President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Ivanov, please tell me about the year’s results and how you see the situation today and the future outlook.
Director of the Federal Drugs Control Service Viktor Ivanov: Mr President, we carried out a large number of operations to destroy the infrastructure used for drug trafficking and sale. We investigated 230,000 criminal cases and brought criminal charges against approximately 110,000 people, who are currently under investigation.
We have expanded the scale of our interregional operations and carried out around 700 big operations that involved our regional branches’ forces.
We carried out 35 joint operations with partners abroad. Five operations were carried out near Russia’s borders. Three operations carried out in Afghanistan enabled us to shut down around 15 drugs-producing laboratories and destroy 18 tonnes of heroin equivalent that was ready to be transported to Russia.
We worked in Central America together with our partners in Nicaragua and with the police in Costa Rica, Salvador and Panama to detain and open criminal cases against two drugs barons who were delivering South American cocaine not only to the American market but also to Europe and Russia. Thanks to this work, we were also able to seize six times more cocaine on Russian territory than in 2012.
Overall however, the situation remains difficult because the amount of opium poppies being sown in Afghanistan has reached a record high. The United Nations estimates it at 209,000 hectares. This is comparable in scale to the amount of coca plants grown in Columbia. Naturally, this has had an impact on the amount of drugs coming into Russia. We seized 20 times more Afghan heroin in 2013: 2,600 kg of Afghan heroin and 3,400 kg of Afghan hashish. This is a big increase in seizures and it reflects the increasing pressure on Russia and our partners in Central Asia. It is for this reason that we are building up our international cooperation now, and, in accordance with the plan that you approved, we will develop this theme during Russia’s presidency of the G8, and we thank you for making combating drug trafficking one of the areas of work contained in the plan.
Vladimir Putin: You need to continue your cooperation with public health agencies on prevention and in other areas, all of which you are well aware of. Without this kind of synergy it is impossible to get real results, as we have discussed many times already.
Viktor Ivanov: You gave the instruction in November 2012 to draft a state inter-agency programme for comprehensive rehabilitation and return to society of drug addicts. We held meetings in 30 regions around the country with healthcare professionals, addiction specialists, prominent lawyers and members of the public, and also met with colleagues involved in rehabilitation work in a number of countries. We organised a big conference December 2013, in which 10 countries took part, including the United States, Israel and Italy. At this conference we integrated foreign experience with that of our non-governmental organisations, including the Russian Orthodox Church, which is also actively involved in rehabilitation work.
The task now is to get the programme approved. The various ministries and agencies have already given their approval. The only remaining issue is the financial question, which we need to settle as soon as possible, because this programme creates an integrated system of mutual rights and responsibilities between agencies at the federal and regional levels and non-governmental organisations. This system will work.
I can tell you that a number of regions have taken the lead in this effort and, without waiting for the state inter-agency programme and its standards to be officially approved, have already begun carrying out projects on this line. They include Khanty-Mansiisk District, Pskov Region (where we will soon hold a conference), Bashkortostan and Tatarstan. There are also regions that are lagging behind. Now we need to get the common standards, rules and regulations approved and organise this rehabilitation work.
Vladimir Putin: Get this work completed as soon as possible.