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Glossary

VLADMIR PRISON

09.11.2006

VLADMIR PRISON  located not far from Moscow in the town of Vladimir, is one of the oldest penal institutions in Russia (with the building itself dating back to 1783). From 1937 the prison was used to hold those the regime deemed particularly dangerous criminals.  Until 1953 these were primarily political prisoners of particular significance (the leaders of foreign States, for example, the Baltic States, military and political officials of Germany and Japan, relatives of former leaders of the USSR and prominent émigré’s captured abroad, and up to 1954 several dozen inmates were only identified by numbers, not by their names.  Following Stalin’s death, the main contingent of inmates of this prison of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR (od-1/st.2) was made up of repeat offenders, however until 1978 it was also used to hold political prisoners (from 1960 becoming the single such prison in the USSR), both those from the outset sentenced to terms in prison, and those transferred from labour camps for “violations of the regime”.  The conditions in the Vladimir Prison were especially harsh, and in the post-Stalin period the prison received notoriety among the world community in particular through the book of Anatoly Marchenko “My testimony”.  From 1968 the situation of political prisoners of the prison and their battle for their rights became a constant theme of ’Khronika tekushchykh sobytiy’ [’Chronicle of Current Events’] (CCE).  The political prisoners of Vladimir Prison played an active role in the establishment of the Day of the Political Prisoner in the USSR and the struggle for political prisoner status (the resistance of the political prisoners took on new intensity in the summer of 1974 with the transfer to the prison of Vladimir Bukovsky).  In 1978, on the decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, all political prisoners held in the prison were moved to the Chistopolsk Prison. At the present time, Vladimir Prison is used to hold particularly dangerous repeat offenders and those who persistently violate the regime in corrective labour penal camps. In the middle of the 1990s a museum exhibit was established within the prison

 

Based on material from “Memorial” in Moscow

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