We’ve seen a lot of stories about Russian prison life recently, which paint life in the post-Soviet penal system in a pretty bizarre light.
It’s fitting then, that Russia’s most famous prisoner, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, has began writing a column about life in a Russian prison for the New Times. And it sure starts with a bang.
Khodorkovsky tells the tale of a fellow inmate named Kolya, only 23 years old. Kolya can’t face the prospect of being charged with the assault and robbery of a elderly woman.
His response to the shame of the accusations? The young man slashes his intestines open in an attempt to commit hari-kari. When the guards try and enter, he pelts them with pieces of his own intestine.
“I look at this man, a repeat offender, and think about all the people living in freedom who place a lower price on their honour, who don’t think it’s all that bad to swipe a couple thousand rubles from an elderly man or woman,” Khodorkovsky writes (translation via the Moscow Times)
Khordorkovsky was the former head of Yukos Oil, and one of Russia’s most successful oligarchs. He angered Vladimir Putin with his calls for Western style democracy and funding of opposition parties. Few observers take his fraud sentence (13.5 years) seriously.