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[Essay] Civil society and drugs in Russia: moving towards the conservative agenda

The fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s brought about important shifts in Russian economic, social, and political life. Along with economic turmoil emerged a wave of drug abuse.1 Political changes and democratic reforms also led to the growth of civil society, and between the late 1990s and mid-2000s, civil society organisations became a strong force in shaping the response to drug-related problems. These groups are very diverse; some are vigilantes in their approach to cleaning their cities of drugs, whereas others are community-based and organised by people who themselves use drugs and have liberal agendas for drug policy reform.