Putin fires Russian prison chief after torture scandal

Alexander Kalashnikov was dismissed with immediate effect, according to a decree published on Kremlin's website


Reuters November 25, 2021
Russian President Vladimir Putin. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

MOSCOW:

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday fired the head of Russia's prison service, weeks after the emergence of leaked videos that appeared to show prisoners being tortured and sexually assaulted.

Alexander Kalashnikov was dismissed with immediate effect, according to a terse decree published on the Kremlin's website. Arkady Gostev, a deputy interior minister, was appointed as his replacement.

The Kremlin did not give a reason for Kalashnikov's removal as head of the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN). But the move comes after FSIN last month fired five senior prison officials and opened a slew of criminal investigations into incidents at a jail in the Saratov region.

Read more: Russia and Ukraine both step up military alert with combat drills

The authorities acted after a prisoner rights group, Gulagu.net, began publishing what it said was graphic video evidence of orchestrated sadism at the prison, located around 700 km (450 miles) southeast of Moscow.

The jailing of opposition politician Alexei Navalny, which drew condemnation from Western governments, has also prompted increased scrutiny of conditions in the prison system.

Also read: Moscow says US rehearsed nuclear strike against Russia this month

Six former inmates and a former prisons inspector told Reuters earlier this year of regular beatings and sexual assaults at the penal colony east of Moscow where Navalny began a two-and-a-half year sentence in March.

The Kremlin declines to answer questions on Navalny's treatment in prison, saying that is a matter for FSIN.

COMMENTS

Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ

E-Publications

Most Read