Russian Penal System Today

18 Jan 2011

Event times

at 7:30pm

Cost of entry

£7, conc. £5 (students and OAPs), free for Friends of Pushkin House

Pushkin House

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Tube: Holborn, Tottenham Court Road and Russell Square

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Talk | Russian Penal System Today


by Igor Sutyagin and Martin Dewhirst PROGRAMME OF PUSHKIN CLUB Language: In English According to some estimates, about one in three adult males in Russia has come into direct contact and conflict with the law-enforcement agencies on at least one occasion. The so-called ‘prison subculture' still permeates the whole of Russian society. How has the Russian penal system changed during the two decades since the end of the USSR? Has it managed to rid itself of the legacy of the GULag? What are the current proposals for its improvement? This meeting offers you a unique combination of the views of an ‘insider' and an ‘outsider'. Igor Sutyagin has recently spent over ten years in almost a dozen pre-trial investigation isolation centres and correctional colonies in various parts of European Russia. With a PhD in modern history, he had become a specialist in arms control and nuclear weapons and was the Head of a Department in the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute for the Study of the USA and Canada when he was suddenly arrested in the autumn of 1999 on charges of espionage, despite, as a civilian researcher, having no access to any classified materials. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch regarded him as a political prisoner. He is one of four Russian citizens who were exchanged in July 2010 for a number of Russian agents who had been detained in America. Since then he has been living in the UK. Martin Dewhirst is an Honorary Research Fellow of Glasgow University and has been studying ‘places of deprivation of liberty' in the USSR and the Russian Federation for many years. In 2009 and 2010 he was the only Western member of a small team working on a successful pilot project in the Urals to provide a pre-trial detention centre, a women's correctional colony and a prison with interactive cable television facilities, enabling the inmates to enjoy much better access to and from the world outside.

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