What is a Russian Penal Colony Where Brittney Griner is Sentenced to 9 Years?

Some of the inmates beat and torment their fellow inmates. There are many who must put in 16-hour days. In certain cases, Russian propaganda is re-watched over and over again. The Russian penitentiary colony is Brittney Griner’s new home, where she will serve a nine-year sentence.

Penal colonies are heirs of Stalin’s infamous gulags, where millions of Russians perished in work camps. Since then, human rights groups say, conditions for detainees have vastly improved in many prisons. As gulag-style concentration camps with barracks-style construction strewn over Siberia, the penal colonies continue to be notorious for their harshness and difficult living conditions, which are generally administered by repressive prison culture.

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As Aleksei Navalny, Russia’s most famous prisoner revealed in an interview from a correctional colony last year, detainees are forced to watch state television and propaganda films in addition to performing calisthenics, sweeping the yard, and playing chess or backgammon five times daily.

“You need to imagine something like a Chinese labor camp, where everybody marches in a line and where video cameras are hung everywhere,” he said. “There is constant control and a culture of snitching.” He was moved to a maximum-security prison in June, where Mr. Navalny claims he sews for seven-hour stints.

Pussy Riot’s member said in 2012 that the correctional colony where she and her bandmate were imprisoned had no hot water, warm clothes, or medicine and that anyone who fell ill could die as a result. In 2010, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s critique of the Soviet penal system, “The Gulag Archipelago,” should be required reading for Russian students.

So far, Ms. Griner has reportedly been reading books by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, a Russian author whose work was influenced by his terrifying time in Russia’s prison system, when he was sentenced to four years of hard labor in Siberia. Dostoyevsky once stated: “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” Stay tuned with us only on Lee Daily

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