27 May 2021
Prisoners are still receiving low wages, which is something many complain about, says Valery Borshchev, human rights defender and co-chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group.
The Federal Penitentiary Service (FPS) previously stated that the average monthly wage for a prisoner employed in private companies would constitute 20-24,000 roubles, and in exceptional cases (such as in Belgorod region) this would increase to 220,000 roubles.
“According to my data, wages are still low. There are constant complaints about this. There will probably be higher pay in some cases, but whether this will become the rule is a question for the FPS. Wages should be the same as any civilian would receive, any free person. Yes, there will be appropriate deductions, as there are for prisoners’ pay, but there should be no discriminatory wages here, they should be equal,” the rights defender said.
According to him, there is no danger that prisoners will be paid more than civilians.
“I think wages that exceed the norm, if that is true, are very rare cases. The danger that prisoners might receive more than free citizens does not exist,” Borshchev added.
He also emphasised that the nature of the work assigned to those sentenced to forced labour varies greatly between regions.
Translated by Elizabeth Rushton