Nevolia Journal Issue Archive
In the News from Prisons rubric, Alexander Sukharenko reviews information received from official penal agencies and compiled on the basis of media reports. The issue, as usual, features records of the Prisoner Rights Defence Foundation about events and incidents within the penal system. Coming next is Boris Panteleyev’s analytical article “To Obey Instructions or Uphold an Officer’s Honour?” in which the author, a member of a Public Oversight Commission, explores the opportunities for these kinds of groups to improve Russia’s penal system. In his publication “The Untouchable”, Alexander Sukharenko states that not all are equal before the law in Russia, although this is an officially proclaimed principle in this country. The section closes with Sergei German’s brilliant short story “The Strip” about prison morals and everyday routine.
In the History section, you will find Alexander Sidorov’s absorbing analysis of how official literature promoted prison folklore during the years of Stalin’s rule. The story is from the series “Proverbs and Sayings of Russian Prisoners”. The section and issue close with two literary reviews by Alexei Mokrousov – of a book of memoirs by a World War Two Soviet spy and a book about Russian prisons today.
The feature “Prisons around the World” highlights distinctions in the penal systems of different foreign countries. Coming next is Boris Panteleyev’s analytical article “To Obey Instructions or Uphold an Officer’s Honour?” in which the author, a member of a Public Oversight Commission, explores the opportunities for these kinds of groups to improve Russia’s penal system. In his publication “What the FSB Look After”, Alexander Sukharenko describes today’s functions of the Federal Security Service and some of its recorded successes. The section closes with a short story by Boris Zemtsov, “The Finding”, which is based on the author’s recollections of his prison-life experiences.
In the History section, be sure to read Alexander Sidorov’s absorbing analysis “Proverbs and Sayings of Russian Prisoners”, followed by an interesting artistic and historical review “Mysteries of Abandoned GULAG Camps” by Sergei Stepanov, and a selection of foreign media reports about legendary prisons, celebrity jailbirds, and notorious crimes. The issue closes with Alexei Mokrousov’s literary review “Two Books: Vasily Aksyonov’s Correspondence and Anne Applebaum’s Research Findings about GULAG”.
In the News from Prisons rubric, Alexander Sukharenko reviews information received from official penal agencies and compiled on the basis of media reports. As usual, the issue features records of the Prisoner Rights Defence Foundation about events and incidents within the penal system. That is followed by a selection of foreign media reports under the heading “Prisons around the World”. Another short story by Mikhail Burlyash, “From the Life of Marat Bochka”, is based on the author’s recollections of the years he spent in prison. Alexander Sukharenko, in his economic and social analysis “The Spiral of Lawlessness”, explores the impact of the current economic crisis in Russia on the growing crime rate. Featured next are more of autobiographic “Prison Sketches” by Leonid Agafonov. The section closes with an excerpt from Boris Zemtsov’s unpublished book “A Little Bit of Prison in an Otherwise Decent Biography”.
In the History section, you will find Alexander Sidorov’s absorbing analysis “National History as Reflected in the History of an Underworld Song: ‘Smash-and-Grab Boys’”, followed by a selection of foreign media reports about legendary prisons, celebrity jailbirds, and notorious crimes. The issue closes with Alexei Mokrousov’s reviews of two books – “Letters from Prison” by Ilya Gabai and “Fragments of the Past” by Clara Strada-Yanovich.
In the History section, you will find Aleksandr Sidorov’s absorbing analysis “National History as Reflected in the History of Underworld Song”, and Alexei Mokrousov’s reviews of three interesting books.
In the News from Prisons rubric, Aleksandr Sukhorenko reviews information officially received from government agencies and compiled on the basis of media reports. As usual, the issue features records of the Prisoner Rights Defence Foundation about events and incidents within the penal system. Excerpts from Vladimir Smirnov’s book “The Last Inquest” about the author’s time in prison are followed by “Mermaid”, a funny short story from prison life by Mikhail Burlyash. The section closes with “Delusions of Conscience” – Boris Panteleyev’s reflections on the penal system’s performance, specifically its work with Public Supervisory Boards.
In the History rubric, you will find an absorbing entertaining analysis “Prison Songs in Russian Culture” by Aleksandr Sidorov, and two contributions by Alexei Mokrousov – “An Endless Story”, a review of Cecile Vessier’s book “For Your and Our Freedom”, and “Contempt and Conviction”, a summary of documentaries shown during the 37th Film Festival in Moscow.
The No Comment section features a collection of photos Yuri Tutov has made in different Russian prisons.
In the History section, be sure not to miss an absorbing historical review by Aleksandr Sidorov entitled “Father Makhno, Benya Krik and a Gipsy Woman from Odessa: An Unbreakable Union of Underworld Music and the Soviet Cinema”.
