By Taiwan News

The biting cold hits the people who come out of the Moscow subway this evening. It is a 45-minute ride from the city-centre to Marino, the most populated district of the Russian capital. There seems to be no end to the communist-era apartment buildings.

A minibus is parked not far from the subway station. It bears the acronym FAR, for the Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social Justice. A man hobbles towards it. There are several boxes of syringes, medicines and disinfectant. "Vanya!" says the social worker, Maxim. "What's up?" Vanya smiles. "Have you got any clean syringes?" he asks. Maxim starts packing some sanitary products in a bag.

FAR campaigns for the rights of drug addicts and sex workers in Russia. The bus comes to Marino every Tuesday. The rest of the time it goes to other parts of Moscow. Vanya is one of 5 million drug addicts in Russia. "I've been coming to the FAR bus for years. People here don't only do their work. They're interested in me and help me. I receive support if I need to go to the hospital or if I need a document."

His face darkens. "I can't say the same about the state. I have to watch out for those people." He was caught by a policeman once with just a small amount of drugs on him. That landed him four years in jail.