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Use drug addicts to help develop Siberia, says leftist Russian MP

Use drug addicts to help develop Siberia, says leftist Russian MP
A lawmaker from the leftist opposition party Fair Russia has proposed developing Siberian land by building rehab clinics where addicts could receive treatment through work, hunting and fishing amid the natural isolation from the outside world.

There are vast spaces in Siberia and the Far East that need to be developed,” MP Oleg Nilov said at a State Duma plenary session on Wednesday. “If we create rehab clinics there the very process of isolation, when there is nothing but taiga for 500km in each direction, would assist the treatment.”

We could use labor therapy, nature, fishing and hunting, and even simply the fresh air,” Nilov added.

I propose that we do this and solve many problems. I am confident that thousands or hundreds of thousands of citizens who would be saved by this program would probably decide not to return to cities where they had received their ‘lethal vaccine.’ They can stay and live in the natural environment, create families there. They would really boost the development of the Far East and Siberia,” the lawmaker stated.

He also said that his plan would only require moderate investment. 

At the same plenary meeting, the State Duma approved in the first reading a bill allowing for a delay in the prison terms for people convicted of drug-related crimes if they are diagnosed with addiction and agree to undergo rehabilitation. The proposal reads that the delay should be sanctioned by a court and not exceed five years.

Drug use has been decriminalized in modern Russia, but it is considered a civil violation punishable by relatively small fines or up to 15 days of administrative arrest. Compulsory treatment for addicts is possible, but requires a court order.

Officials at all levels have repeatedly stated that the legalization of drugs, whether for medical or recreational use, was not on the cards. Currently, Russian laws do not distinguish between soft and hard drugs, and drug production and trafficking is punished with lengthy prison terms.

In a poll conducted in late June this year, 78 percent of Russians say they wanted to bring back criminal penalties for illegal drug use, while only 6 percent spoke in support of legalizing the use of soft drugs.

At the same time, about 43 percent of Russians said they considered drug addiction a form of illness that can and should be cured. Only 28 percent said that all addicts were potentially dangerous and should be kept in isolation.