Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed Alexander Kalashnikov from the post of director of the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) of the Russian Federation. Putin’s decree was published on Thursday, November 25, by the Kremlin press service. Arkady Gostev, who served as Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, was appointed the new head of the FSIN.
An informed source told Interfax that the main reason for Kalashnikov’s resignation was “incidents of torture in colonies and pre-trial detention centers in the Saratov region and other regions, which received a wide public response.”
Archive of torture in colonies
In early October, the founder of the human rights project Gulagu.net, Vladimir Osechkin, said that the organization received and removed from Russia several dozen gigabytes of videos, photographs and other documents that confirm the systemic nature of torture in Russian colonies and pre-trial detention centers in Irkutsk, Vladimir and Saratov regions. This information was provided to human rights defenders by the programmer Sergei Savelyev, who was serving time in one of the colonies and was engaged in the maintenance of video recorders and surveillance cameras there.
The publication of Gulagu.net caused a wide response in Russia. Communists in the State Duma called for a parliamentary investigation of torture in Russian colonies. Nevertheless, the State Duma did not support this initiative because of the position of the deputies from the ruling United Russia party.
The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation announced the initiation of criminal cases against employees of the Federal Penitentiary Service on the facts of sexual violence and abuse of office with the use of violence. In total, according to the Prosecutor General’s Office, on the facts of the use of violence in places of deprivation of liberty, which took place in the institutions of the Federal Penitentiary Service in the Khabarovsk Territory, Belgorod Region, Irkutsk, Saratov regions, more than 35 criminal cases are being investigated.