"Exterminatory penal colony. Former convicts told the court about tortures in penal colony No.14 in Nizhny Novgorod", Kommersant


10 July 2020
Photo: Oleg Kharseyev / Kommersant

Former convicts who served their sentence in the Penal Colony No.14 of Nizhny Novgorod provided evidence to the court with regard to the case on death of Aleksandr Kalyakin by hand of prison warden assistant Vladimir Vinogradov.  According to them, the prison administration assistant Vladimir Vinogradov, known in the prison circles as Vinograd or Gypsy, beat six more people to death, and they were told to keep silence about the incident with deceased Kalyakin. They insist that the defendant Vinogradov acted as instructed by former head of penal colony Vasily Voloshin, who fled to the Northern Cyprus and who was added to the international wanted list in 2015. Other former convicts are ready to provide their evidence against him.       

Court examination concerning the fact of death of convict Aleksandr Kalyakin in Penal colony No.14 in Sukhobezvodnoye settlement of the Semenovsky District in 2012 continues in the Nizhny Novgorod region. As “Kommersant-Privolzhye” reported, charges under part 4 Article 111 of the Criminal Code of the RF (“intentional inflicting grave bodily harm to health, which led to the death of the victim by negligence”) are brought against former convict Vladimir Vinogradov also known as Vinograd or Gypsy, who is notorious in the prison circles by brutal treatment of other convicts, authorized by former superiors of the penal institution.

At court, the witnesses of the prosecution told that Gypsy, loyal to the administration, performed the function of a leader in group 7, where convict Kalyakin arrived in June 2012. The newcomer could not learn how the bed is to be made accurately, and due to that, day by day, he was being punished by fists and rubber truncheon in the store-room. Another fight of Vladimir Vinogradov with Aleksandr Kalyakin over the bed ended with brutal batteries, after which the latter died. The prison administration explained his death by acute cardio-vascular failure. However, the victim’s father who came to collect the body, found a lot of bruises and extravasations on his son’s head and    forensic pathologists found a few fatal traumas, including fractured ribs and internal hemorrhages. He failed to clarify the circumstances of the death with other convicts, and prison warden at that time, Vasily Voloshin, claimed that Aleksandr Kalyakin was walking and suddenly fell due to the heat” (see “Kommersant” dated 16 June).

The criminal case was not being investigated for a long time due to absence of suspects, until former head of the Department of the Investigative Committee of the RF for the Nizhny Novgorod region Andrey Vinogradov transferred the materials from the district level to the regional one. About almost eight years later Vladimir Vinogradov was charged, who partially acknowledged his guilt. He told to the court that he indeed was beating up convict Kalyakin, but he never used a truncheon and did not “cut up” the opponent.   

However, witnesses Aleksandr Mironov and Mikhail Mosyagin, who were convicts of Penal Colony No.14 at the same time as Aleksandr Kalyakin, do not confirm the words of the Gypsy. They provided evidence against the defendant at the Semenovsky District Court and restored the picture of the incident. According to Aleksandr Mironov, the Gypsy and his five “assistants” beat up somebody from group 7 almost on the daily basis because of improperly made beds or some other excuses. They could punish without any reason at all, and it was forbidden for the newcomers to talk and to sit, according to the witness. In the mornings, Vladimir Vinogradov put down the violations to his notebook, announced them before the whole group, and later on called the delinquents one by one to the store room, where he was beating them up for a long time. On the day of actual murder of Aleksandr Kalyakin only “warden” Vinogradov and his assistant, nicknamed Pushkin, who was standing in the doorway of the store-room, remained in the group. From there Aleksandr Kalyalin’s shouts were heard. Soon, he was carried, wrapped in a blanket, as first to the wash-stand, and then to the medical unit. “Two hours later the prisoners told that Aleksandr Kalyakin died and I was transferred to another group, number 9, and ordered to forget what happened, “or else you realize what may happen to you”, — Aleksandr Mironov described in court.  

The dying convict was carried to the medical unit in front of other convicts from group 9 who were doing housekeeping at the territory adjacent to it. According to another witness, Mikhail Mosyagin, soon Aleksanr Mironov, covered with bruises, was transferred to the group, and he was silent about what happened. “He was afraid to tell anything. It was clear: prison warden Voloshin established such practice and ordered to beat up prisoners”, — Mikhail Mosyagin informed the court. According to him, groups No.7 and 12 were considered so called “pressing groups”, were convicts were transferred for “correctional education”. The convicts there actively cooperated with the administration, beat up confessions and executed other orders from Vasily Voloshin. “Vladimir Vinogradov and other assistants could not have done anything without authorization – all the beating was agreed on. If the physical force had been used without his authorization, the punishment would have followed”, — the witness pointed out. Mikhail Mosyagin insists that he submitted an application with this regard to the Prosecutor’s Office and the Department of Internal Security of the Federal Penitentiary Service, however, during the checks the penal colony administration hid Gypsy from the inspection, transferring him from one group to another. The colony administration ordered the rest of the colony convicts to keep silent about the incident and during interrogations to refer to epilepsy or heart attack. In addition, Vladimir Vinogradov threatened the convicts with a reprisal and rape. Witness Aleksandr Mironov said that there were rumors circulating among the convicts about murders of six more men.   

It is worth to point out that the Committee Against Torture has testimonies of 200 convicts of Penal Colony No.14 about ill treatment and batteries, which they provided back in 2014. Lawyers pointed out that the photos of those who died in the colony were retouched post mortem and the convicts’ death was documented as suicides and falling from the stairs.   Human rights defenders are investigating the deaths of two more penal colony convicts — Aleksandr Kulemin and Mikhail Kozlov — after applications of their relatives.

Former superior Vasily Voloshin who was charged with illegal wood cutting (part 3 Article 260 of the Criminal Code of the RF) and theft of a bread box exercising the powers vested in him by virtue of his office (part 3 Article 160 of the Criminal Code of the RF) in July 2015, fled from Russia to the Northern Cyprus in October of the same year and was added to the international wanted list.  

Proceedings on the case of Vladimir Vinogradov will continue on 29 June, other witnesses of prosecution will appear in court, they are ready to provide evidence on batteries in the penal colony. The father of deceased Aleksandr Kalyakin intends to submit a civil suit on compensation of moral damage in the amount of 1 million rubles.  

Source: Kommersant
Author: Roman Ryskal’ 

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