Staunton, Oct. 13 – This year, Russia’s Federal Penal Service, an institution never known for its openess radically cut back the amount of data it released in its monthly and annual reports, eliminating some categories of reporting altogether and seriously reducing the amount of detail in the rest, according to Boris Gi.
But the Russian researcher and blogger says that it is still possible to find out a great deal about Russia’s prisons from three sources that the Penal Service’s own people provide the information for (tochno.st/materials/v-rossiyskikh-tyurmakh-boleyut-vich-sovershayut-suitsidy-i-rozhayut-detey-no-vse-eti-dannye-teper-zasekrecheny-rasskazyvaem-gde-ikh-mozhno-dostat).
1. Data which the service released before 2023 that can be accessed via the Wayback Machine. Such data provides a baseless against which other sources of more recent developments can be checked.
2. Data released by the Penal Service’s own research institution that continues to publish materials that its parent service is no longer issuing (nii.fsin.gov.ru/trudy-nii/index.php).
3. Data supplied by Moscow to the United Nations in the framework of its participation in the Convention Against Torture (tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/TBSearch.aspx?Lang=ru&TreatyID=1&CountryID=144).
Obviously, these three do not fully compensate for the loss of regular data that had been issued earlier; but their existence is a reminder to all those working in the new and more restricted information environment in Putin’s Russia that the reduction in data in one place does not necessarily mean that it has been cut off everywhere.