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58,000 fewer prisoners in Russia in 2023

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Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin began enlisting Russian prison inmates in 2022. Photo: AP Photo, File/NTB

Of NTB | 24.05.2024 13:07:48

Crime and justice: In 2022, imprisoned Russians began receiving offers to join the Wagner mercenary group, with promises of pardon and release if they survived six months of the war. The former Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed before his death that he had enlisted 50,000 inmates.

In the past year, the Russian Ministry of Defense has also conscripted prisoners for the war. Russia has one of the largest prison populations in the world, with a vast network of prisons and labor camps spread across eleven time zones. However, regional authorities in Siberia have announced plans to close several prisons due to the large number of prisoners who have now left the prison system.

At the same time, the number of prisoners has been gradually falling for a long time. In 2009, there were just over 730,000 inmates in Russian prisons, while now, according to independent Russian media, there are just over 250,000. Lower penalties for some crimes have contributed to the fall.

(© NTB)

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