Aleksandr Sukhorenko compiled his “News from Prisons” review based on information received from government agencies and media. As usual, the issue features records of the Prisoner Rights Defence Foundation about events and incidents within the penal system, followed by the second part of Aleksandr Pirogov’s “Diaries of an Accused Man”. The section closes with an article by Boris Panteleyev, “Professional Defence”, giving useful advice to those willing to defend their rights. The History section features Aleksandr Sidorov’s absorbing historical analysis “Jailland’s Currency”. That is followed by a selection on legendary prisons and prisoners worldwide, compiled by Yuri Aleksandrov from foreign media reports. The section and issue conclude with Alexei Mokrousov’s review of the book of memoirs “The Other Reality” by Ruth Zernova, a writer and translator who fought during the 1936-1939 civil war in Spain and then had to go through prisons and labour camps of GULAG.
The History section opens with “Memoirs as a Remedy Against Fear” – Alexei Mokrousov’s review of the brilliant book of short stories by A. E. Perepechenykh, “God Will Make Stones Cry”. In conclusion, enjoy Aleksandr Sidorov’s captivating analytical essay “Prisoner Bywords” and learn, among other things, why the routine expression of gratitude using the word “thanks” is disfavoured in the Russian prison world.
The History section opens with Kirill Podrabinek’s feature “In a General-Regime Penal Colony”, which is a chapter from the author’s book of memoirs being prepared for printing. The section and issue close with Aleksandr Sidorov’s “The History of a Popular Song”, in which the author gives an insight into the history of Russia and one of its oldest prisons as reflected in a well-known prison song.
The History section opens with two stories by Aleksandr Sidorov, “Busting Out Through Tsar’s Window” and “Maniac in a Bra”, describing some famous jail-breaks. Alexei Mokrousov follows with three pieces – “…Judging by Intonation, He Meant Machine-Gun” – a review of I.Uvarova’s book “Yuliy Daniel and All, All, All”; “GULAG Labour: What to Know and How to Remember” – a review of the book “The History of Stalinism: Forced Labour in the USSR”; and “What Remains Aside from the Body” – reflections on a significant trend in modern art that is based on torture of the human body. In his story “Two Years on the Kama River”, dissident Mikhail Rivkin recollects his time in the Chistopol prison. In conclusion, the new Nevolya edition provides information about the human rights movement “Russia Behind Bars”.
The Individual Opinion section features an article by Aleksandr Sukharenko, entitled “Russian Underworld Kings Become Known in Europe”, with a commentary by Aleksandr Sidorov, a writer and prominent explorer of the prison world.
In the section Law and/or Order, you will find “Topical Legal Notes” by Valentin Danilov, a well-known scholar who spent ten years in prison on charges of espionage trumped up by the KGB.
The History section features Aleksandr Sidorov’s entertaining analysis “The Mystery of Taganka Tango”, exploring the origin of the famous prison song “Taganka”, with details about the notorious Moscow prison’s history reflected in that song and its numerous variations.
The section Individual Opinion features an anonymous author’s recommendations about how to behave during interrogation. The editorial board does not share his opinion, of which it warns the readers in a note ahead of the text.
In the History section, you will find Aleksandr Sidorov’s entertaining analysis “A Beaten Dupe’s Outlook” – an insight into the tragic history of a cruel battle waged in the criminal world, commonly known as “the Bitch War”.
The History section features Aleksandr Sidorov’s entertaining linguistic analysis “Lemonland”, exploring the origin and meaning of a funny expression that has made its way into folk songs and common sayings that are popular with prison inmates.
The section Behind the Wall features two stories by Aleksandr Avgust about psychiatric repressions against prisoners in Russia.
The History section opens with Alec D. Epstein’s article “Art under Prosecution”, dedicated to the famous avant-garde art exhibition in Moscow’s Bitsevsky Park in September 1974 which police crushed down using bulldozers, and its impact on the development of contemporary art in Russia. That is followed by Alexei Mokrousov’s review (“Sisyphean Stone”) of Aleksandr Podrabinek’s brilliant biographical book “Dissidents”. The section and issue close with Aleksandr Sidorov’s entertaining linguistic analysis “Yelets, the Home Town of All Thieves”, giving an insight into the sources and meaning of a common saying used by prison inmates.
The History section features the article “The Bank of Azov & the Caspian Sea” by Aleksandr Sidorov. Based on his analysis of two phraseological expressions that have long become part of the Russian language, the author draws a bright picture of this country’s socio-criminal history.
The History section features Aleksandr Sidorov’s breathtaking linguistic analysis “Comrade Wolves of Bryansk and Tambov” – an insight into the Russian byword “Your comrade is the [Tambov/Bryansk] wolf”. Based on his analysis of this phraseological expression, which has long become part of the Russian language, the author draws a bright picture of this country’s socio-criminal history. The section closes with an anthology of media reports about prisons and jailbird celebrities in different countries around the world, compiled and translated into Russian by Yuri Aleksandrov.
