This publication highlights the ways in which Russia's role in the global drug debate has changed. Key points are as follows:

  • Securitisation of drug policy discourse in the Russian Federation since 2003 has played an important role in both the relative internal realignment of prominent 'power minorities' within the Russian government, and in the attempted conceptualisation of a new 'national ideology' since 2012.
  • The development of a 'drug discourse' in Russia post-Communism can be classified in approximately three phases: a health and psychiatric-dominated discourse up until approximately 2003, an increasingly prevalent securitization discourse after 2007, and today a conservation cultural discourse.
  • Russia has utilized the general drug war discourse to both increase the levers of influence available to it on the international arena, and to press for greater convergence and harmonisation of drug policies within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
  • The imminent departure of NATO from Afghanistan has led to further reform of Russia's attempted outreach to other states within the framework of the 'war on drugs'; the Russian model of 'alternative development' via 'rapid industralization' is now explicitly held up as more productive, and of greater utility, than Western-sponsored crop substitution schemes.
  • Russia in toto has implemented a relatively complex set of policies that appear set to present an explicit alternative agenda to proposals favouring greater harm reduction or decriminalisation at the next UNGASS summit in 2016.

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