Russia’s “five-star jail” on the outskirts of St. Petersburg, hometown of President Vladimir Putin, will open by 2016. It is called the Kresty-2.
Its cozy hotel-like accommodations include a sports complex, sauna, fighting room, concert hall, Orthodox Church and even a museum. It has heated floors and it is the very first jail in Russia to have elevators. Meals will be served through a small window in each of the cell. Menu includes airline economy class-style food.
In 2008, Vladimir Lukin, Russia’s former human rights ombudsman, found the Kresty-1 was “grossly inadequate.” The prisoners in “significant numbers had cut their arms with razor blades in protest at their conditions,” Lukin said in a WikiLeak document reported by Mirror UK.
When one thinks of Russian prison, one could easily imagine the Black Dolphin Prison in Kazakhstan. Here, brutal criminals, serial killers, cannibals and terrorists were confined, according to a documentary by National Geographic. One prison officer had even told Nat Geo that the only way to escape is by dying.
In 2014, a woman named Tatyana Gavrilova, who spent 16 years in one of the Russia’s jails, revealed what it was like to be a prisoner in her own country. She was treated as one of the male prisoners. In the span of 16 years, she was moved from one prison to another for numerous times. “You lose yourself in there. Under the influence of these drugs, of the torture that they inflicted upon us, you soon forget even how to hold a spoon. You have no past and no future,” she told The Guardian last year.
The Kresty-2, to be open in 2016, is set to get a dedicated railway station, The Daily Mail reported. The new prison is set to be the highest prisons in Europe when it opens next year, according to the report. It occupies 35 hectares and is outfitted with a shooting range where 1,500 staff can spend their leisurely times. “It will be the most modern prison in Russia and the biggest in Europe. Every inmate will be allocated seven square meters which fits ‘European standards’,” Gennady Kornienko, head of Russia’s prison service, was quoted as saying.
The five-star jail was announced by Mr. Putin in 2008. The first batch of inmates is estimated to be arriving in the first weeks of January 2016. The jail can hold up to 4,000 inmates. The prisoners can choose whether they will be wearing a uniform of their own clothes.