport of the USSR.
In 1976 he was appointed chief physician of the transport Krasnoarmeisk DRW SES.
In March 1982 he moved to Moscow, where he became head physician of Sanitary and Epidemiological Station of Moscow Metro.
In 1983 he headed the Central Sanitary and Epidemiological Station of Traffic Ministry of USSR. In 1986, after the accident occurred in Chernobyl, Onishchenko, worked in Byelorussia and Ukraine in May, 19 -30.
In 1987 he was appointed Adviser in the Department of Health and Welfare of the Council of Ministers of the RSFSR.
In 1988 he became Deputy Chief of quarantine infections department of the Ministry of Health.
In 1991 he became Deputy Chairman of the State Committee for Sanitary and Epidemiological Surveillance of Russia - Deputy Chief State Sanitary Doctor of Russia.
In June 1996, Onishchenko became acting chairman of the State Committee for Sanitary and Epidemiological Surveillance of Russia.
In October 1996, Onishchenko was appointed first Deputy Minister of Health of Russia, Chief State Sanitary Doctor of Russia.
In March 2004, Onishchenko was appointed head of the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare, or Rospotrebnadzor,under the jurisdiction of the new Ministry of Health and Social Development headed by Mikhail Zurabov.
Onishchenko has Ph.D in medical sciences and is a professor of microbiology, virology and immunology of the Moscow Medical Academy named after Sechenov.
Onishchenko was awarded the honorary title "Honorary Doctor of the Russian Federation" and "Honorary Doctor of the Kyrgyz Republic. He was awarded Mechnikov Medal by the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences "For a practical contribution to strengthening the nation's health”. In 2002 he was awarded the State Prize of Russia in the field of science and technology, and in 2005 - the laureate of the RF Government. Also in 2005, Vladimir Putin awarded Onishchenko Order of Merit IV degree for his outstanding contribution to the organization of health, sanitary-epidemiological service of Russia and many years of diligent work.
Onishchenko has dual citizenship: in June 2009, , Eduard Kokoity, president of the republic gave Onishchenko an award for organizing the provision of regular humanitarian assistance to South Ossetia - the Order of Merit, but also the passport of South Ossetia.
Source: lenta.ru to be updated on 28.07.2009
In 2000, Russia began the so-called "beer case" in which Onishchenko took an active part. On December 15, 2000, he issued a decree "On strengthening the epidemiological inspectorate of the brewery," and demanded to recognize the beer of over 1.2 degrees strong as an alcoholic beverage.
Source: "Nevskoe vremya" from 19.05.2006, Kommersant № 29 (2159) 19.02.2001
In January 2001, Onishchenko said that the aggressive advertising of alcoholic beverages in the media contributes to the development of adolescent "beer alcoholism”. Onishchenko asked to ban beer ads on television and threatened to equate all sorts of beer that contain more than 6 degrees of alcohol to an alcoholic beverage. It was reported that representatives of the largest Russian brewing companies had demanded Onishchenko to resign, declaring he was a lobbyist for the interests of vodka producers.
Source: Rossiya № 2 (172) from 11.01.2001
As written in the press, Minister of Health Shevchenko had to intervene in the conflict by claiming that the issues of advertising and alcohol policies are outside the competence of Sanitary Control. In March 2001, as reported in the press, the decision by Onishchenko was canceled.
Source: "Nevskoe vremya" from 19.05.2006, "Kommersant-Dengi" from 24.04.2002
According to the press, Onishchenko took an active part in Russian-US political relations. Russia could not refuse imports of poultry from the U.S openly because of the trade treaties concluded with the U.S. and due to the desire to join the WTO. In 2002, the Federal Service banned the import of the U.S. poultry to Russia under the pretext that they had found salmonella in it. In response, the Americans threatened to increase duties on imports of Russian steel. The ban by Onishchenko lasted a month only.
