The link between Afghan Heroin and the ongoing AIDS epidemic in Russia

An estimated 980,000 HIV positive people live in Russia, which is suffering from one of the fastest growing HIV epidemics in Europe. Similar to the epidemic in neighboring Ukraine, that in Russia is also unique in many ways. The AIDS epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa is fuelled by heterosexual intercourse, while most of the new infections in Western nations are as a result of homosexual sex. But in Russia, the main cause is Intravenous Drug Injection. About 80% of all AIDS cases in Russia were reported among people who inject drugs intravenously.

Surprisingly, the provinces that are having the highest HIV incidence rates are distributed among the Southern part of Russia (Irkutsk, Saratov, Samara, Tyumen, Sverdlovsk, Orenburg, and Chelyabinsk.etc). The incidence rates among Central Russian and Northern Russian provinces remain comparatively low. Now what makes these Southern provinces vulnerable to the AIDS epidemic? The answer is that they are closer to Afghanistan, which is the source of more than 90% of the Heroin produced globally.

The Heroin produced in Afghanistan (mostly under the supervision of local warlords supported by the NATO) is transported through two corridors. One is through Pakistan, and the other is through Tajikistan. It is the stuff which is smuggled through Tajikistan which causes destruction of the Russian society. NATO is killing two birds with one stone. On one hand, they are weakening one of their main rivals by killing off its youth. On the other hand they are assured of the support from local Afghan warlords, who are benefitting enormously from the drug trade.

The corruption in Russia’s law enforcing agencies is adding fuel to fire. Most of the drug dealers are keeping local policemen on their side using bribes and other incentives. Even many of the local United Russia (ruling party) politicians are involved in the drug trade. Most of the drug barons in Russia are not ethnic Russians. In fact not even 2% of them are Slavs. Azeris (most of them in Russia illegally) are the main drug suppliers in most of the Russian regions. They employ ethnic Chechen and Tajik goons to silence any local opposition to their activities. The Azeri community in Russia number more than a million and holds enormous political clout (especially inside the United Russia party). Any opposition is immediately “dealt with”, like the incident in the village of Sagra.

An estimated 2 million people regularly inject Heroin in to their veins in Russia. Most of them are teenagers or those in their early 20s. Unless something is done, either at the source – in Afghanistan or at the destination, Russia will face a gargantuan human catastrophe within the next 4-5 years.

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