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Talking Drugs Updates from Eastern Europe and Central Asia [Dec 2020 – Jan 2021]

December 2020 – January 2021


1. In December 2020, Russia adopted it’s 2030 drug policy strategy. New fines have been introduced for drug use “propaganda” online. Read more on TalkingDrugs (Rus). 

2. The Eurasian Harm Reduction Association published an overview of best practices in harm reduction service delivery during the pandemic in the EECA region and internationally. Read more at Harm Reduction Eurasia (Eng). 

3. On January 23rd in Ljubljana, Slovenia, local authorities demolished the squat – Tovarna Rog – used by a drug user community centre to provide harm reduction services. Slovenian activists are calling for international support and demanding restoration of the harm reduction program. Read more on TalkingDrugs (Eng).

4. In an interview on Filtermag.org, DrugStat Telegram channel’s chief researcher discussed trends in Russia’s darknet drug market and the use of synthetic cathinones during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the interview on TalkingDrugs (Eng). 

5. The Ukrainian Parliament registered four alternative draft laws on medical cannabis. Ukraine's Chief Sanitary Doctor, Viktor Lyashko, supports the regulation of medical cannabis, as reported by DSNews (Rus). Check out the legal analysis of the four draft laws here (Ukr). For more on perspectives in cannabis reform in Ukraine visit “Novoe Vremya” (Rus).

6. Online peer-to-peer consultations for people who use drugs in Kazakhstan — an interview with Valentina Mankieva, Forum PUD Kazakhstan, available at EHRA (Eng). 

7. A video-blogger called Pavlo Spirin has been sentenced to 4.5 yeas in prison for his documentary video, “Enge” exploring the drug market in Belarus; the film has been considered extremist. Read more on Legalize Belarus (Rus) and DrugNews.ru (Rus).

8. Political activists in Russia have been detained on drug-related charges. Listen to the DrugNews Podcast, episode 2, produced by Andrey Rylkov Foundation, here (Rus).  

9. A petition to remove the St.Petersburg based Humanitarian Action Foundation, a harm reduction organisation, from the register of foreign agents is available here. Journalist Anton Krasovsky discusses the legal status of foreign agents for Russian NGOs here (Rus).   

10. Armenia plans to cultivate hemp to get out of the economic crisis, reports Novosti N (Rus). 

11. Yulia Gagarina on the benefits of medical cannabis available here NV (Rus). 

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