In jail for a joint: Inside Russia’s controversial war on drugs

Russia’s law enforcement, generally driven by less lofty aims, has used zero tolerance to push its own agenda and boost incomes, writes Oliver Carroll

Friday 22 February 2019 13:44
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Will Russia’s approach to drug users simply store up problems for the future?
Will Russia’s approach to drug users simply store up problems for the future?

Artyom had been minding his business, waiting for a friend near a metro station in Moscow’s lugubrious suburbs.

The Russian winter had already hung its evening shadow on the city, so the 26-year-old computer technician did not immediately notice the three officers who made their way from the underpass. By the time the men were in sight, it was already too late. Artyom, who had a joint in his top pocket, knew the encounter would not end well – they “never do”. So he ran.

Freedom ended a minute later with the embrace of a dozen policemen, a broken nose and a serious head injury.

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