The History section features a collection of foreign media reports about famous prisons and prisoners, translated into Russian by Yuri Aleksandrov; and Alexander Sidorov’s analyses “The Vologda Guard”, studying the Russian common saying, “The Vologda guard doesn’t laugh at jokes”, and “Secrets of the Long-Hole Drilling Bureau” about some fantastic escapes from prison.
The section Behind the Wall features the story “Business Trip” by Alexander Avgust, describing daily psychiatric violence against inmates as a prison routine, and a commentary to the Dima Yakovlev Law by Independent Psychiatrists’ Association President Yuri Savenko.
The History section features a breathtaking analysis by Alexander Sidorov, entitled “Chinese Tea for Vorkuta Prison Inmates”, which is based on the main theme of a well-known prison song.
The section Behind the Wall features the story “The Nuts Ward” by Alexander Avgust, describing the daily routine in a prison ward for inmates with confirmed or suspected metal disorders, and Ivan Markelov’s report “Prosecutors’ Inspections” about the work of the Civil Commission on Human Rights.
The History section opens with an essay about the prison of Bordeaux from the “Legendary Prisons” review compiled by Yuri Aleksandrov based on foreign media reports. The section and issue conclude with Alexander Sidorov’s detailed analysis “The Bataisk Semaphore: The Signals It Gives Us”, about prisoners’ transit routes and the origin of the “Bataisk semaphore” catchphrase.
The History section opens with a collection “Legendary Prisons” about some of the world’s famous jails, compiled by Yuri Aleksandrov based on foreign media reports. The article “Torture and Execution in France” tells the reader, in its first part, about the 16-century methods of culprit punishment, and in its second part, about the last instance of the guillotine’s use in France. Boris Sklyarenko’s analysis “The Turning Point” looks back at some new trends in the Soviet secret police’s consistent struggle with the human rights opposition during the era of “advanced” socialism. The section closes with veteran rights defender Alexei Smirnov’s captivating recollections “The Choice”, and Alexander Sidorov’s entertaining analysis entitled “A Planet of Wonders”.
The section “Behind the Wall” features Alexander Avgust’s story “The Querulous Paranoia Case” describing everyday life and morals in psychiatric prisons, as seen by the author’s own eyes, and the article “To Heal, Not Cripple” by Tatyana Malchikova, focusing on problems facing Russian psychiatry. The section closes with Heinrich Zeider’s analysis “A Letter from a German Madhouse”, describing German experience in providing psychological and psychiatric assistance to people.
The “History” section features Alexander Sidorov’s diverting analysis “Rostov – Odessa: A Criminal Couple Story”.
The first section, “Social Punishment”, opens with official penal statistics as of 1 April 2012. In the “Legal Training” column, Yuri Aleksandrov comments on the latest amendments to legislation regulating judicial, legal and penitentiary issues. That is followed by the story “Prison Sketches” by writer Vladimir Smirnov who found himself in jail without any guilt. The article “An Awful Law”by Lev Ponomaryov describes human rights defenders’ efforts to prevent the passing of a bill that proposes considering a prisoner’s hunger strike as a grave offence. Mikhail Burlyash follows with a story entitled “A Brief Visit”, and our regular contributor Alexander Khnykov – with brief and masterly“Pictures from a Penal Colony”. PRDF chronicles provide details about incidents within the penal system, followed by an anthology of foreign media reports about prison life in different countries. The story “A Phone Call” by Max Makhmag is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s novel “One Day of Ivan Denisovich”. Prisoner Dmitry Rykunov, in his article “Who Judges Us”, discusses the unfair judicial system in today’s Russia. Alexander Zimbovsky’s publication “The Torbeyev Case: Police Dislike Fires” gives details about a Left Front leader convicted on trumped-up charges. The section closes with a letter from the parents of minor delinquents humiliated in Aleksin juvenile colony.
The section “Sit and Read” features chapters from an autobiographical book by Maxim Gromov, a National Bolshevik courageously enduring a hard time in a prison’s isolation ward on a sentence passed in an unfair trial. That is followed by Alexei Mokrousov’s review of Yekaterina Matveyeva’s book “The Story of a Female Prisoner”, with an excerpt from the book. The section closes with excerpts from the books “People Die for Money” by Georgy Demidov and “Respite” by Primo Levi.
The “History” section features an anthology “Legendary Prisons” by Yuri Aleksandrov, describing some of the world’s best-known penal facilities.
The section “Behind the Wall” features a story by Alexander Avgust describing the author’s personal experience of staying in a psycho-isolation prison cell. In conclusion, the issue features three documents from the Civil Commission’s archives and a comment by Yuri Savenko on public organisations’ efforts to oppose “punitive” psychiatry practices.
