Support The Moscow Times!

Mordovia Inmates Used as Unpaid Laborers for Billionaire

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova Igor Tabakov

Inmates of the Mordovia penal colony number 14, where hunger-striking Pussy Riot activist Nadezhda Tolokonnikova is serving her sentence, are in fact the unpaid employees of a company owned by former State Duma deputy member and billionaire Vladimir Golovnyov, Izvestia reported Thursday.

Three major producers of uniforms and work garments — Golovnyov's Vostok-Servis, Magellan, and Tekhnoavia- reportedly employ the colony's services. The colony's production earned over 70 million rubles ($2 million) in 2012, Izvestia said.

The Federal Prison Service insists that the conditions in the colony meet the demands of the federal Labor Code and that the clothing produced there is intended for internal use only.

In an open letter published earlier this week, Tolokonnikova described the work conditions in the colony as inhuman. Prisoners endure 16 to 17-hour work days, broken-down equipment, lack of training, and production quotas both massive and arbitrary, the activist said.

She also said that she earned 29 rubles (less than $1) for a full month of her labor.

Tolokonnikova could be moved to a hospital following complaints about her health, a member of the presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights said Thursday, Itar-Tass reported.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more