Modern Russian and Soviet Drug Suppression
This chapter familiarizes Western readers with recent developments in the history of drugs in modern Russia and the Soviet Union. The field is just beginning in terms of its achievements, problems, new archives, and interpretations, and its uncharted territory for future research. The chapter starts by describing the main trends in the historiography of drug use and drug policy in twentieth-century Russia (both before and after 1991). It further sketches crucial points in both the social history of drugs and the evolution of a repressive governmental response between about 1900 and 2000, with a special focus on the early Soviet period. Open discussions of the drug problem (including cocaine) were prohibited in the Soviet era, but can be discerned via medical debates. Finally, the chapter closes with problematic aspects of “new drug history” in the Russian context and avenues for further research.