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Gennady Onishchenko

Gennady Onishchenko

Gennady Onishchenko (Геннадий Григорьевич Онищенко) was born on Oct. 21, 1950, in Chargysh-Tash, Kyrgyz S.S.R.

Education: Sanitation and hygiene, Donetsk State Medical Institute, 1973. Ph.D, medicine, Sechenov Medical Academy.

1973: Physician-epidemiologist at the Soviet Transportation Ministry

1976-1982: Chief of the medical service at the Donetsk railways in Krasnoarmeisk

1982: Head sanitation officer of the Moscow Metro

1983: Head of the Soviet Railways Ministry's central sanitation station

1987: Adviser to the Department of Health and Social Welfare of the Council of Ministers of the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic

1988: Deputy chief of the department of quarantine infections of the Soviet Health Ministry

1991: Deputy chairman of the State Committee on Sanitation and Epidemiology and deputy chief sanitary doctor of the Russian Federation

June 1996-August 1996: Acting chairman of the State Health Inspectorate

October 1996-present: Chief state sanitary doctor, deputy health minister

2000: Achieved notoriety for his campaign to exert government control over the production and sale of beer. Onishchenko said the government must take steps to ban beer television commercials, outlaw brands that have an alcohol content of 6 percent or higher, and re-categorize stronger beers as alcoholic drinks.

2003: Actively advised the public during the SARS pandemic. His public profile grew similarly during the 2004 bird flu and 2009 swine flu pandemics and the wildfires in summer 2010.

March 2004-present: Head of the Federal Consumer Protection Service, or Rospotrebnadzor, within the Health and Social Development Ministry

Spring 2006: The Federal Consumer Protection Service banned the import of Georgian and Moldovan wine (and later Georgian mineral water) on the grounds that they did not meet sanitary norms. The decision dealt a serious blow to the Georgian and Moldovan economies and was widely seen as politically motivated.

June 2009: The Federal Consumer Protection Service briefly banned the import of hundreds of different types of dairy products from Belarus, citing a breach of technical rules for the dairy industry that went into affect in December 2008

June 2009: Came under fire for accepting South Ossetian citizenship in violation of a 2006 law against government officials holding dual citizenship. "But I was given this. I didn't write a request for double citizenship," he said in his defense at the time.

Summer 2010: Led federal and Moscow city authorities in playing down the danger of the gray, toxic smog from peat bog fires that blanketed Moscow and many other Russian cities for several weeks with little interruption. The head of Moscow's health department, however, said the pungent, eye- and lung-burning smog had caused the city's death rate to nearly double.

Onishchenko is married and has three children.

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