A few years later, the same happened to the members of the rock band Pussy Riot. These feminists criticized Putin’s policies and protested his re-election in 2012. That same year, the three women were sentenced to two years in prison, which sparked international protests.
But due to an amnesty law, the women of Pussy Riot returned after a year released. And it had everything to do with the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, “says Jansen. Members of the group called for a boycott of the event.
Russian penal colonies are reminiscent of the Gulag, as the prison camp system was called in Soviet times. Their long and sinister history began around 1930. During Stalin’s reign, until his death in 1953, around 18 million people were sent to the camps. About one in ten prisoners did not survive.
Officially, the camps had an ideal purpose, Jansen says. “The condemned have been ‘re-educated’ there to become model citizens.” But in reality, atrocities took place, such as forcing inmates to cut trees in the freezing cold of Siberia. The horrors became known around the world in the 1970s thanks to the book The Gulag archipelago van Aleksandr Solzjenitsyn.
Although the Gulag was officially dissolved in 1960, there are still many similarities to the current penal colonies. One of the most important of them, according to reviewsis that the code of conduct in the camps has not been radically modernized since Soviet times. Much of the corruption and exploitation is said to take place with impunity.
This image was confirmed in 2013 by a member of Pussy Riot, who appeared in a open letter describes his first meeting with the directors of the Mordovian penal colony. One of them told him: “You must understand that when it comes to politics, I am a Stalinist.” Another added: “We have a stronger spirit here than yours.”
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