MOSCOW, November 11 (RIA Novosti) – The head of Russia’s anti-drug agency backed on Sunday a controversial campaigner with a history of conflicts with the Kremlin whose fund is struggling with a police crackdown.
“I cannot judge my colleagues in the law enforcements…but from my seat in the peanut gallery, I’ve supported Roizman and [his follower] Yegor Bychkov in that we need this kind of activity,” Federal Drug Control Service head Viktor Ivanov said on Ekho Moskvy radio.
But Roizman “isn’t always acting within the law” and his fund, City Without Drugs, should not operate as a standalone agency and needs to work with other rehab projects, Ivanov added, speaking on Saturday.
Roizman, who established his fund in 1999, praised Ivanov on Sunday for “acting like a man”.
The Urals-based City Without Drugs has a polarizing reputation, with supporters extolling it for a tough stance on drugs and efficient rehabilitation methods while critics accuse it of abusing and even torturing addicts.
Police have searched the fund’s premises in Yekaterinburg earlier this month and opened three cases over a patient’s death, blamed on harsh treatment.
Roizman, 50, claimed that the Kremlin has prevented him from running in the 2007 and the 2011 parliamentary elections over his independent political stance. He has called the crackdown on his fund revenge by corrupt officials for the fund’s attacks on local drug cartels.