The harshness of Russian prisons in the spotlight these days due to the harsh conditions in which the opponent Aleksej Navalny was detained, locked up in the notorious penal colony Ik-2 and probably suffering from tuberculosis. In a cell further away from the international spotlight, however, is dying with very similar symptoms the 24 year old Lada Malova, almost unknown outside Russia but famous in his homeland for having documented his life as a teenager between drugs and glamor on social networks. In prison – in the Tosnensky women’s penitentiary, not far from St. Petersburg, where halfway through the sentence he has to serve, 7 years and 10 months – he contracted various severe lung diseases and risk of dying. The mother asks that she be released to cure her; but a quarrel with a prison guard, the NGO lawyer following his case reports, has thwarted this hope.
The career as an influencer on Dvach
It all started in 2015. Lada and her boyfriend of the time (now gone) are arrested on suspicion of producing and selling amphetamines. She, then 19, had been a kind of star of 2ch.ru for three years, known as Dvach, a web channel of videos and anonymous content that is still the most popular forum in Russia: her videos documented and practically reviewed her experiences with various drugs: marijuana (a lot) but also pills, coke, large doses of spirits. At home or on premises in Moscow and St. Petersburg: he was always traveling. With her a friend, Alexander, who allegedly died in 2016 of a methadone overdose.
So the police framed Lada
One afternoon an acquaintance named Yura calls her. He insists very much – “he called me seventy times, he seemed crazy” – that she sell him two ounces of amphetamines. She doesn’t have them. The barrage of calls, always in the tens a day, lasts two months. Yura quickly switches to threats. These pills, he says, he needs for a friend named Edik. “Edik” is actually an undercover narcotics agent; at the trial Yura will never even be questioned. To frame Lada, on the day of the purchase, “Edik” (on vacation) sends a colleague, who introduces herself as his girlfriend; Lada gives her a sachet full of cosmetic powders, taken from the drawers of her mother who works in an eyeshadow factory in Moscow. The two counts with which she was arrested contradict each other: drug dealing (which were however face powder) and attempted fraud. In her testimony at the trial she says she never produced drugs, and gave these powders to the fake customer because she was terrified of hundreds of phone calls. The judge does not take pity, and Lada Malova ends up in prison.
At the Tosnensky penitentiary she soon becomes a model inmate, so much so that state television shoots her in a documentary on the rehabilitation of inmates while making little toy owls. Her mother Lyudmila has nothing but one of these owls, given to her by her daughter: Lada cannot receive visitors.. Last May, in phone calls to her mother, she began to complain of very short breath, chronic fatigue. A serological test shows that in prison he contracted – and passed – Covid, but his lungs show symptoms of various other diseases: tuberculosis, pulmonary fibrosis, and a pulmonary sarcoidosis that is now in the third stage. Her epilepsy, which she has always suffered from, has worsened, and she has schizophrenic symptoms. After the diagnosis, in July, the mother asked that she be hospitalized; but Lada Malova was sent back to her cell, and has deteriorated dramatically since then.
The appeals: free her
Forced to do morning exercises by the guards, without even having the strength to make her bed, she reports her lawyer Alexei Pryanashnikov to the Russian website Meduza.io, also explaining that sarcoidosis, the only disease she has been diagnosed with so far, is not covered. among those that the legal system deems sufficient to leave prison. Therefore Malova remains in the cell: the final decision for the release of a patient, even a terminally ill patient, rests with the judge; and the celebrity Malova enjoyed as a teenager for her glamorous high and nightlife videos always plays against her. Meanwhile, the steroid drug treatment for sarcoidosis has caused tuberculosis, explains his lawyer; in the letters to her friends, Malova writes about incoming biopsies and about an imminent transfer to a Karelian prison (instead she was transferred to Mordovia, and her mother only learned about it on March 14th, a week later). His symptoms are similar to those complained by Alexei Navalny, for whom tuberculosis has been hypothesized; the fate of the two prisoners is an unknown that the world is watching.
April 7, 2021 (change April 7, 2021 | 15:41)