The section “Behind the Wall” features Ivan Markelov’s notes “From Prison to Psychiatric Clinic” and stories by Alexander Avgust describing the author’s personal experience of staying in a psycho-isolation prison cell.
The section “Sit and Read” features masterly sketches “Life After Prison Camp” by Alexander Khnykov and a brilliant story entitled “Metamorphoses” by prisoner Eduard Mikhailov.
In the section “The Boundaries of Incomprehension”, N. Khananashvili cites cogent arguments in defence of juvenile justice – a fragile, actually non-existent, legal institution in Russia – against frenzied attacks by judiciary officials.
The section “Sit and Read” features the final part of prisoner Eduard Mikhailov’s autobiographic novel “The Chui Valley, or A Farewell to Childhood”, followed by A. Laptev’s review of A. Naumov’s book “A Special Zone for Has-Beens” and A. Mokrousov’s detailed review of Dmitry Churov’s book “Among Those Reported Missing” with an excerpt from the book.
The first section, “Social Punishment”, opens with official penitentiary statistics as of March 1, 2011. Yuri Alexandrov’s column “Legal Training” comments on the latest amendments to legislation regulating the judiciary, law enforcement and executive power. This is followed by the Council of Europe’s penitentiary statistics as of September 1, 2009. A story by Alec D. Epstein describes the case of Nikolai Avdyushenkov and highlights one of the most sensitive problems in cases where people are accused of extremist activity – the problem of incompetent expert opinions supplied to law courts.
Human Rights Committee head Andrei Babushkin describes the work of organisations administering public control over the police. Writer Vladimir Smirnov, currently serving a term of imprisonment, publishes his “Prison Sketches” – masterly descriptions of everyday life in a prison ward. These are followed by the FDPR chronicles about developments and incidents within the penitentiary system, and an anthology of foreign media reports about prison life in different countries of the world. The section closes with a collective complaint by inmates of Penal Colony No.1 in the Republic of Komi, reprinted from the Prisoners’ Union’s website.
The section “Behind the Wall” features Alexander Avgust’s story “The Speech Therapist” and data provided by the St. Petersburg Civil Commission on Human Rights about instances of psychiatric violence against prisoners.
The section “Sit and Read” opens with the first part of Eduard Mikhailov’s autobiographic novel “The Chui Valley, or A Farewell to Childhood”.
The section “Behind the Wall” features two stories by Alexander Avgust and an article by Ivan Markelov about psychiatric clinic routine.
In the “History” section, writer Sergey Stepanov publishes more of his Nizhny Novgorod chronicles.
Finally, the section “Sit and Read” features prisoner Eduard Mikhailov’s story “Snow and Coal” with a note by Vitaly Lozovsky about the author, and an except from Primo Levi’s book “The Drowned and the Saved” with a review of the book by Alexei Mokrousov.
The first section, “Social Punishment”, opens with official penitentiary statistics as of August 1, 2010. Yuri Alexandrov’s article “Legal Training” comments on the latest amendments to legislation regulating the judiciary, law enforcement and executive power. Igor Kholodyakov follows with a story based on the observations and reflections of a schoolteacher working in a correctional facility. An article by Boris Panteleyev gives an account of what is going on within the penitentiary system as seen by a human rights activist. Additional light on the matter is shed by a chronicle of events supplied by the FDPR. In conclusion, a collection of foreign media reports describes prison routine in different countries of the world.
A lecture by the world-renowned criminologist Nils Christie and an interview with him are to be found in the section “The Boundaries of Incomprehension”.
In the “History” section, writer Sergey Stepanov publishes more of his Nizhny Novgorod chronicles.
Finally, the section “Law and/or Justice” features three materials: a Public Verdict specialist’s comprehensive analysis of the draft Police Law; a review of the prison reform concept proposed by the government; and lawyer Leonid Golovko’s doubts as to the potential success of this reform launched by the FPS commanders.
The section “In the Name of Law” features Sergey Pashin’s story “Judicial Anarchy” about the collapse of judicial reform. It is followed by an excerpt from the report “Corrupt Practices in Court” prepared by the Russian Lawyers’ Association. Then comes Leonid Golovko’s article “Getting Lost Like a Babe in the Woods” analysing the reasons for the failure of judicial reform, and Ivan Fedotov’s account of one particular judicial case that has gone all the way to the Strasbourg court. Another case is summarised in Natalia Novozhilova’s story “The Frame-Up”. G. Pasko’s analysis states that the Supreme Court ranks 203rd in Russia in terms of judicial openness to the press. The section concludes with Alexander Zimbovsky’s feature “We Just Want Your House” supplying details regarding a specific case won in court by human rights defenders.
