RUSSIA: Parliament Talks Drug Policy

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“No Liberalisation”: How Drug Policy was Discussed in the Russian Parliament

The chairman of the conference was Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the State Duma. As the first speaker, he suggested introducing stronger penalties for drug use. One measure, for instance, included toughening the penalty for advertising and propaganda of forbidden substances:

“…we need to press for imposing more responsibility for propaganda and advertising of drugs and psychoactive substances. To form a sustainable hostility in the society against not only the drug itself but also the subculture built around it”.

Volodin also mentioned drug distribution done through anonymous, online instant-messaging platforms. Here, he advised the Duma to expand legislation that combats “propaganda” of drug use on social media, and to react “flexibly” to the issue, recommending pre-court bans:

“Drug dealers [have now moved] to anonymous messengers and modern payment systems. And we need to be quick and flexible in decision making. In the Russian Federation, there are already legislative acts on counteraction against the propaganda of drug use in media and social networks. In accordance with them, the pre-court bans of these resources are possible”.

He also spoke against countries that legalise “light drugs”, accusing them of creating difficulties amongst their neighbours. Rather, Volodin suggests opposing this trend by creating a unified legal model:

“We need to base [ourselves] on the principle of united and equal responsibility of all countries. We need to conduct analysis to avoid situations in the future when one country can create difficulties and problems in the neighbouring states by changing its legislation. It primarily concerns the liberalisation and legalisation of so called ‘light drugs’”.

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