Some prisoners are tortured, or overwhelmed by way of fellow inmates. Some have to paintings 16-hour days. A couple of are compelled to watch Russian propaganda on repeat.
This is the arena of the Russian penal colony, into which Brittney Griner is about to be inducted for a nine-year time period.
Penal colonies are the descendants of gulags, the infamous Stalin-era exertions camps the place tens of millions of Russians misplaced their lives. The remedy of prisoners has stepped forward markedly since then, in accordance to rights teams.
However the penal colonies, lots of them intermittent throughout Siberia as gulags had been and specified by barracks, are nonetheless characterised by way of brutality, overcrowding, and cruel stipulations, and they’re steadily ruled by way of a inflexible jail tradition.
In an interview from a penal colony final 12 months, Russia’s most famed prisoner, the opposition chief Aleksei A. Navalny, described a time table of calisthenics, sweeping the backyard, and video games of chess or backgammon, in addition to 5 day by day periods of seclude time the place inmates are compelled to watch state tv and propaganda motion pictures.
“You wish to have to consider one thing like a Chinese language exertions camp, the place everyone marches in a line and the place video cameras are hung all over,” he stated. “There is consistent keep watch over and a tradition of snitching.”
In June, Mr. Navalny was once transferred to a maximum-security jail, the place he stated he spends seven-hour shifts at a stitching system.
In 2012, a member of the Russian punk band Pussy Revolt said that there was once no sizzling water, heat garments or medication within the penal colony the place she and a bandmate had been imprisoned, and that individuals who were given in poor health may just die as a end result.
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia stated in 2010 that “The Gulag Archipelago,” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s indictment of the Soviet penal device, must be crucial studying for Russian scholars.
All the way through her detention up to now, Ms. Griner’s studying subject material has reportedly been books by way of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, a Russian author whose paintings was once marked by way of his harrowing studies within the nation’s penal device, after he was once sentenced to 4 years’ laborious exertions in Siberia. Dostoyevsky as soon as wrote: “The level of civilization in a society can also be judged by way of getting into its prisons.”