Staunton, July 22 – Beginning in January, the Russian government will establish branches of corrective labor facilities near Russian companies that want to employ them, an arrangement that will address some labor shortages and give businesses involved an additional reason to support the repressive policies of the Putin regime.
The Duma has passed and Putin has signed amendments to the corrective labor code that will expand existing programs in which roughly 10,000 prisoners are working for Russian companies. It is assumed, Rossiiskaya gazeta reports, that the new branch prisons will be attached to major corporations (rg.ru/2019/07/21/pri-krupnyh-predpriiatiiah-otkroiutsia-filialy-kolonij.html).
The prisoners will be paid, although at what fraction of the wages of free workers is not clear, and conditions in these branch prisons will be better than in order prisons and camps. But legal specialists and prisoner rights activists are concerned about this integration of the prison system and the corporate world.
Somewhat defensive about how this program may appear, its advocates insist “prisoners have always worked” to pay for their keep and this is nothing new, that the US does it and so it is not wrong for Russia to do it as well, and that Russia needs more new workers than are coming of age and that in this way, prisoners too can make a contribution to the growth of the economy (iarex.ru/news/68030.html, t.me/glavmedia/1102, and ehorussia.com/new/node/18935).