12 January 2021
By Lev Ponomarev, chair of the nationwide NGO For Human Rights and member of the Moscow Helsinki Group
‘THIS MESSAGE (MATERIAL) WAS CREATED AND DISTRIBUTED BY A FOREIGN MEDIA OUTLET PERFORMING THE FUNCTIONS OF A FOREIGN AGENT AND/OR BY A RUSSIAN LEGAL ENTITY PERFORMING THE FUNCTIONS OF A FOREIGN AGENT.’ Yes, it’s me again, a foreign agent. And my ‘message (material)’ will absolutely shock you.
Brutality. Violence. Torture. It is impossible to describe the Russian penal system without these words. The state turns a blind eye, preserving a decades-long inhuman system of degrading treatment and repression.
We have managed to find someone who was put through a horrific ordeal by prison staff and yet not lost his will – the will to tell us what happened to him.
Meet our public witness Evgeny Yurchenko. He was in the same Irkutsk penal colony No. 15 that has become notorious for the worst prison riots in modern Russia. The investigation into the riots is currently underway, or, more precisely, a scenario for the investigation is being written. Investigators, in close cooperation with the prison authorities, are torturing the accused and forcing them to become co-authors of the scenario.
You have probably seen films about Nazi and Soviet concentration camps. Today I present a film about a modern Russian concentration camp.
Take a look and don’t be silent.
Translated by Simon Cosgrove