Drug-crime convictions fall in Russia last year

News13 February 2020

The overwhelming majority, however, continued to be for buying and possessing banned substances.

Last year, the number of convictions for crimes related to drugs in Russia fell 22%, according to a supreme court judge cited in the RBC daily.

Altogether, 80,000 people were convicted for such crimes last year, versus 101,000 in 2018, 113,00 in 2017 and 116,000 in 2016. The overwhelming majority of convictions last year (73%) were for buying or possessing banned substances, while only 22% were for production and trafficking.

The supreme court judge emphasized that the court plans to analyze how drug crimes are handled by law enforcement officials in order to improve accountability in the system.

AIDS.CENTER has written previously that it is usually young people convicted for trafficking banned substances. According to supreme court data, half of those convicted for trafficking in 2018 (19,172) were younger than 29 (10,771), with 80% of them 18-25 years old and 686 younger than 18.

Arseny Levinson, an attorney with the New Drug Policy program of the Institute for Human Rights, says that most of the young people convicted are at the grass roots of the drug business, hiding drugs for pickup in secret spots, while those who organize and own “shops” are very seldom held accountable. According to Kommersant, more than 650,000 people were convicted in the Russian justice system in 2018, with 13.4% of the convictions under “Article 228” (drug crimes).

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