Source: compromat.ru from 10.03.2004, versia.ru on May 31, 2010
As written in the press in 2003, Onishchenko was the happy owner of a special card designed exclusively for the law enforcement agencies. The police have no right to inspect the car, which driver has this card and can not check passengers in his cabin. As written in the press, the chief Sanitary Doctor was not the only person who had illegally received such a document for the operational cover. According to the journalists, former chief of traffic police of MIA Vladimir Fedorov had issued dozens of such documents for other purposes and received just a reprimand. And Gennady Onishchenko, as written in the press, inherited the card from Valery Katukov, a former caretaker of the Government Apparatus of the RF and a close friend of Vladimir Fedorov.
Source: Novaya Gazeta on 07.07.2003
As written in the press, the funds allocated from the Russian budget to fight new infections go to the countries in need of assistance mostly. According to the media reports, the path lies across the health authority. And Gennady Onishchenko, as reported, took leadership positions in almost all the international committees and commissions. According to the data of 2004, he served as co-chair in an international commission to combat the SARS-virus, “a member of the UN Committee on the proliferation of AIDS", a member of the “Presidium of the UNESCO committee on prevention and non-proliferation of mad cow disease”.
Source: compromat.ru from 10.03.2004
Since 2004, Onishchenko has begun to report regularly on the impending pandemic of avian influenza (H5N1). He declaired that according to his calculations, 45-50 million Russians could have had the disease. As written in the press, to confront the threat in the spring of 2006, bird hunting was banned. Onishchenko claimed that the creation of stocks of antibiotics to combat the complications of this illness would require 10 billion rubles.
Sources: Itogi № 38 dated 21.09.2004, Newsru.com on 05.04.2006
In 2004 it was reported that thanks to the perseverance of Onishchenko, Russia allocated tens of millions of dollars to international charities dealing with AIDS in third world countries. In particular, it was reported on the allocation of $ 20 million to the Global Fund to fight AIDS. Director of the Federal Centre for Prevention and Control of AIDS, Vadim Pokrovsky noted in this regard that in Russia at that time the program combating AIDS was under-funded at 90 percent.
Source: compromat.ru from 10.03.2004
In November 2005, Russia banned imports of Polish beef that allegedly had been supplied under false veterinary certificates. According to press reports, the detection of counterfeit veterinary certificates coincided with the EU - Russia summit in Finland, which was supposed to discuss the energy charter that defines the rules for trade in oil and gas. Reporters paid attention, that in those days 60% of domestic gas and 95% of Russian oil were in transit through Poland, and the summit was expected to discuss the construction of the bypass pipeline.
Source: versia.ru on May 31, 2010
Also in 2005, as reported, the Russian regulatory authorities were dissatisfied with the quality of Norwegian salmon. Deliveries were banned at that time until the conflict of Russia and Norway because of the Russian fishing vessel was solved.
Source: versia.ru on May 31, 2010
In spring 2006, Onishchenko forbid to import Georgian and Moldovan wines into Russia, and then the Georgian mineral water "Borjomi" and "Nabeglavi". A show of destroying large quantities of wine has began.
In October 2006, Onishchenko announced inspection of juices coming from Moldova and Georgia. He also became interested in suppliers of wine from Ukraine, suspecting them to re-export Moldovan wine. It was suggested that the banned wine had been imported through the territory of Belarus.
As written in the press, observers linked the ban on import of wines and mineral water with the political motives: Georgia and Moldova opposed Russia's joining the WTO.
Sources: newsru.com of April 18, 2006, "Kommersant» № 65 (3396) on 13.04.2006
It was also reported that Moldovan wine is banned just during the escalating conflict in Transnistria: Moldova with Ukraine took control of exports from the region to prevent smuggling of weapons, drugs and medication. In Russia it was viewed as an attempt to kill Transnistria with hunger.
Source: newsru.com dated 17 May 2006
In January 2006, Onishchenko recommended that the Russians did not go to Turkey in connection with the fact that three people died from the "bird flu" there.
Source: newsru.com on January 8, 2006
But Onishchenko considered safe visiting Egypt, despite the cases of bird flu in this country. He only asked to keep basic hygiene.
