Saturday, September 23, 2023

Russia Risks Becoming Leading Transshipment Route for Chinese-Controlled Heroin to the West

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Sept. 12 – Chinese-controlled organized criminal groups have expanded rapidly over the last two decades and are now far too powerful for Russian siloviki or judicial authorities to cope, a survey of expert opinion finds. Chinese criminals are seldom investigated let alone convicted and given real sentences, these experts say.

            As a result, a very dangerous situation is arising, journalist Sergey Shvets says, one in which Russia is likely to become the major transshipment route for sending Chinese-controlled heroin from southeast Asia to Europe and the West and itself a major consumer of such drugs, especially in the St. Petersburg area (

            Russian experts have been warning about this prospect since the first Chinese organized criminal groups emerged in the northern capital two decades ago. Now, they say, the situation is even worse than they expected because sanctions have reduced cooperation with Western police about the drug trade and prompted the Chinese to focus on Russia more than earlier.

          Western countries have had far more success in recruiting ethnic Chinese citizens to penetrate and expose such Chinese criminal groups than has the Russian Federation because they have native Chinese nationals who place loyalty to their country over ties to their ethnic group. The Chinese in Russia in contrast aren’t native and so see themselves as Chinese first of all.

           Unless these things change and unless the Kremlin is more prepared than now to crack down on Chinese drug dealers, the prospects for Russia and for Western countries who will be the recipient of heroin flowing through Russia are certain to be increasingly dire, Russian experts suggest. 


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