State Duma may consider softening punishments for some nonviolent drug offenses, workgroup head says
A proposal to decrease sentences for drug possession unrelated to attempted sales may be introduced into Russia’s State Duma before the end of the body’s spring session.
Nikolai Brykin, who leads the Duma’s working group to combat illegal drug trafficking, told the independent television station Dozhd that the initiative has received support from law enforcement agencies. The first hearing during which the proposal may be entered for consideration will take place on June 20.
The bill would reclassify the possession and acquisition of drugs from their current felony category to that of high-class misdemeanors while decreasing statutory sentencing ranges for the possession of large and very large quantities of narcotic substances.
The proposal does not include any changes in the sentences legally available for crimes related to drug distribution. This is the section of Russia’s Article 228 under which Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov was arrested on June 6. Golunov was cleared of all charges on June 11 after an unprecedented solidarity campaign.