Source: newsru.com dated 21 February 2006
Due to the threat of avian influenza Onishchenko also announced the shooting of crows and vaccination of the entire population of wild birds in big cities of Russia. Experts expressed the view that vaccination of wild birds, which can not be controlled, holds the vast profits to private companies. Manufacturers of vaccines against avian influenza had also got an opportunity to earn. As for the extermination of crows, as experts say, it is not only useless but dangerous. as reported, Some analysts directly tied "unconventional" solutions by Onishchenko with lobbying interests of American producers of chicken, who had lost ground on the Russian market by the time.
Source: "Izvestia", 16.03.06
In August 2006, Rospotrebnadzor suspended license for wholesale trade of alcohol at several companies, among them there was a mediator of one of the world's largest spirits company Pernod Ricard. The formal reason was the breach of sanitary legislation. But experts linked the ban with an international transaction. It was reported that in the fall of 2005 the company that was owned by businessman Yuri Shefler, signed an agreement with Pernod Ricard, according to which the French company became the exclusive international distributor of vodka Stolichnaya. The Russian company was negotiating to sell the brand Stolichnaya. But there was another company - Soyuzplodoimport - claiming for the right to exclusive use of the brand; it represented the interests of Russia, which for several years had been trying to challenge the right on the brand in international courts. According to experts, those sanctions against Pernod Ricard could be an attempt to put pressure on the French company in the negotiations with Russia.
Source: newsru.com on August 9, 2006
Three days later, the representative of Rospotrebnadzor said that information posted on the website of the authority about the suspension of licenses for the wholesale of alcohol in nine companies, including - the representative of Pernod Ricard, was a technical error.
Source: newsru.com on August 9, 2006
In October 2006, as announced by the press, the Federal Service of Russia banned the import of canned fish from Latvia because they found harmful carcinogens in it.
Source: newsru.com on October 18, 2006
In response, according to the media, Latvia conducted studies of samples of sprats of the two leading Russian manufacturers. The results showed a significant excess of benzpyrene which content is permissible in Russia.
Source: newsru.com of 27 April 2006
Three days after the start of the conflict, as written in the press, the Latvian ambassador said that during the meeting of representatives of the Latvian delegation and Rospotrebnadzor the problem of supply of canned food had been resolved.
Source: newsru.com of 21 November 2006
In 2007, the press wrote about the war that raged between the Office of Gennady Onishchenko, and the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS). According to press reports, the conflict began with the fact that the subordinate agency to Rospotrebnadzor had refused to test vodka brought by journalists "Novye Izvestia". Journalists appealed to the FAS, which filed a case against the agency of Onishchenko for violation of the law "On Protection of Competition”. In response Onishchenko made a check in the building of the FAS and closed two canteens stationed there. Then the FAS fined the Federal Service for obstructing its work. As written in the press, it also - accused Rospotrebnadzor of violating antitrust laws in connection with the fact that the agency closed the labs refusing to find banned pesticides in the Georgian and Moldovan wines. As reported, FAS and Rospotrebnadzor had it out in the court. According to Onishchenko, his office won the majority of claims.
Sources: newsru.com May 14, 2007, May 17, 2007, from December 26, 2007
In 2007, Onishchenko became interested in the issuance of bank consumer loans. The scandal around the bank "Russian Standard" occasioned it. As reported, Rospotrebnadzor was swamped with complaints of borrowers, who reported that the bank had violated their rights when granting loans. To defend the rights of borrowers, the Office of Onishchenko sued "Russian Standard" and other banks. However, in most cases it failed.
Source: "Novaya Gazeta" on 10.09.2007, novayagazeta.ru from 11.10.2007
As written in the press, according to the 2007, Onishchenko was a member of the supervisory board of the Guild of suppliers of the Kremlin. It was reported that the guild was created by Interregional Foundation of federal organs of the state security "Kremlin-9", which received a donation from the "subsidiary" of Transneft. They wrote that many companies invested in that kind of funds to support special services in the hope to secure themselves against surprises from the power block.