The section “The Limits of Misunderstanding” opens with Lyudmila Alpern’s article “Changing the Paradigm: From Struggle to Conciliation”, giving an insight into the system of “reparative” justice and modern criminal policies. An excerpt from a new book by the renowned criminologist Nils Christie explains to the reader the nature of hostile divisions among people.
Finally, the section “Freedom of the Individual” features a story by Kirill Podrabinek entitled “That Didn’t Happen, After All”, dedicated to the trial over prisoner of conscience Sergey Mokhnatkin, followed by an excerpt from the book “Enemies of the Nation Beyond the Arctic Circle” with a review by Alexei Mokrousov.
In conclusion, the third edition of Rossiyski Tyuremny Zhurnal [Russian Prison Journal] is announced.
The section “Russia: A Nationwide Pre-Trial Facility” features two brilliant short stories – “The Little Ring” by Alexander Mulenko and “Law and Chance” by Sergey Laryagin.
The “History” section features Sergei Stepanov’s historical chronicles “Slaves in Nizhny Novgorod and Elsewhere” describing prison habits and ways in old-time Russia.
The “Censorship” section opens with Alec Epstein and Oleg Vassilyev’s article “GosNarkoKontrol over Culture” highlighting the problem of excessive censorship powers delegated to the Drug Control Agency. It also features Alexander Podrabinek’s story “Freedom of Expression: An Eternal Enemy of Power” reprinted from Yezhednevny Zhurnal. The author points to increasingly strong pressure exerted on freedom-loving web bloggers. Vera Vassilyeva’s article “Taganka Justice System vs. Creative Freedom” describes the trial over Andrei Yerofeyev and Yuri Samodurov, the organizers of the exhibition “Forbidden Art 2006”. The same topic is discussed by Alexei Mokrousov in his essay “Kafka and Facts of Life”.
In conclusion, the third edition of Rossiyski Tyuremny Zhurnal [Russian Prison Journal] is announced.
Documentary Reds and Blacks by Dmitri Morachevski describes «interior» wars among inmates of Russian penal colonies. These conflicts are provoked by so-called activists who accept rewards and benefits from prison administration.
The issue continues with the monitor of the Foundation To Protect Inmates: situation in prisons, protest actions, record of human rights violations for the period of September through November, 2009.
Discussion of prison reform proposed by the new management of the Russian penitentiary system is covered in the section titled From the Lips of the Superiors. In this issue we have included materials of a theoretical and practical conference on the reform of penitentiary system, including a report by the new director of the Federal Penitentiary Service, Aleksandr Reimer.
In the literary section we present an abstract from a book by Eduard Kocherguin, an announcement of Igor Sutiaguin’s book Halfway to Siberia and a review by Aleksei Mokrousov of a book of memoirs of former inmates of Norilsk called On Time, Norilsk, and Ourselves...
Juridical Practicum by Yuri Aleksandrov explains recent regulatory changes in such areas as transportation under guard, probation, restriction of punishment for crimes against minors, etc.
Serguei Minins pamphlet Town-Garden sarcastically describes how police buy admissions of guilt from random suspects for crimes committed by somebody else.
In Beyond the Wall section, two short stories by Aleksandr Avgust are published under the common title of Crazy Life. Both stories are based on autobiographic material of this former patient of a psychiatric hospital.
The issue further presents two articles by Roman Chorny, president of Saint-Petersburg Civil Commission on Human Rights, The Chronicle of Violations of Human Rights in the Psychiatric System of the Russian Federation and Who Will Stop Injustice in the Yellow Houses of Saint-Petersburg? The articles draw on facts established by the Commission and reflect its efforts to defend Human Rights.
In History section, we publish Aleksei Mokrousovs review of Memoirs of a Former Infantryman and Prisoner of War by Yuri Apel and a short abstract from that book.
Next in item of the section is the Monitor of Protest Acts by Inmates, which has become a traditional element of each issue of the magazine. This time it covers protest acts by inmates in Russia between October and December 2008.
The “Sit Down and Read” section offers “The Barrack” - an essay commemorating Aleksander Solzhenitsyn by Oleg Pavlov, a well-known writer and recipient of the Booker award in literature.
The section also contains a critical review by Aleksey Mokrousov of Boris Grigoryev and Boris Kolokolov’s book “The everyday life of Russian gendarmes” printed by Molodaya Gvardiya Publishing House in 2007.
The “History” section presents “Citizen Pirates”, an article by Rostislav Gorchakov about little-known political processes that shook up the remote country of Siam in late 1930-s. Few researches outside that country are aware of the described events.
The last section, “Law and/or Justice” contains “Prior to the End of Term”, a legal publication by Yuri Aleksandrov examining all lawful options (other than review of judgment) for inmates to be released from prison before the end of their term.
Under the same heading of Punishment of Society we are also publishing new statistics of the penitentiary system, our traditional list of Protest Acts of Prisoners and the most recent criminal statistics.
