Drug use among “bored” Russian soldiers is allegedly widespread, with troops in the trenches smoking the narcotic “salt” that induces paranoia and hallucinations, according to Russian media.
After speaking with dozens of soldiers, drug users and residents in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, the independent Russian newspaper Verstka reported that narcotics were readily available to the military in the trenches.
“They take drugs out of boredom,” said one soldier, adding that being bored while waiting for something to happen was “much worse” than worrying about adverse reactions to medications.
He said: “War is when you are constantly waiting for something, occasionally praying that it will all end.” When I was smoking salt on the bench, I didn’t give a damn about a possible panic. [bout of paranoia]. Boredom is much worse.
According to Verstka, one in 10 soldiers smoke marijuana, and many also take hard drugs like “salt,” a synthetic drug called alpha-PVP, which one soldier described smoking out of the lid of a jar with a pen and washing it down with vodka. .
“They take drugs out of boredom,” said one soldier, adding that being bored while waiting for something to happen was “much worse” than worrying about adverse reactions to medications (file image of a Russian soldier in occupied Mariupol)
“It’s like Las Vegas,” another soldier said. He claimed that a Russian soldier brought him a gram of salt directly to the trenches.
Troops who regularly use drugs to escape boredom said their proximity to each other in the trenches means their peers know who is using substances.
But the superiors would turn a blind eye, as long as the drug addicts “did not bother anyone” and did not leave the bench to drink or smoke something.
The soldiers confirmed to investigators that drugs were easy to obtain in the occupied territories and at the front.
Drug paraphernalia is often found in Russian trenches, because drug couriers carry the substances and equipment – mainly “gunpowder” (amphetamine), “pineapples” (marijuana) and salt – to the front.
The substances are delivered by locals or by involuntary volunteers who bring equipment to the soldiers. Some are even brought to the front by the men themselves, who undergo lax controls.
Russian soldiers can earn up to 200,000 rubles (£1,700) a month, which is four times the average salary in the country, and some spend the money earned in the war to place orders with distributors via the Telegram messaging app.
A popular request is salt, which can cause paranoia and hallucinations, and can lead to aggressive behavior or self-harm.
Prices for different drugs are high due to the risky delivery route: three syringes of one substance cost 15,000 rubles (£125), according to a soldier who spoke to Verstka.
Some Russian soldiers said they had not seen or heard of any drug users in the trenches, but admitted that they drink a lot at the front. “If they are going to attack high, he knows it,” said the soldier (pictured: archive image of Russian soldiers in Mariupol)
Another man who spoke to Verstka, Vadim, lives in occupied Mariupol. He said that the price of drugs in the occupied territory is double that in Moscow.
He said he saw Russian soldiers drugged several times: “I realized they were not in their right mind.”
The soldiers’ high salaries also attract drug users who hope to finance their addiction with army pay, Private Kirill revealed.
He said that he had a 27-year-old comrade who enlisted, but he did not know “how he passed the medical commission in the Moscow region.”
During a military mission, this friend began shaking and sweating excessively, which was later diagnosed as an overdose.
Drug culture among Russian soldiers appears to be increasingly common, as indicated by a video that circulated on Telegram in August, which appears to show uniformed soldiers smoking marijuana through a can.
The title of the video said that “it is not surprising that after orders from military leaders, when recruits are thrown under fire as cannon fodder, they have to suppress memories of the horrors of war with the help of alcohol and drugs.” drugs,” according to news week.
But Vadim told Verstka that he also knew of Ukrainian soldiers using drugs in Mariupol before the city was occupied by Russia.
Some Russian soldiers said they had not seen or heard of any drug users in the trenches, but admitted that they drink a lot at the front. “If they’re going to attack high, damn knows,” the soldier said.
He reiterated that the main problem on the front was boredom and said he had only fired his gun twice since March of last year.