Staunton, November 16 – Speaking to the Russian Security Council, Vladimir Putin says that as a result of his efforts, the number of Russians who are officially registered as users of illegal drugs has fallen by more than 25 percent, from 673,000 to 478,000, that this has reduced crime, but that new restrictions on the Internet and more propaganda are needed.
The Internet has become a key channel for organizing the drug trade and selling illegal drugs, the Kremlin leader said; and the media must make an expanded propaganda effort to counter those who discount the seriousness of the use of any illegal drug or press for liberalization (tass.ru/politika/10013565).
Putin acknowledged that the closing of state borders because of the pandemic had helped drive the figures down this year but said that the Internet had become more important and thus was likely to play a more negative role in this sector in the future, likely presaging a new effort to establish tighter government control over that channel.
He did point out that officials in some regions have been trying to make their own fights against drugs look better by pushing users, dealers and traffickers beyond the borders of their own regions into the territory of others, something that Putin described as “impermissible.”
At the meeting, Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev provided some additional details about the Russian government’s efforts over the last decade. During that period, he said, more than 2.2 million drug-related crimes led to arrests, and “almost 300 tons of narcotics” were seized (kp.ru/online/news/4083868/).
He also noted that the government had adopted “more than 200” laws and directives to fight drugs and the drug trade, introduced administrative punishments for foreigners who engaged in trafficking of drugs in Russia, and “raised the effectiveness of inter-agency cooperation.”