NewsKara-Murza: Facing Siberia's Cold as Putin's Most Prominent Rival

Kara-Murza: Facing Siberia's Cold as Putin's Most Prominent Rival

Russian opposition figure Vladimir Kara-Murza has been in a Putin prison since April 2023 for condemning the aggression against Ukraine.
Russian opposition figure Vladimir Kara-Murza has been in a Putin prison since April 2023 for condemning the aggression against Ukraine.
Images source: © Getty Images | SOPA Images
9:03 AM EDT, March 28, 2024

One of the Kremlin's most fervent critics is serving a 25-year prison sentence for criticizing the regime. In February, he was transferred to a high-security penal colony in Siberia. Vladimir Kara-Murza was imprisoned two years ago after labeling Vladimir Putin's government a "regime of murderers." Following Alexander Navalny's death, Kara-Murza has become the most prominent prisoner in Russia.

Putin eliminates anyone who dares to criticize his rule publicly. However, he disposes of his adversaries through various means. Some are murdered treacherously, while others are spectacularly eliminated as a caution to other dissenters.

Survivors of assassination attempts, peculiar traffic incidents, and novichok poisonings often find themselves in a cramped, cold cell, facing daily dangers. According to the "Daily Mail," this describes the life of journalist and politician Vladimir Kara-Murza in cell number nine of the IK-6 penal colony in the Siberian city of Omsk. With Alexei Navalny's death in a similar penal colony, Kara-Murza has become the leading figure of the Russian opposition.

Penal Colony Life

The wake-up call in his cell is at 5 AM Siberian time (1 PM Eastern Time) to the Russian national anthem. Five minutes later, guards remove his pillow and mattress. Shortly after, the bed's metal frame is locked to the wall, preventing its use during the day.

He is occasionally allowed to walk in a small courtyard, but the extreme cold often makes this impossible. Despite being constantly monitored by cameras, he undergoes personal inspections twice daily.

Like the recently deceased Navalny, Kara-Murza could have stayed in the West, away from Russia's troubles. Yet, he chose to return, hoping to contribute to Russia's transformation and the cessation of Putin's reign of terror.

Despite his intentions, the despot prevails. The British newspaper reports that Kara-Murza lives listening to patriotic propaganda songs or the monotone recitation of the penal colony's regulations.

Kara-Murza: Kremlin's Public Enemy Number One

In every interaction with penitentiary staff, the prisoner must recite the official formula: "Kara-Murza, Vladimir Vladimirovich, birth date: September 7, 1981, convicted based on article 284 section 1 part one, 207 section 3 part two, 275. Sentence start date: April 22, 2022. End date of sentence: April 21, 2047."

Among other charges, he is imprisoned for condemning the "special military operation," now officially acknowledged as a war in Russia. Kara-Murza continues to serve a 25-year sentence for "spreading false news."

Omsk is among the many locations of the Main Directorate of Corrective Labor Camps. The Russian gulags, initiated by Stalin, diminished after the USSR's demise but experienced a resurgence under Putin's rule.

Olga Romanova, head of a prisoners’ rights organization, states that Russia, along with Belarus and Turkey, has one of Europe's highest prisoner counts at 430,000. Since the onset of the Ukraine invasion, approximately 100,000 individuals have been incarcerated.

Often, criminals opting to fight at the front are released, only to be replaced by others protesting the war, like Kara-Murza.

Source: "Daily Mail"

Related content