Under our traditional heading The Boundaries of Misunderstanding we publish materials related to the theme of Human Rights and Prison: the Everlasting Hostility.
The publicist and Human Rights activist Gennadi Cherniavski in his article We Need Solidarity More Than Ever Before writes about the trials of Human Rihts activists L. Ponomarev and B.Panteleev to be held in the fall.
In his article The Non-official Reaction to “Official Response” our Ukranian author Vladimir Ajippo describes the complicated relations between Human Rights activists and the authorities in the Ukraine.
In the History section we are offering an article by Rostislav Gorchakov The Admiralty Option on how the British Department of Labor hired former inmates in 1941 to serve on commercial ships.
The last section of the issue we are presenting two short stories: Commentary on Hell by Oleg Pavlov and Zen Gratitude to the Dead by Andrei Rubanov.
This part of the issue we finish by the review of Aleksei Mokrousov on the book about Russian prisons for minor delinquents by Mary McAuly, the former head of Ford Foundation in Moscow.
In the next part Law and/or Justice we publish the text of A Project of a Law on colonies for minor delinquents and the text of the recently adopted law on the public control in prisons with comments and analytical articles (Yu. Aleksandrov, V. Lozovsky).
The part The boundaries of Misunderstanding is dedicated to a famous criminal case versus Yu. Samodurov, the head of Andrei Sakharov's Foundation and Museum because of the exposition in the Museum The Banned Art. We publish an abstract from the accusation and two independent expert materials by arts critic and philosopher E. Petrovskaya and philosopher O. Aronson.
The last part Books on Prison contains a pre-print of a new book of our author, famous writer Oleg Pavlov. Here we re-publish also the article by Serguei Pashin The Court and Prison Population.
The Human Rights Activist Evgueni Ihlov in the article Amur, the River of Blood describes in details about the events of January 2008 in the colony #5 in the region Amurski where 700 or 800 mates protesting against beating en masse by the staff cut veins.
Here we also publish a part of the Annual Report of the Commissinary on the Human Rights in Russian Federarion jn the Human Rights in the places of confinement; statistics of the penitentiary system; statistics on the criminality; Monitor of the protest actions of prisoners which became traditional element of our issues; and an informational material on the prison industry in US.
In the part The Writers on the Rrison we publish a story by Oleg Pavlov about the life of the soldiers of custody in colonies. Two stories by Aleksandr Mulenko are also dedicated to the routine life of prison.
In the part Behind the bars we give abstracts from a book Help yourself where the normative acts for suspected, convict and accused person are collected by the Saint-Petersbourg branch of the Human Rights organization Committee for the Civil Rights.
In the same part we publish the material of the Human Rights activist Boris Panteleev Penitentiary Department and Human Right Activists where he analyses the relations between penitantiary system and Human Rights activists who are engaged in prison problems.
In the issue we publish also notices of the new web-sites and books on the main themes of the magazine.
In this part we published also the actual material by Valeri Abramkin on the situation in the colony for juvenile delinquents (near S. Petersburg)
In the following part From official lips we give the floor to Yuri Aleksandrov who expresses the opinion of the penitentiary service on the work of “the sections of discipline and order”.
The materials of the part Behind the Wall are dedicated to the situation of children in children’s homes.
Marina Ternovskaya, the well-known director of the children’s home # 19 The Centre of the patronage education, speaks on her own experience of the work and the practice of patronage education that is under the threat because of the new Russian laws.
In the last part Histories are published the literary and publicist texts:
a short novel by Oleg Pavlov What a Flavor!, a short novel by Aleksandr Mulenko The Short-termed visit and an essay by the philologist Aleksandr Sidorov on a well-known song popular in the criminal culture.
In the issue we publish information on new books on our themes.
As in the last issue we publish the monitor of protest actions in Russian penitentiary system last months.
The Director of the Centre for the reform of criminal justice comments the disorders in the famous prison in S.-Petersburg Kresty and analyzes the causes of today riots in Russian colonies.
In small fiction pieces by Aleksandr Mulenko The rut and Great steppe authors vivdly describe the life conditions of today Russian prisoners.
The second part of the magazine Beyond the wall consists of the materials on the problem of taday psychiatric repressions in today Russia. In particular, here is covered the recent much-talked of case of the Human Rights activist Larisa Arap from Murmansk (materials by Yuri Savenko, Elena Basilieva and Albina Skripnik).
In two materials by Maksim Prytkov in the following part of the magazine Here I stand the experience of the Human Rights control in prisons and investigation of the cases on the violence of Human Rights by law-enforcing bodies.
In the part History we publish interesting memoirs of Serguei Hodorovich, the head of Solzhenitsyn Foundation for help to prisoners in the past, about the volonteers of this Foundation.
