My Work and Advocacy Plan
My Research Timetable
My Initial Issue Paper
My Interim Report
My Final Report
My Policy Paper
My Research Paper
DRUG-TRAFFICKING AS A CHALLENGE FOR RUSSIA'S SECURITY AND BORDER POLICIES
How much adequate contemporary Russian security and border policies in response to the challenge of drug-trafficking through Russia’s post-Soviet borders? Does it just repeat mistakes previously made by USA, EU and other countries or mostly based on the combination of special circumstances (including the huge length and transparency of new Russia’s borders, structure and organization of drug-trafficking, scarcity of financial and organizational resources etc.) forcing to conduct the current antinarcotics policy? What sort of measures would be the most effective for its improvement: strict security measures (strengthening of force structures and Russia’s post-Soviet borders, increasing control over migration etc.) or demand reduction (massive antinarcotics publicity, special attention to the policy towards the young etc.)?
After destruction of Soviet security system covering huge space in Eurasia transnational criminality has got a large field for its activity and a wide range of possibilites for superprofits due to weak border control and poor coordination of anti-criminal activities of the new independent countries. Transnational criminal groupings improve mechanisms of their illegal transboundary activities while security and anti-criminal structures of the countries of CIS frequently cannot respond this challenge effectively having little necessary finanсial and other resourses and often, unfortunately, sufficient stimuli for development of cooperation in this field.
The post-Soviet borders of Russia (more than 11000 kilometers lengthwise), especially the border with Kazakhstan, which is the longest continuous border in the world (about 7000 kilometers) cannot be controlled effectively in the nearest future: according to the official estimations of Russian Border Guard Service such a control will require, at least, 9 billions of US dollars in equivalent. At the same time, even the strict control over the border cannot be itself the solution as, according to unofficial estimations, about 70% of smuggling goes through existing checkpoints but not avoids them. The huge porous border having a weak and corrupted system of control is very, maybe the most, attractive direction for narco-dealers from Central Asian countries and Afghanistan, which is the world leader in producing of heroin. On the over hand, the volume of smuggling synthetic drugs produced in Europe, cocaine from Latin America and poppy straw from Ukraine also increases dramatically. For the present time drug-trafficking is the most urgent problem for this border’s security and a very serious issue of Russian national security: some experts believe that if the present tendencies will remain, already after 10 years every fourth Russian citizen could become to be addicted to drugs. Apart from this, the issue under review turns into an important question of European policy hindering integration of Russia and some other post-Soviet states (especially Ukraine and Kazakhstan) into the common European space. So, finding adequate solution for this cluster of problems is very important not only for Russia and the neighbor countries themselves, but also for European and Eurasian systems of international relations.
The main purpose of the project proposed is to estimate the adequacy of Russian security and border policies responding the challenge of transboundary drug-trafficking with its direct (the dynamics of the number of drug addicts in the entire country and in regions situating at the main routes of transboundary narcotraffic) and indirect (appeals to the problem by political and other elites aiming the adoption of some political strategies and obtaining financial support for force and other structures, external political pressure to Russia and vice versa) consequences.
In order to achieve this aim the following questions (“9 whats”) should be answered:
- What geographic directions are the most popular for smugglers? Where and through what administrative regions (oblasts, republics etc) the main flows of drugs are directed? In what regions the turnover of drugs and the number of drug addicts is the largest?
- What are typical organization and tactic of criminal groupings involved in drug-trafficking through the new Russian borders? Do they coordinate their activities to each other? What ways are been used in order to avoid border control? What channels are the most popular in this case? In what extend the official structures (such as border guard, customs, army and police forces are involved in drug –trafficking activities providing success of narco-dealers’ operations? What essential changes in these organization, directions and ways took place since the period of the collapse of the USSR?
- What organizational, legal, financial and other resources are used by Russia (itself and cooperation with the neighbor countries) in order to prevent transboundary narcotraffic?
- What are the most widespread perceptions of the problem by the decision-makers (both of central and regional level) and what approaches to its solution are proposed? Are there essential distinctions between the perceptions and approaches of central and regional authorities?
- What regions situating at the largest drug-trafficking routes conduct the most effective antinarcotics policy? What is the correlation between force and drug reduction measures within such policies?
What is the correlation between strengthening of border regime at Russia’s post-Soviet boundaries (since 1999-2000) and drug addiction in border regions?
