U.S. Puts Russia on Drug Danger List

Despite stepped-up government efforts, the country remains a major consumer of dangerous drugs and a favorite place for laundering drug-trafficking profits, a U.S. government report has found.

"Russia is a major destination country for heroin from Afghanistan and is a user market for opium, hashish, marijuana, synthetics and other dangerous illegal substances," said the annual report, which was published on the State Department's web site Thursday.

The report includes Russia in a list of 121 key states of global drug control activities as well as in a list of more than 60 states that are of primary concern regarding drug-related financial crimes.

Among the country's risk factors are porous borders, its location as a geographic gateway between Europe and Asia, chronic underfunding and a lack of capacity of regulatory and law enforcement agencies, the report said.

This creates "an environment in which corruption and financial crimes flourish," it finds.

The authors also note that the "current administration aspires to establish the capital, Moscow, as an international financial center," while at the same time money laundering and terrorist financing are prevalent.

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