The last part Post mortem is dedicated to the 80 anniversary of prison poet Valentin Sokolov.
The main theme of the issue - "Nobody's kids" - is dedicated to the problems of the sick children on the charge of the state. It is harmful to read these texts, the readers can't change the situation, but all have to know it. The article by Aleksanr Melihov shows the grievious situation of children in psyconeurologic closed institutions. The article "The normal men make the normal money" by Nina Glazkova tells us about lives of the children who are on the charge of the child psychiatry in S.-Petersbourg in so called Centres of rehabilitative medicine. We publish also the appeal of Civil commission for rights of the interns of the in the cildren's home # 47 (one of the best in S.-Petersbourg) which the authorities are going to close. Ruben Gallego who have a personal experience of living in Russian children's homes presents an essay on relation of the society to the "excluded".
Under the heading "Defenders" we publish materials on the work of some Human Rights organizations for the rights of prisoners. Andrei Babushkin (Committee for the Civil Rights) tells on the successes and dificulties in visiting prisons. In the material by Alexandr Konstantinov (Cheliabinsk) one can read on the regional fund "The helping hand" which defends the persons who are victims of the State because of the convictions including, on its educative activity and defence of the human Rights of the prisoners. We publish also an abstract from the book of the head of the organization Nikolai Schur. The president of the organization "Man and Law" writes on the experience of this organization in cooperation with Federal Penitentiary Service in the republic of Marii El.
Also we publish a vivd picture of the behavior of road milicia by A. Mulenko. A. Sidorov describes the morals and manners of the prison communities.
The reader can find also the information on the new book edited by the Human Rights Centre "Memorial" "Application to the European Court on Human Rights".
The following material is abstracts from European Penitentiary Regulations for strengthen the previous article.
The articles of Aleksandr Konstatinov "The Complaint of Supervision -- a Serious Thing" and "The Special Order of Court Examination" are materials for prisoners and "simple" men where the authors explains terms, competence of courts of various levels, the rules of complaints and court examination and gives clear and useful juridical advices.
The statistical materials of the issue: The Criminal Situation in Russia in 2006 (data of Home Ministry), here are the number of crimes, the types of crimes, social position of criminals in comparison with 2005 (tables and diagrams); The Brief Characteristic of Penitentiary System in Russia (qualifying date 2007/01/01) (data of Federal Penitentiary Service), here the number of prisoners and penitentiary workers, number of institutions, categories of prisoners and so on.
Olga Afanasieva in her material "Prison in Fashion" analyzes the cultural phenomenon of modern Russia where the prison slang, prison theme enter the everyday life, language of advertising and even public politicians. The interest for the theme embrace all strata of population. The possible reasons of this fashion are the subject of attention of the author.
As a useful information we publish The Regulations of Inner Order in Colonies for Minor Criminals 2006.
This document is briefly commented in the material "New Regulations for Colonies" by Vitalii Poloziuk, the Director of Department of social, psychological and educative work of Fedraral Penitentiary System.
In the second block we publish the essay by Boris Panteleev based on the personal prison experience "Games of Memory, or Paradoxes of the education". Somehow his thoughts correlate with the first article of the issue by S. Markelov, because the central place of the essay is the problem of preserving human dignity of prisoners.
In the following material by a member of Public Chamber Oleg Zykov "It's Necessary to be More Clever and Artful than Executive Superiors" the author tells about his personal efforts to mobilize inner resources of the penitentiary workers in reforming the system of colonies for minor prisoners and their possibility to influence the executive power which is not co-operative with NGOs. Now he succeeded to organize the Association of colonies for minor criminals where the functionaries cooperate with Human Rights activists. The problems and difficulties of such cooperation is the focus of the material.
The third block consists of historical materials. Some time ago in Moscow was organized an exhibition "Presents for leaders". It is described by well-known journalist Aleksei Mokrousov, mentioning the gifts to Soviet leaders given by leaders of other countries and simple people. The ideology of such phenomenon is analyzed in the article.
The article by Aleksandr Sidorov, researcher of the prison culture, "The police novel of the locomotive", is dedicated to a very interesting story of one song which many of Russians know as folk-lore song. The analysis of its authorship may be read as a detective story.
The last material of the block by Rostislav Gorchakov "The ballad of Red Jack" is a serious research based on documents of the relation of the population to the workers of law-enforcing bodies in 1930--1950 with many concrete details of everyday life chiefly in Siberia where the most part of GULAG camps were concentrated.
The fourth block is a material in memoriam of recently deceased Human Rights activist Andrei Borisov. Here we publish an obituary and an abstract of his text "Could All be Unuseful Afresh?" where he compares modern Russian prison with its analogue of the 19th century basing on the memoirs of prisoners.
