Staunton, June 16 – The Golunov case has highlighted a longtime problem with the Russian and earlier the Soviet criminal justice system: the widespread planting of drugs on opponents of the regime in order to charge them with possession or distribution of illegal substances rather than their real “crime,” dissent.
What makes this practice so dangerous is that in almost every case when charges are brought, the individual is convicted. Of more than 90,000 Russians charged with narcotics offenses in 2018 alone, only 27 were not found guilty, according to Aleksey Knorre of the Open Police organization (interfax.ru/russia/665345 and snob.ru/news/178504/
novayagazeta.ru/articles/2019/06/15/80908-instruktsiya, novayagazeta.ru/articles/2019/06/09/80826-soblyudayte-vashi-instruktsii and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/06/could-moscow-decriminalize-or-even.html).
But even if that happens, the planting of drugs on political opponents is likely to remain in the regime’s toolbox, helped by the occasional charges of officers for doing such things in non-political cases as a way to gain credibility for its charges against those who are protesting against the regime’s actions.