Source: "Novaya Gazeta" on 01.06.2009
In May 2008 Onishchenko tried to ban the use of frozen meat for cooking of poultry meat and meat of slaughtered animals. If the ban had begun to work, access to the Russian market for the lion's share of imported chicken and pork would have been closed. That would have played into the hands of domestic producers. It was reported that Russia could not introduce direct restrictions on imports of the meat because of the existing obligations to American suppliers. As written in the press, there were similar agreements against quotas on imports of beef and pork from the EU. Therefore, according to the media, Rospotrebnadzor’s decision to introduce new sanitary regulations could become an alternative method of conflict-free exit from the situation. However, as written in the press, vendors of semi-manufactured goods complained to higher authorities about the fact that in many regions of Russia, domestic producers were unable to meet the need in the raw material of meat-processing factories, thus the only way was buying it abroad.
Source: versia.ru on May 26, 2008, versia.ru on August 25, 2008
In 2008, as written in the press, Onishchenko publicly accused the U.S. tobacco industry of the "nicotine genocide" of Russians and threatened with lawsuits. According to media reports, his office had tried to postpone the adoption of technical regulations on tobacco and tobacco products, which supposed a reduction of tobacco advertising and a phased reduction of the maximum permissible tar and nicotine. Onishchenko believed that technical regulations should have also contained provisions on the exclusion of words such as "low tar", "light", "ultra light", "soft", etc. Experts do not rule out that the position of Rospotrebnadzor could be attributed not to a care about the health of citizens. It was reported that Russia was among the recipient countries to grant American Foundation Bloomberg Initiative, established to combat smoking. According to a representative of one Tobacco Company, the adoption of technical regulations had been constantly delayed because otherwise the Russian fighters with smoking would not have been able to report to the Fund on its work.
Source: versia.ru on August 4, 2008
As reported in the press, in December 2008, Onishchenko proposed banning smoking on streets and in public places, and generally terminate production and sale of tobacco. As written in the press, Onishchenko tried to close the factory OAO “British American Tobacco-Java "(BAT-Java) due to alleged non-compliance with the environmental standards. He even filed a "BAT-Java" action in court, trying to force the company to abandon labels "Light" and "Super-light” on packets of cigarettes. But the court reportedly rejected the claim.
Source: "Kommersant» № 228 (4045) 13.12.2008
In December 2008, the State Duma adopted a draft law on technical regulations. Onishchenko’s requirements about labels "light" and "Super-" were not included.
Source: newsru.com on December 5, 2008
In September 2008, relations between Russia and the United States deteriorated again, and then Onishchenko announced the ban on import of chicken products disinfected with chlorine into Russia. The press noted that the American chicken treated this way had been imported into Russia for many years, and Onishchenko had not paid any attention to it.
Claims by Onishchenko’s Office, as written in the press, were motivated solely by political considerations: in America, this technique is widely used.
Source: newsru.com on September 10, 2008
According to the press, in spring 2009, Onishchenko began warning about the threat of a pandemic "flu". Chief Sanitary Doctor urged citizens of Russia to abandon trips to Mexico, U.S., Japan, Canada and Spain, as there were many infections by this kind of virus, according to information available.
Source: IA Rosbalt-Moscow from 22.05.2009, RBC, 25.05.2009
Ministry of Health and Gennady Onishchenko recommended confronting swine influenza not by drugs recommended by WHO, but by national "Arbidol”. Experts argued that "Arbidol" had no proven effectiveness. Its recommendations to the Ministry of Health simply helped producers of "Arbidol” gain profit. According to media reports, President Haritonin, the owner of the company generating "Arbidol" – Pharmstandard –is acquainted with the family of Health Minister Tatyana Golikova.
Source: sobesednik.ru on 01/26/2010
In the summer of 2009 Onishchenko became a member of so-called "milk war". Rospotrebnadzor banned deliveries of Belarusian milk to Russia, officially due to the fact that Belarusian producers had not prepared to introduction of the new technical regulations for the issue of documentation for dairy products in Russia.
