Support The Moscow Times!

Local Politicians Want Russia’s Prisoners Out of Siberia

Ilya Naymushin / Reuters

Siberian officials are petitioning the Kremlin to halt the transfer of the Russia’s criminals to the remote region, the tayga.info news site reported Tuesday.

Politicians in Siberia claim that prisoners who resettle in the area after serving their jail terms are boosting crime rates and lowering life expectancy.

Deputies from the Irkutsk regional parliament are now appealing to Russia’s Federal Assembly to introduce regulations that would see criminals serve out their prison sentences in the region where they were convicted.

"Tens of thousands of prisoners, including those who have committed serious and heinous crimes remain living in the Irkutsk region after their release,” politicians from Russia’s Civic Platform said in a statement to the Irkutsk parliament. “Given high reoffending rates, this leaves us with high crime rates.”


Read more from The Moscow Times: Crime, punishment and more punishment in Russia's struggling prison system

Officials claim that prisoners who are released – particularly those with addiction problems – were affecting the health of local people, tayga.info reported.

The Irkutsk region has Russia’s second highest rate of HIV and the fifth highest of tuberculosis related deaths.

“Why should Moscow or St. Petersburg live better at the expense of the Irkutsk Region?" officials wrote in their statement.

Other critics of the system have previously complained that the vast distances prisoners are sent within the penal system makes it difficult for relatives and activists to visit inmates.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.