A group of local young people in the Malgobek District, Ingushetia, have formed a vigilante group to fight against drug addiction. Members of the new organisation, with the blessing of local religious authorities, are tracking down and recording details of alleged drug dealers. These ‘defenders of morality’ record their actions and publish them online.
It is commonly believed that drugs reach Ingushetia from the neighbouring North Ossetian town of Mozdok. Dealers purchase illegal substances from their Ossetian accomplices before distributing them in Malgobek.
The fight against drug trafficking in Malgobek has been supported by Ingushetia’s chief expert in narcotics, Dzhambulat Vadelov. According to him, only direct public involvement can stop the spread of drugs. He also noted that the number of drug addicts in the republic has been on the rise, with 1,423 people officially registered as drug abusers.
‘In 2016, 120 people were included in the list. Thirty people came from the Malgobek District alone; six of them are heavy addicts. Eight people were included in the list in January 2017 only in this one district, including a 16-year-old boy’, Vadelov said.
In order to promote the fight against drug trafficking in the region among local residents, several gatherings were organised in Malgobek. People often support this fight and are ready to support it, however, some don’t understand why a group of people who are not members of law enforcement, have the right to stop people’s cars and search them.
‘It’s become fashionable nowadays to replace law enforcement with social movements. Why can’t the police catch the traffickers while they’re receiving good salaries for this? Why don’t people resent the inaction of the authorities?’ asks Musa, a resident of Malgobek.
In the Malgobek District, the local youth group has already conducted dozens of ‘anti-drug operations’. After detaining people they suspect, the activists release the offender, as they have no other legal measures at their disposal. Following outpourings of support for their actions within the local community, the fight against drug trafficking has been prioritised by the Ingush authorities and Ingush president Yunus-Bek Yevkurov has ordered law enforcement agencies to intensify the fight against drug trafficking in the republic.