Lucrative business on prisoners' lunch
The Management of a Mordovian penal colony arranged a mimic of cafes and restaurants for prisoners: if you do not want to eat thin broth – pay for pilaf and grilled chicken.
In any place where a limited group of people is forced to stay isolated from the outside world for a long time, speculators appear. This can be in the army, hospital institution or prison. It is easier to speculate on the most important human desire – desire to eat well. Apparently, IK-11 (penal colony) management from the Republic of Mordovia perfectly absorbed this simple truth.
Novaya Gazeta was able to collect evidence confirming that wheeler-dealers conduct trade of food in the colony with an acclamatory consent of the administration. Prisoners claim that canteen gruel is impossible to eat, and you can hardly call mashed potatoes for dinner (the only dish for dinner, it is worth noting!) good nutrition. So if you want to eat – look for money.
Everything is arranged pretty simple here. Victor Chetyrev, former head of a number of other Mordovian IKs, takes the post of interim chief of the colony, where the chaos is going on. By the way, under Chetyrev IK-5 worked, which anti-corruption and torture site Gulagu.net called Gehenna. Now, according to the testimony of prisoner Pavel Ferganov (the names of prisoners are changed for security reasons), new owner of IK-11 Chetyrev divided sphere of influence in the camp between him and his deputy for security and operational work (BOR) Ivan Chapayev. Thus, the boss deals with production in the colony, and Chapayev – with the residential zone. He also oversees food business appointing supply managers and speculators.
"He has a favorite saying: "Which rights? – It is Mordva!" – Pavel Ferganov said.
The convict claims that it is speculators who set food prices.
"Pasta with a tiny cutlet and a ladle of pasta with sauce – 120 rubles ($2). Simple fancy bread – 35 ($0.6), potato bun – 40 ($0.68). Grilled chicken – 600 ($10.2). A helping of pilaf – 220 rubles ($3.73)", – says Ferganov.
Mordovian pilaf with chicken at $3.7
Besides, it is prisoners themselves who prepare food. For instance, Tajik Gulov cooks pilaf, and he is paid with a dish of pilaf he cooked himself.
Another prisoner, Ivan Sadovnikov, assures that one can order even a cake from profiteers. One-kilogram-and-a-half treat will cost one thousand rubles ($16.96).
Ferganov adds that there is also a smack of subscription. A thousand rubles ($16.96) a month can buy a prisoner good dinner different from other food (of course, not grilled chicken, but still). Two thousand rubles ($33.93) a month can buy products of good quality both for dinner and lunch.
It is not necessary to know the basics of higher mathematics and strength of materials to calculate the income of administration and dealers. There are 6 detachments in the camp, the smallest of them has about 140 people, and the largest – about 700. Even if we assume that half of them buy a subscription or pamper themselves with chicken pilaf or fancy bread once a month, the amount of money is impressive.
Prisoner Ferganov, for example, calculated 9-10 million rubles ($152-169 thousand) a month. According to prisoners, the money is distributed among the participants of the turnover by the colony administration.
Special attention should be paid to delivery of products to the territory of the camp. Products get here including through parcels.
Every prisoner in the colony has a limit – he can get a 20-kg parcel once in three months. However, dealers have ways to bring 100 kg to the camp. A speculator finds a convict, to whom relatives do not pass anything, and he buys his limit for 500 rubles ($8.4). Then a new link appears in the scheme – some Yura-taxi driver who being outside of prison buys food and prepares a parcel in the convict's name.
According to the testimony of Yura-taxi driver, he goes to the colony twice a week. The camp will sell products at overrated prices. Russian cheese costs 660 rubles ($11.2) per kilogram, a dozen of raw eggs – 180 rubles ($3), 90 grams of coffee – 400 rubles ($6.7). Due to the barbed wire convicts transfer money for food either through QIWI wallet or to mobile phone. If a prisoner takes food in debt and does not pay the money in time, he is confined in solitary with a helping hand of the prison employees.
Screenshots of money transfers to speculators
According to prisoners, the administration manages to cheat when renovating the living area. Prisoner Vyacheslav Pronkin assures that they have to do renovation with their own money.
"I brought many different things – tile, cement, paint and varnish and even water-based paint. You transfer money to friends, and they come to the storehouse, pick up what is necessary, load the car and bring to the colony. For which sum did I bring materials? For 50 thousand ($848) and more. I brought them many times. In some detachments prisoners themselves made an improved repair. One prisoner has kept all receipts. He was promised parole, but was not released because he sued the owner with these receipts. That was three years ago. And what is the point? He did not win this process, everything slowed down there, and nothing was returned to him", – Pronkin said.
Ivan Sadovnikov echoes him.
"Convicts repair barracks for their money. Sometimes relatives transferred money. Does the administration spend money on repair of the barracks? I have not heard about this. The cons buy materials themselves. They bring everything – cement, construction mixes – themselves. They use GAZ-53. Money is transferred through QIWI wallet to the person who works in the prison on this GAZ-53. We do not ask how they register building materials the colony buy for the money of cons", – says the prisoner.
But this is not all the administration does. Prisoners’ salaries are also related to schemes. In the production area there are sewing workshop and the sawmill where convicts work. Vyacheslav Pronkin complains that many prisoners do not get a penny for their work.
"It is good if someone gets 300 rubles ($5) a month. A thousand ($17) is only for those who agree with the craftsman or if he is a good, valuable specialist. Why do prisoners get so little money? There are two account books. By accounting for checks each convict who goes to work should have the minimum wage. And no one ever sought it there. People from the workshop and sawmill demanded to be paid more money. But it is useless. Because they starting to put pressure with the regime, put you in solitary, frighten. And so on, all this is to discourage others", – shared Pronkin.
Evidently, according to the prisoners, the money remains in the pockets of the colony administration. We can only hope that regulatory authorities will pay attention to IK-11 in the near future.