Head of the Moscow Department of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia had to retire due to prostitutes in the Matrosskaya Tishina prison
The Moskovsky Komsomolets obtained facts behind staffing changes in the prison department of Moscow.
Shortly before the May holidays, the President relieved Igor Klimenov, a major-general of the Ministry of Interior Affairs (MIA), Head of the Moscow Department of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia (FPS), of his duties by a decree. Contrary to the rumors, the general didn’t receive a promotion, but instead was quietly pensioned off. He was the ‘chief jail-keeper’ of Moscow for less than a year. And a day before (what a coincidence!) the FPS authorities reprimanded Klimenov for poor control over his prison domain. What was the reason? Complaints from inmates on extortion in the Pretrial Detention Center, psychological and physical pressure. The inmates – you won’t believe! – even claimed that they were offered prostitutes services for 25 thousand rubles. It was also unclear whether they believed it’s immoral or just too expensive…
To remind the background: a year ago there were scandalous arrests in the Matrosskaya Tishina ('Seamen’s Silence') Prison.
An unpleasant, to put it mildly, scheme has been uncovered: some operatives were making deals with criminal lords to extort money from ‘sweet buns’ (this is how inmates call businessmen). The detained Matrosskaya Tishina officers are now in a pretrial detention facility themselves. One would think that this story should become a lesson for all pretrial detention centers. But it did not. The number of extortion complaints from inmates of various Moscow pretrial detention facilities hasn’t reduced. Most surprisingly, such complaints again come from the Matrosskaya Tishina! The inmates report that some operative shamelessly tells them how much would it cost to get good living conditions behind the bars. The prices varied depending on the inmate’s status and could reach as much as million rubles. If a person did not want to pay, the operative would put him into a cell with aggressive tattooed guys who had nothing to lose. They successfully ‘convinced’ him to dip into his pocket.
The problem was that relatives of inmates (who transferred funds to various accounts provided by the criminals) refused to file complaints.
“My brother is under their thumb while he is in this detention facility,” – Natalia M., sister of an inmate, says. - “If we complain officially, they will destroy him. He already cries every time when he is calling us (they give him a cell phone). He says they threaten to gang rape him if he does not pay”.
Surprisingly, but the situation has been resolved thanks largely to a notorious street racer Eric Kituashvili, arrested on February 22, 2016. His lawyer said that ‘Davidich’ (popular blogger’s nickname) suffers from extortion and indignity behind bars, he sits with people who have tuberculosis and AIDS, etc. After intervention of human rights advocates, Eric was transferred to another cell.
“When we entered the cell, he was so despondent that we scared for his life,” – Maksim Peshkov, Deputy Chair of Moscow Public Watchdog Committee says.” – His new cellmates told us that they are also concerned that he might commit suicide. Eric refuses to tell what happened in the previous cell. He says: “Let’s accept that I never were here”.
Recently Kituashvili has been transferred to a federal-level pretrial detention center, and there he agreed to tell us his story.
“A superior operative named Maksim put me into cell #312 for 14 days. Maksim demanded half-million for him personally and half-million allegedly for his superiors. Because I did not pay, I was receiving ‘greetings’ from him, for examples, they spat into my food. Inside the cell, they deceived me into paying money for various ‘thieves’ contributions. The boss was ‘warden’ Lesha Izmailovsky. There were 12 people in the cell: 6 of them played good guys, while the six others played bad guys. Some compliment you, while the others kick you. They were playing ‘games’ with me all the time – to exacerbate my mind. There were 12 phones in the cell. The rule was: you pay for ‘feet’ (to the officer who brings the phone) and for the phone itself, depending on the model. I never used criminal cellmates’ cell phones in principle, and made only 2 calls during all this time: to my sick mother and grandmother. They offered me to buy a prostitute for 25 thousand rubles. They said that I will be taken to her to a separate cell for the night and at 5 am will be returned back. At some moment, these quasi-authorities took a photo with me, despite my objections, and placed it on social networks. Apparently, superiors in the FPS have heard of this and searched our cell. As a result – you won’t believe! – they seized only the phone on which the picture had been taken, and ignored other phones!
It turned out that some Matrosskaya Tishina officers were under surveillance of the FPS operatives for some time already. Then thorough checks started.
“Many things that Eric Kituashvili told are confirmed,” - the FPS representatives comment. A federal law forbidding to put career criminals and first-time inmates who committed a moderate or major crime into the same cell has been violated in the Matrosskaya Tishina. For example, there was a person sentenced for murder in cell #312. With regards to Aleksey Izmailovsky, this is a high-class con artist, who has a special talent in the criminal society, and who indeed used to be a warden in one of the facility’s wards. The check resulted in seizure of large amounts of SIM cards and cell phones, other violations have been discovered in other cells.
But the most difficult and time-consuming task for the FPS operatives were prostitutes. Searching for them, to be precise. There even was a version that women from the Matrosskaya Tishina hospital were brought to male inmates. All video surveillance cameras at entrances and exists have been checked but nothing was found. Finally, the investigators concluded that the ‘warden’ and his gang simply made up a story of call girls to manipulate jailed businessmen. They pretended to rule the Matrosskaya Tishina and be able to get anything, so it’s better to pay them.
“We broke the extortion scheme, and submitted materials on officers involved into it to the Investigative Committee,” – Valery Maksimenko, Deputy Directior of the FPS of Russia, says. – “Head of the Matrosskaya Tishina and his deputy got a serious reprimand, the head of the operative unit notified of incomplete service compliance. Zavesov, Deputy Head of the Department of the FPS, received a warning, while Klimenov, Head of the Department of the FPS, was notified of poor control. Overall, Zavesov and Klimenov are men of principle, they initiated themselves criminal cases against some officers suspected in wrongdoing. Still, they failed to bring order to the detention centers”.
The main output of this story, as we know, was the termination of Klimenov.
The prosecutors want the former Russian Federation Council member to go to prison for 14 years instead of 9 and pay a 500-million-ruble ($8.8 million) fine instead of 70 million rubles ($1.2 million).