Snapshots from Sakharovo One year ago, thousands of people were arrested at pro-Navalny rallies across Russia. This ‘special’ detention center became a symbol of those protests.
In the winter of 2021, Russia was rocked by large-scale protests demanding the release of opposition leader Alexey Navalny. After spending months abroad recovering from chemical nerve-agent poisoning, Navalny had returned to Russia only to be thrown in jail. During the ensuing pro-Navalny rallies, thousands of people were detained. Police in Moscow made so many arrests that the capital’s detention centers were overflowing. As a result, many detainees were sent to a migrant detention center in Sakharovo, a village just outside of Moscow. The detainees shared striking accounts of how they were held on freezing buses outside the detention center for hours on end, only to be placed in overcrowded cells without bedding and basic hygiene products. Photographs taken inside the detention center drove these experiences home. At the same time, the detainees themselves recall the special atmosphere inside those same cells. One year later, Meduza reached out to those jailed in Sakharovo and asked for photographs of what went on there. Here are their snapshots.