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Putin fires Russia’s penitentiary service chief Alexander Kalashnikov

President Vladimir Putin has fired Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) Director Alexander Kalashnikov, the Kremlin announced on Thursday November 25. 

In addition, Putin appointed Deputy Interior Minister Arkady Gostev as Kalashnikov’s replacement with immediate effect. 

Alexander Kalashnikov took up the post of FSIN chief in October 2019. The Kremlin didn’t offer an explanation for his dismissal. However, an informed source told Interfax that Kalashnikov was fired in connection with a recent video leak evidencing rape and torture at prison facilities in Russia’s Saratov region and other parts of the country. 

In early October, the human rights group Gulagu.net (No to the Gulag) published three video clips leaked by a whistleblower showing the torture and rape of inmates at the penitentiary service’s Tuberculosis Hospital No. 1 in Russia’s Saratov region. The hospital’s leadership was fired, along with 18 employees of the local penitentiary service department, and investigators opened several criminal cases on charges of sexual assault and abuse of power.

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