Sound Familiar? –
Nov. 11, 2019 – The biting cold hits the people who come out of the Moscow subway this evening. It is a 45-minute ride from the city center to Marino, the most populated district of the Russian capital. There seems to be no end to the communist-era apartment buildings.
A minibus is parked not far from the subway station. It bears the acronym ARF, for the Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social Justice. A man hobbles towards it. There are several boxes of syringes, medicines and disinfectant. “Vanya!” says the social worker, Maxim. “What’s up?” Vanya smiles. “Have you got any clean syringes?” he asks. Maxim starts packing some sanitary products in a bag.
ARF campaigns for the rights of drug addicts and sex workers in Russia. The bus comes to Marino every Tuesday. The rest of the time it goes to other parts of Moscow. Vanya is one of 5 million drug addicts in Russia. “I’ve been coming to the [ARF] bus for years. People here don’t only do their work. They’re interested in me and help me. I receive support if I need to go to the hospital or if I need a document.”