Source: "Kommersant» № 101 / P (4156) on 08.06.2009, "Vremya novostey» № 98 dated 08.06.2009
As the press wrote, in response Belarus announced a strengthening of customs controls at the border with Russia. However, the same day this decision was reversed because, as reported, the parties agreed on a compromise: Belarus allowed supplying to Russia 131 species of dairy products out of 600 prohibited.
Source: BFM.ru from 18.06.2009
As written in the press, Putin said that the cause of "milk war" was the excess of export quotas by 40 percent from the Belarusian side. According to another version, the real reason for the conflict was the refusal of Belarus to sell Russia 12 of its dairy plants.
Sources: RIA Novosti, 19.06.2009, Russian Newsweek № 26 (247) from 22.06.2009
The press wrote also that the "milk war" broke out against the background of demands addressed to the leadership of Belarus by Gazprom to pay the debt of $ 230 million for gas deliveries in January-April 2009. Minsk called the claim a violation of a gentlemen's agreement. Even earlier, as written in the press, the Kremlin agreed to grant Belarus a credit, which, according to experts, was supposed to stimulate Minsk to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. But this did not happen. President Alexander Lukashenko said that through the "milk war" Russia sought to undermine the economic security of Belarus. As reported, in response to the threat of Minsk to enter customs control at the border with Russia, a high-profiled presidential administration officer hinted through the media that, apparently, some people were just tired of being the president of Belarus. In Belarus the statement was perceived as an encroachment on the sovereign right of the Belarusian people to choose their president.
Source: newsru.com on June 19, 2009
Onishchenko appeared in the press in connection with the project "Clean Water" by State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov, together with Academician Victor Petrik. It was reported that Petrick allegedly devised a way to clean any kind of water, even radioactive one. Participants of the project promised to provide all of Russia with clean drinking water and expected to spend on it 15 trillion rubles of budget, according to the press reports.
Source: novayagazeta.ru from 30.11.2009
In November 2009, Onishchenko said that the health of Russians was to be improved with conditioned water. To do this, the country has developed special technology as Chief Sanitary Doctor said. He called the conditioned water not a cure, but an indispensable food. He also said that the forum "Clean Water" was going to help understand the relationship between water quality and human health.
Source: newsru.com on November 11, 2009
In May 2010 the press reported that the head of Rospotrebnadzor Gennady Onishchenko forbid supplying to the Russian market baby food by the company Nestle. Four days later the press reported that Onishchenko banned exports to Russia of Nestle baby food because of the meat sauce, manufactured in the USA and sold in Russia under the name of Gerber. The reason for the ban was using chlorinated poultry in its production – that method was banned in Russia on January 1, 2009
Source: versia.ru on May 31, 2010
As written in the press, the Swedes themselves considered the economic sanctions from Russia's side as the desire of Vladimir Putin to protect the interests of head of the group "Renova" by Viktor Vekselberg. According to Swiss press, in March 2010, Vekselberg, Russian Prime Minister wrote a letter complaining of persecution by the financial authorities in Switzerland.
Source: gzt.ru on 17/05/2010
Against the background of personnel purges carried out by the head of Health ans Social Development Ministry Tatyana Golikova, the press reported that, the career of the chief sanitary doctor Gennady Onishchenko was rumored to be come to an end, as he allegedly had appeared to opose the headmistress. It was reported that more than a year ago Golikova called Onishchenko one of those people who had been interfering with her work. As they say in the press citing informed sources, criminal proceedings can be instituted against Onishchenko, who had always been loyal to the authorities.
Source: rospres.com from 01.06.2010, novayagazeta.ru on 10/02/2010
In May 2010 the press reported that the Federal Service created a new draft of the rules of the baths. According to media reports, to comply with the new requirements, most baths will have to get closed for major repairs. Market participants called the project an unexpected and suggested that the new requirements will lead to the ruin of thousands of baths and saunas across the country, and those that survive, will raise prices up beyond the reach of the masses. It is reported that the draft of new sanitary requirements for baths should be approved by the Government in August - September 2010.
Source: versia.ru on May 31, 2010