Yakov Gilinski, an eminent criminologist and sociologist, basing on sociological polls, states in his articles "Sociology on Tortures in Russia" that tortures are widely spread in Russian law-enforcing bodies.
The main block is dedicated to the International Conference "Prison Question: Research as an Instrument of Struggle (Russia and France, 1970ies - 2000s)". The reports (brief versions) of almost all participants are published in the issue. The first report by A. Bikbov, sociologist, introducing the conference and basing on the history of the struggle of Soviet dissident and French Group of Prison Information headed by M. Foucault, considers the struggle against penitentiary systems as an instrument of cognition. A French participant Daniel Defer tells the history of movement against the penitentiary system in France in 1970--1972. Filipp Artier (France) gives the history of the Group of Prison Information in details and bewails degeneration of its ideas. A. Roginski ("Memorial") puts in doubt even the possibility of comparison of French and Soviet history of the period. L. Alpern shares her personal experience of work as Human Rights activist in prison and her researches in Western penitentiary system. L. Alekseeva (Moscow Helsinki Group) speaks on the history of Soviet dissident movement the main claim of which was the claim to the authorities "to observe their own laws", and consider the fact that in today Russia there are political prisoners as a shame. I. Cohen (France) tells about the evolution of views of French "gauchists" during their struggle for the Right of prisoners. The report of Naum Nim (Editor in-Chief of "Index/Dossier na Tsenzuru" and "Nevolia") is dedicated to the influence of the prison, of the model of the behavior in prison on the society and the general atmosphere in the country. A. Cherkasov ("Memorial") gives detail of work of Human Rights activists in Chechnya before 2000. A. Smirnov states that today Human Rights movement in Russia is not consolidated. S. Markelov (advocate) speaks on the new quality of the political prisoners in today Russia. N. Zviagina (Saint-Petersburg, Legal Team) tells on the new technologies in organization of civil activities. O. Dzera speaks on difficulties of direct contact with prisons for Human Rights activists, about her experience of organization of committees of assistance to prisoners.
The last material of the block is not a report on the conference but an essay by V. Bushnev, O. Juravlev, E. Moskovkina, N. Savelieva (students and magistrants) on the difference in sociological approaches in France (1970ies) and in today Russia practice of monitoring.
In the block "Stories" we publish a literary work by A. Mulenko "The Myocardial Infarction" and a documental story by R. Gorchakov "From Convoy - into Custody" on a real destiny of American sailors in Soviet GULAG.
The last block is a material by an officer of penitentiary system A. Skalauh who analyses the existing principles of work with prisoners, their contradictions and effectiveness in approaching the main aim - adaptation of prisoners to the normal life in the society.
The teacher of literature in a school in the colony for minor criminals, I. Holodiakov tells about real life of teenagers in colonies, about poor perspectives that expect them in freedom, about their need to have somebody adult and understanding for discuss real problems.
Olga Afanasieva in the article "Back Behind the Mirror" speaks on the problems which meet former prisoners in "normal" life. Their difficulties are explained mainly by absence of system of social adaptation and rehabilitation.
A. Konstantinov explains for readers what is "electronic bracelet" and why it may be useful for the humanization of penitentiary system. Another material of the same author "Know-how of Judges in Lipezk" is dedicated to the wholesome effect of European convention on the practice in some courts.
A. Livchak in the material "How did they investigate the Case of S. Loboda" shows a picture of full arbitrariness of penitentiary officers towards prisoners and their impunity.
The main block on the death penalty is opened by translation of a discussion of Michel Foucault, Jean Laplanche and Robert Badanter "Death Penalty: Criminal Personality or Dangerous System?", published in "Nouvel Observateur" in 1977, which did not lost the actuality for our country. The circumstances under which discussion was gone and the history of question in France are described by the translator of the material A. Bikbov.
A paradox point of view is expressed by I. Shevelev in the essay "Diversity of the Death World".
Not less paradox expresses V. Lozovskiin the essay "Maturity" where he proposes that the criminal himself should choose between death penalty and imprisonment for life.
A. Dobrovolskaya in the short material "Do not Kill!" speaks about impossibility of death penalty because it influence on the society in whole.
A. Konstantinov in the article "Some Problems of Imprisonment for Life in Russia" consider the real conditions of this category of prisoners since 1996: since this date the death penalty is not executed in Russia though it is not abolished yet.
V. Muhina considers the psychological characteristics of imprisoned for life in the article "Metamorphoses of Personality in Imprisonment for Life".
A. Savchenko publishes abstracts from letters of imprisoned for life under the title "Pardoned for eternal Imprisonment", citing one of the letters.
The block "History" contains an article by A. Sidorov "Prison Folk-lore of Belomorkanal", R. Gorchakov tells the story from annals of GULAG in Polar North, and A. Tarasov considers the history of psychiatry as a tool of oppression of political opponents since 1930ies till nowadays.