TalkingDrugs Updates from Eastern Europe & Central Asia [January 2019]

(На русском)

1. A high-profile criminal trial, involving a group of young people and a young woman’s tragic death following MDMA use, has gripped Belarus’s public, media and activists, TalkingDrugs reports (Eng).  Following a court ruling on January 11, none of the defendants received a prison sentence for this case, Euroradio reports (Rus). Since May 2018, legal changes to drug prosecution practices for personal use have been liberalised by legislators, but the Belarusian Minister of Interior has said he objects to this reform.

2.  Russian media outlet “Knife” published an article on feminism and drugs - how different waves of feminism have conceptualised drug use and drug dependency among women. Read more here (Rus).

3.  Mikhail Golichenko, lawyer of the Canadian HIV/AIDS legal network, wrote an overview of the history of experiments with substitution therapy in Russia. Read more on the Andrey Rylkov Foundation’ website (Rus).  

4. Russian organisation – the Andrey Rylkov Foundation – has successfully gathered necessary funds to pay a fine of 800,000 RUB ($12,100). The ARF had broken Russia's law by publishing an article that provided safety advice about synthetic drugs. The ARF is the only organisation providing Moscow’s heroin-injecting population with sterile needles, as well as HIV prevention and harm reduction advice. Read in detail here (Rus).

5.  Four key populations in Ukraine – ex-prisoners, LGBT, people who use drugs (PUDs), sex workers (SW) – are uniting to form a national advocacy platform. Read more at AFEW International (Eng).

6. For over 150 days, Ukrainian activist and OST patient Andrey Yarovoy has been forcefully held in the basement of so-called “Lugansk People’s Republic” authorities. Andrey was illegally imprisoned in the uncontrolled Ukrainian territories in August 2018. The All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with Drug Dependency calls for international support and seeks help for his release. Read in more detail here (Eng).

7. Russian organisation – the Timur Islamov Foundation - was fined for not registering as a “foreign agent”. The organisation now has to pay a fine of 150,000 RUB ($2,300). Read in more detail here (Rus).  

8. Read about the use of methadone to treat drug dependency in Belarus over the past 10 years, on Zautra.by (Rus).

9. A photo exhibition “Dreams of the Invisible Women” was held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The exhibition, organized by the Asteria Foundation, allowed women suffering from violence, discrimination, living with HIV, or using drugs to send a message to society and stand up for their rights. Read more here (Eng). 

10.  Ukrainian MP Oleksandr Opanasenko has called for an end to all barriers to the production of hemp in Ukraine, “Konopliana Pravda” reports (Ukr).

11.  An interview with Sergei Dugin, drug dependency expert and leader of Russian NGO - Humanitarian Action – was published by Ura news (Rus).