Home » News » A Pussy Riot member weighs in on potential punishment for Brittney Griner in Russian penal colony

A Pussy Riot member weighs in on potential punishment for Brittney Griner in Russian penal colony

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A Pussy Riot member weighs in on potential punishment for Brittney Griner in Russian penal colony-GadgetAny
Brittney Griner

Brittney Griner, an American basketball player presently serving a nine-year sentence for drug smuggling, is en route to a Russian penitentiary camp, according to her attorneys, who made the announcement this week.

Unknown is exactly which prison. Griner’s present location is also neither. According to Griner’s legal team, prisoner transfers frequently take several weeks, and only then are Russian authorities compelled to disclose a convict’s whereabouts.

According to statistics from 2022, there are currently up to 500,000 Russians behind bars, the most on the entire continent of Europe.

However, those who have worked in the system claim that Griner may anticipate a different kind of experience than what most Americans currently think of as the criminal justice system.

“If jail is possible to imagine, then a penal colony, you can only imagine reading dissidents’ books,” says Maria Alyokhina, who spent nearly two years in a colony following a protest performance in a Moscow church as a member of the renowned feminist punk collective Pussy Riot.

Reading Soviet authors like Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who vividly depicted the grim brutality of the Soviet labor camps in his book The Gulag Archipelago, is advised by Alyokhina.

Brittney Griner
Image: Getty

There is also Alyokhina’s own memoir, Riot Days, which chronicles her time spent in a Ural Mountain prison colony and is currently being performed live on stage.

“Of course, it has a bit better conditions than [the] original gulag system from the 1950s,” says Alyokhina, reached by NPR on tour in the United Kingdom. “But the sense is the same. It is a labor camp.”

Griner can anticipate living in “the zone,” a set of barracks with 80 to 100 women sleeping to a room and few, if any, amenities, according to Aloykhina. Most Americans envision prison cells with bars.

“For 100 women, there are like three toilets and no hot water,” says Alyokhina. Bathing is a once-a-week occurrence.

Most importantly, she says, in Russian prison colonies, all prisoners must perform forced labor.

“This is a really terrible institution which we received from [the] Soviet Union and it’s totally inhuman. The cynical thing is, the work the state provides to the prisoners is sewing uniforms for Russian police and the Russian army,” she says.

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Awanish Kumar

By Awanish Kumar

I keep abreast of the latest technological developments to bring you unfiltered information about gadgets.

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