The head of Russia's federal drug service has said that up to 40 percent of the GDP in Central Asia comes from criminal activities, particularly the illegal narcotics business.
On May 15, Viktor Ivanov told a meeting of the Russian government's commission on development and realization of counternarcotics programs there is a need to replace criminal economic activity in drug producing and transit countries with legal means for creating a "normal economy."
Ivanov mentioned 22 counternarcotics programs the Russian government plans to implement in Central Asia that would ensure Russia's interests in Central Asia.
Ivanov urged Russian investors to become more active in Central Asia.
"Better living standards are key to replacing the drug economy in Central Asia,"
Ivanov said and promised "(Russian) investors will receive a reliable shield."
Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS and IFX Rus