Andrey Rylkov Foundation
for Health and Social Justice

Voices from Russia

In this section we are publishing the personal stories of those people who became the witnesses or the victims of the human rights abuse in our country.

August 1st, 2012

One of the outcomes of the war on drugs is that drug users are treated as outcasts who are denied their basic rights. They have nowhere to turn for help. And those who are supposed to be protecting them--our so-called “law enforcement” officers--rape, abuse and kill them. The most vulnerable, powerless, and disparaged victims of this war are women. This is an interview with two young women from Yekaterinburg (Russia), whose drug dependency led them to do sex work. They talk about a vicious cycle that is impossible to break. And the most violent offenders are the police—those who are supposed to be looking out for our safety in the first place.

July 12th, 2012

"I dreamed of coming to Washington to speak at AIDS 2012. I had a message to deliver to those who have the financial and political means to turn the tide of the epidemic. I wanted to speak up because Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA)—the region where I live—is the only region in the world where HIV rates continue to rise while available resources for HIV prevention continue to shrink. Yet it’s not just an issue of funding or lack thereof. There is another reason—for millions of us, repressive drug policies and the stigma associated with drug use stand in the way of accessing HIV treatment and prevention. Russia’s drug users, second-class citizens in their own country, are denied basic human rights—the right to health and the right to life. The fact that Russia’s new national drug strategy through the year 2020 mentions HIV only once, while making no mention of human rights at all, is a case in point."

July 4th, 2012

On June 26, the Global Commission on Drug Policy presented its report, The War On Drugs And HIV/AIDS - How The Criminalisation Of Drug Use Fuels The Global Pandemic, at a press conference in London, UK. Participants in the press conference included Michel Kazatchkine, formerly of the Global Fund; Ruth Dreyfuss, a Swiss policymaker; and other speakers, among them Maria Yakovleva from Foundation Svecha and female network E.V.A. in St. Petersburg.

March 22nd, 2012

On 20 November 2008, a Russian newspaper, Novie Izvestia, reported that one of the courts in Karelia [a region in Russia's North-West] made a precedent judgment in a case to release a prisoner with a advanced AIDS due to his bad health condition. The prisoner was able to prove that he needed urgent treatment which he could only get outside prison. Many people, who read the news in the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition’s Russian listserv (ITPCru), sighed with relief: the prisoner referred to in the news, was Kostya Proletarsky

March 9th, 2012

At the end of last year, the authorities started to show a bit too much interest in our NGO, the “Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social Justice” - interest of a rather strange nature. It all began with a phone call from a representative of the Head Department for Economic Safety and Corruption Counteraction under the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He told us that they had received a complaint concerning our organization.

January 27th, 2012

On July 27, Togliatti NGO Project April and the city’s human rights activists will make public the situation of drug user Ivan Anoshkin. Who, according to his lawyer Alexey Sibalakov, “appealed to the Ministry of Health of Samara Region requesting treatment, and the next day he was arrested for drug possession on fabricated evidence".

January 1st, 2012

I was in Yekaterinburg for our women’s project when the news broke about the death of a young woman in the City without Drugs (CWD) center. People in Yekaterinburg got all worked up; everyone thought that the center would get shut down. I was sought out by a guy who got released from the center when it was raided by the police and who asked me to record an interview with him, because he knew that I do human rights work. He said that he wanted people to know about what happens in these centers. He wanted to do it for the parents who bring their children to these centers thinking they are going to get help.

December 15th, 2011

On December 16 2011 the trial against Evgeny Konyshev’s is set to resume in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Evgeny is a human rights activist representing community of drug users, as well as a volunteer in a local harm reduction project. The same day we are launching an international campaign in support of Evgeny!

November 24th, 2011

A three-part documentary film from the Open Society Institute about the effect on women of the drug-related HIV epidemic in Eastern Europe. Part 1: Zina and Marina—best friends and active drug users, who are about to discover their HIV status; Part 2: Tanya--a mother of two who has transitioned into substitution treatment but whose husband continues to use drugs; Part 3: Galya--a former user who now works as a peer-to-peer outreach worker.

August 29th, 2011

16 July 2011 marked the second anniversary of the arrest of Denis Matveyev, a Russian Human Rights activist who was accused of drug trafficking and sentenced to six years in a high-level security prison. During his three-year fight against corruption in the Russian city of Naberezhnie Chelny, Matveyev got under the skin of authorities on several occasions.