top of page

Russia to Close Two Prisons as Inmates Join Ukraine War Effort

Updated: Apr 18

Russia to Close Two Prisons as Inmates Join Ukraine War Effort

Russia has announced the closure of several prisons, attributing the decision to a surge in prisoner enlistment for the ongoing war in Ukraine. The plan to shut down these facilities comes amidst a decline in inmate numbers, primarily driven by the recruitment of convicts to participate in the war effort.

According to reports from the Kommersant newspaper on Thursday, authorities in Russia's Krasnoyarsk region are set to close multiple prisons this year. Mark Denisov, the regional human rights commissioner, informed the regional legislature that at least two local prisons would be shuttered due to "a large one-time reduction in the number of convicts in the context of the special military operation [in Ukraine]."

The recruitment of prisoners for military service in Ukraine traces back to 2022 when Yevgeny Prigozhin, the former head of the Wagner mercenary group, initiated the practice. Prigozhin, who perished in a plane crash following a brief mutiny against Russian military leaders, had offered prisoners a pardon in exchange for serving six months on the frontlines.

During his tenure, Prigozhin claimed to have recruited as many as 50,000 prisoners for Wagner. Subsequently, data released by Russia's penal service indicated abrupt declines in the country's prison population. Despite Prigozhin's demise, Russia's Defence Ministry has continued to recruit convicts from prisons, incorporating them into its Storm-Z formations.

The closure of prisons in response to the surge in prisoner enlistment shows the significant impact of the conflict in Ukraine on Russia's domestic affairs. With a notable decrease in the incarcerated population, authorities are compelled to adjust their prison infrastructure accordingly.

While the move may alleviate overcrowding in Russian prisons, concerns linger regarding the implications for the justice system and the rehabilitation of inmates. The diversion of prisoners to military service raises questions about the adequacy of alternative sentencing and the potential long-term consequences for both individuals and society.

Furthermore, the practice of recruiting convicts for combat duty underscores the complex intersections between military strategy, penal policy, and geopolitical dynamics. As Russia continues to navigate the complexities of its involvement in Ukraine, the convergence of these factors shapes the country's approach to both internal and external challenges.


Ad for subscribing to The Armenian Report
bottom of page