Thursday, December 28, 2023

2020 Angarsk Prison Revolt Continues to Echo in Transbaikal

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 26 – In April 2020, Russian jailors were forced to call in more than 300 spetsnaz troops to put down with extreme violence in a special regime camp near Angarsk one of the largest prison revolts in that country in recent years (

            In the more than three years since, that revolt has continued to echo across the region with more charges brought against the participants and some investigations launched into charges that guards engaged in torture and rape against those who rose in protest against prison conditions (, and

            Now, in an echo of the April 2020 events, a group of prisoners in an Irkutsk detention center, including some of the participants of the earlier rising, have declared a hunger strike over conditions there (

            Among their complaints are unheated cells and a prison diet featuring kinds of food, presumably pork, that Muslim prisoners are prohibited by their religion from eating, another indication that the rising in 2020 to a certain extent was about Islam and not just prison conditions more generally.

            Oyub Titiyev, a prison rights activist, says that he is “certain” that what is going on is connected with the results of the [2020] rising,” an indication that even when the Russian authorities deploy massive force against prisoners they succeed only in buying themselves time but not in suppressing the willingness of prisoners to rise up when they can.

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