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'Christ Is Risen, Life is for Thieves': Russian Prisoners' Easter Celebration Sparks Scandal

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Leaked footage of Russian prisoners chanting criminal underworld slang during their Easter celebrations has sparked scandal in a prison system already under national scrutiny.

Russia's Federal Prison Service (FSIN) has been rocked by scandal in the past year as footage of guards violently beating inmates has leaked. Last fall, FSIN launched a probe into lax enforcement of prison rules after photographs surfaced of a convicted criminal gang member eating crabs and caviar inside a penal colony.

Two videos published last week showed inmates enjoying food and drinks at a prison yard in the town of Livny 450 kilometers south of Moscow. Prisoners can be heard chanting “'Christ is risen, life is for thieves” with no guards in sight at the maximum-security penal colony.

FSIN has dispatched an investigative commission and prosecutors have launched a probe into the leak, Interfax reported over the weekend.

The head of Livny’s Penal Colony No. 2 and his deputy will be dismissed following the videos' publication, FSIN deputy head Valery Maximenko told the Govorit Moskva radio station. He noted that Easter celebrations are legal in Russian prisons as long they are supervised.

“The employees’ inaction is evident. They’re not in control of what’s happening there. It’s an appalling violation, simply a disgrace,” Maximenko was quoted as saying.

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