Russia’s Putin dismisses prison service chief following torture scandal

20:12, 25 November 2021
Russia’s Putin dismisses prison service chief following torture scandal Photo:

Alexander Kalashnikov was fired from the post and replaced with ex-deputy interior minister Arkady Gostev.

Russian President Vladimir Putin fired on Thursday head of the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) Alexander Kalashnikov, Kremlin has announced. He will be replaced with Arkady Gostev who used to serve as Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs.

The reason for the dismissal has not been specified but it is likely to be related to a recent prison torture scandal that shocked Russian society and resulted in the firing of 18 prison guards.

In October the leader of the human rights group Vladimir Osechkin received a secret archive of the FSIN which contained around 40 gigabytes of footage, photos, and documents of tortures conducted in a prison hospital near the city of Saratov located some 720 km (450 miles) from Moscow.

The unverified files have allegedly been sent by Sergey Saveliev, a former IT specialist who was convicted of drug dealing and worked in the prison’s hospital for the security department.

Activists published some of them which triggered a wave of indignation around the country and made Russia's Investigative Committee open an investigation.

Chief of the local FSIN branch Alexei Fedotov handed in his notice while head of the hospital in which the torture cases took place Pavel Gatsenko was fired along with other executives.