In the lawless vacuum that afflicts much of Russia today, Mr. Varov and Mr. Kabanov regularly incite acts of vigilante violence against drug dealers. They have also founded a drug treatment center where addicts are forced to withdraw from heroin use cold turkey while handcuffed to their beds -- or sometimes just to the nearest radiator.
They are up-from-nowhere street toughs, gang leaders or sportsmen who in the last decade have muscled their way into one business or another. As their power and wealth have grown, they have embraced religion or taken up public causes... "We are all for killing drug dealers on the spot without trial because they are poisoning our children," says Mr. Kabanov, 40, a onetime professional card player and former heroin addict himself, who built a yacht club for the region's nouveaux riches.
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