Grigory Pasko: Russia Shuffles its Prison Officials

zavadsky110910.jpgIn August of this year, President Dmitry Medvedev sent into retirement the chiefs of the main administrations of the FSIN [the Federal Service for the Execution of Punishments, formerly known as GULag, the agency responsible for running the prison camp system–Trans.] for Primorsky Kray and Sverdlovsk Oblast. About this was reported with six lines on the official site of the Kremlin. Released from occupied posts were chief of the GU [Main Administration–Trans.] FSIN for Primorsky Kray major-general Anatoly Zavadsky and chief of the GU FSIN for Sverdlovsk Oblast lieutenant-general Alexander Ladik.

Inasmuch as the president’s site did not deem it necessary to report the reasons for the dismissal of two highly-placed ranks from the FSIN, we had to make do with the clarifications of «Interfax» (apparently, this is a separate state structure). The informagency reported that the reason for the dismissal of the regional chiefs became «multiple violations in the work of the subdivisions entrusted to them«. Further on were cited the words of official FSIN representative Alexander Kromin, about how these violations had been identified in the course of checks carried out by the central apparat of the FSIN.

I’ll admit it, I was somewhat surprised. Because in my time Icommunicated with prisoners whom comrade Zavadsky had personally punchedin the teeth when he as chief of the colony in Bolshoy Kamen. But thelocal press welcomed such an appointment, sang dithyrambs to Zavadsky.This was in the year of 2007, and it was Putin who had appointed him.Apparently, it was assumed that precisely such a person, it can be said,who had come up through the GUIN system, would “bring some order” toPrimorsky camp operations. And it’s no small operation: in the 25institutions of the main administration of the Federal Service for theExecution of Punishments for Primorsky Kray are held more than 20thousand prisoners. In that same system – six PTUs[professional-technical institutions, i.e. trade schools] and seven oftheir affiliates, five general-education schools and seven affiliates.

Once upon a time I came across an interview with Zavadsky:

— Your favourite writer?
— Anton Makarenko. I often re-read his «Pedagogical poem».
— Whom do you respect of historical personalities?
— Peter the Great.
— What are you missing for happiness?
— I have everything — family, work. What else is needed?

Someone, apparently, had decided that for complete happinessZavadskly was missing dismissal from service. Of the officially namedviolations for which they supposedly removed Zavadsky the following oneswere sounded. Three prisoners had died in the SIZO of Ussuriysk. Asit turned out, serving as the cause of death was methyl alcohol,transferred into the cell together with a transmission in section toestablished rules. It was established by the investigation that thedeputy chief of SIZO No. 2 of the primorsky GU FSIN RF for personnel andupbringing work of lieutenant-colonel of the internal service PavelMazur had violated the requirements of the Rules of Internal Order ofInvestigative Isolators of the UIS and had personally accepted a parcelfrom a female acquaintance of his for her convicted son. At the presenttime the criminal case has been transferred to court for examination onthe merits.

The second figurant of our tale – Alexander Fedorovich Ladik, nowalready the former chief of the UFSIN for Sverdlovsk Oblast, any beforethat – for Vladimir Oblast. If one is to believe the press – this wassimply a beacon and a model worker of the GUINian system of the times offormer chief of the FSIN Yuri Kalinin.

They wrote a lot about Ladik. The penitentiary magazine «Prestupleniye inakazaniye» [Crime and Punishment, of course!–Trans.] (№ 5, 2006)published an interview with him, then – the chief of the UFSIN forVladimir Oblast. From the conversation of the correspondent with Ladikone was able to learn that : the UIS of the Oblast is working stably;12 million rubles has been put into improving the conditions ofdetention of the prisoners of the Sudogodskaya upbringing [i.e.juvenile–Trans.] colony; 2 mln 700 thousand rubles was spent on theopening of three educational-and-consultational points; convicts wereoutraged by that untruth which was shown in of the serial «Zona» [TheZone–Trans.]… The words of Alexander Fedorovich about how the objectiveof the correctional system – is «the creation of normalcommunal-and-everyday-life conditions for convicts» stuck in the memory.And also Ladik noted: «It’s high time to start living the modern way,and not old-fashioned».

Such an expression of the general’s is known as well: “Here for everybody is needed honesty, principledness, decency…»

Such a person and leader, using such phrases, could not have remained unnoticed during the time of personnel reshuffles either.

Vladimir Putin by his edict № 193 of 13 February of the year 2008appointed as chief of the GU FSIN RF for Sverdlovsk Oblast major-generalAlexander Fedorovich Ladik.

The first little bell, it seems, rang out in March of this year.Ladik was brought to administrative liability. A procuratorial checkhad uncovered violations of the legislation on the placement of ordersfor the delivery of goods for state needs in the activity of the agencyheaded by him. In connection with this the procurator of the oblast hadinitiated cases on administrative violations of the law. Based on theresults of the examination of these cases punishment was set for generalLadik in the form of fines in an overall sum of 80 thousand rubles.The official site of the oblast procuracy reported about this.

By the way, even before the procuratorial check it was known about how Sverdlovsk Oblast in the quality of the work of the system for theexecution of punishments occupied second-to-last place, while under theleadership of Ladik it had dropped to last place.

People have been talking about the necessity of reforming the FSIN along time and for long. They began to speak louder than before afterthe death of the investigatee Sergey Magnitsky in one of the MuscoviteSIZOs. But everything remained and remains as before: med personnelhave yet to be removed out from under subordination to the FSIN into thesubordination of the Ministry of Health; operative workers continue tocarry out their prevocational KGB functions in the jails and thecolonies; investigators still continue to dispose of the fates of peoplebeing held in places of the deprivation of liberty and of holding indetention. The FSIN system as before remains a place of tortures andabuses, a system for debasing and destroying the human in people. Idon’t know how many zavadskys and ladikovs need to be replaced in thissystem so that it would start to resemble the one that is painted in thelaws and statutes, the instructions and orders. And will the systemitself change after this? Not likely, because at its foundation – isduplicity, lies and dual morality. Take a look at what degrees ofmockery of the laws are taking place in the trial in the so-called«YUKOS case». It looks like not a single law there is left «among theliving» already that has not been violated, trampled upon andannihilated.

All these zavadskys and ladiks – are but the screws and little groovesof a huge machine, frightful in its inhumanity and obtuseness, under thename of «the prison system».

And bearing witness to the fact that this system will not likelychange, – that secret with which president Medvedev shrouded thedismissal of the two generals – Zavadsky and Ladik. And yet these were,as they assured us, far from the worst generals in this system.

So what are the ones who remain like then?

Photo from the archives of Grigory Pasko