- In what extent the number of drug addicts correlates with the character of antinarcotics measures and the structure of financial support for them?
- In what extent both positive and negative foreign experience (e.g. of U.S.-Mexico border) can be applicable to the contemporary Russian realities?
Geography: The research will be focused manly on the provinces of Russia, bordering Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia and Lithuania.
Methodology. One of the main problems is in lack or absence of independent research based on regional case studies using various sources of different institutional origin. First of all, the data on and estimations of drug consumption differ essentially. The primary task is, therefore, to obtain, compare and synthesize different estimations (including dynamics) of drug circulation in regions situating at the main routes of drug-trafficking through Russia’s new borders. These estimations should be chronologically correlated with measures of security, border, and migration policies. Another problem is in comparative estimation of the efficiency of force and demand reduction policies that can be achieved by the case studies of regional antinarcotics policies (including the set of measures and the real financial support for them that often is far less than a planned one). The factor of the size of narcotics crop (heroin in Afghanistan and cannabis in the Tchu valley of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, poppy in Ukraine), which determines the pressure of drug flows on Russia’s borders, should be taking into account during such estimations. The great importance will always have the comparison of Russia’s experience in antinarcotics security policy with the similar policies of other countries (especially USA and EU members).
1. Interview (specialized interviewing). The interviews are to be held in Moscow, Volgograd, Pskov, Smolensk, Voronezh, Kiev, and Minsk with high-ranking officials representing regional branches of Border Guard Services and Customs Services, regional branches of police and special bodies responsible for the control over circulation of drugs (Federal Service of Russian Federation for the Control of Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances with its regional branches etc.), journalists of leading regional newspapers, representatives of specialized medical institutions (Narkodispanser), and of non-governmental organizations dealing with drug issues. The normal duration of an interview is 30-40 minutes, its design is semi-structured: some questions are obligatory and some could be varied. The typical set of questions should be based on the questions of the proposal and to vary depending on the professional specialization of the interviewee. Some of interviews (especially short ones when the questions on the volume of drug circulation have the main importance) can be conducted by phone.
2. Event analysis. It is intended for processing the information of Russian and the neighbor states’ media (in Russian, Ukrainian and English) available through the Internet. The results are to be systematized within a table containing the following columns: a) time; b) place; c) event; d) volume of drugs; e) number of persons involved; f) tactics of these persons; g) by whom detained, if relevant; h) conclusions and measures proposed.
3. Analysis of statistics concerning the data on drug circulation in Russian regions (especially the regions laying at the main drug-trafficking routes), arresting of illegal drugs and narco-dealers at the new Russian borders, the dynamics of the related to the usage of drugs criminal activity in border regions. Special attention should be paid to analysis of connections between increase of crimes, caused by addiction to drugs, and intensification of transboundary activities (seasonal or related to mass border-crossings by representatives of some specific social and professional groups: merchants, workers, military servicemen etc.)
4. Comparative analysis of information on different borders under study obtained by application of the above-mentioned methods. It will allow revealing spatial and temporal regularities of the problems under research.
April-August, 2005. Collection of statistical information on drug circulation in Russian regions. Event analysis.
September-December, 2005. Procession of information collected. Research trips to Voronezh, Kiev and Minsk. Conducting interviews by phone. Elaboration of the preliminary set of conceptual ideas and of additional research questions. Writing a policy memo paper.
January-April, 2006. Trip to Smolensk and Pskov. Revising the final paper. Publication.
Application of the Project Results:
1. The results will be published in an well-known research journal and online (at the site of the Center of Regional and Transboundary Studies (www.transbound.narod.ru) and at the cite of the Foundation for Effective Policy (www.kreml.org; the applicant is an expert of this foundation) elaborating recommendations for Russian leadership. So, a wild range of researchers and some decision-making persons could learn about the results through these sources.
2. A reprint copies of the final paper will be sent to Russian bodies dealing with drug-trafficking (first of all, to the Border Guard Service, Customs Service and the Agency for the Control over Drugs) with representatives of which the applicant intends to work during his project.
3. The results will be used in the course “National Security” which the applicant teaches for the students of Volgograd State University. So, hundreds the representatives of young generation could have a clear idea of the situation with narcotraffic as a challenge for Russian security.