Ivan Anoshkin’s life is a chronicle of the state’s crimes against human beings and his path to strength, truth, and freedom.
Ivan was born in Togliatti, Russia. He has been using drugs almost all his conscious life. He started using opiates intravenously in 1994, at the age of 14. He has HIV, hepatitis C, and has had pulmonary tuberculosis. He has been tried five times for crimes caused by drug addiction.
On several occasions he unsuccessfully attempted treatment for drug addiction in state and non-state institutions by methods permitted in the Russian Federation. During treatment in state institutions, he was subjected to cruel treatment and humiliation. He returned to drug use immediately after treatment.
Since 2010 Ivan has been an employee of the harm reduction organisation ‘April’, an organisation that is considered by the authorities to be a “foreign agent”. Ivan is also a member of the Russian Forum of People Who Use Drugs (formed on the basis of the Public Mechanism for Monitoring Drug Policy Reform in Russia) and RuNPUD (Russian-language network of people who use drugs), and is head of the initiative group “Citizen N”.
Anoshkin is involved in the Prisoners’ Health and Rights Project. It aims to help prisoners and ex-prisoners who use drugs, and to protect their rights against torture, discrimination, and lack of treatment for diseases including HIV, tuberculosis, and others. The project also serves as a link between incarcerated people and effective legal aid.
In April 2011, Ivan complained to UN Special Rapporteur Anand Grover about the lack of opioid substitution therapy programs (methadone and buprenorphine) for people who use drugs in Russia. Bottom line: Russia ignored the complaint.
In April 2012, Ivan applied to the Russian Ministry of Health with a request to prescribe opioid substitution therapy using methadone or buprenorphine, which is prohibited in Russia. He was denied, citing provisions of federal law prohibiting the use of methadone and buprenorphine for drug treatment in Russia. Subsequently, Ivan was prosecuted and convicted of possession of drugs for his own use.
On August 1, 2013, Ivan filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against the ban on substitution therapy using methadone and buprenorphine for the treatment of drug addiction in Russia. Outcome: rejected by the ECHR.
On June 8, 2013, Ivan filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights regarding the torture and inhuman and degrading treatment he suffered at a police station in Russia. Result: the complaint was recognised by the ECHR as justified, and Ivan received compensation.
Ivan participated in the preparation of a report to the UN Committee against Torture. On July 24-26, 2018, at the 64th session of the UN Committee against Torture in Geneva, he presented a report on Russia’s violations of the Convention against Torture. The report provoked a negative reaction in Russia.
“Today I’m doing fine. I have a wife I love, a job I love. We have four children for two. I’m a father of many children. I help people in prison, I help people who use drugs. I am involved in HIV prevention in my city. I love my work, I like it very much. Because it is a part of me. It’s part of my experience. And this is what I can share – how to cope with it, how to go through it: through repression, through torture, and overcome it without losing yourself,” says Ivan Anoshkin.