Skip to main content

Head of Moscow’s notorious Lefortovo remand prison resigns

Source: Meduza

The head of Moscow’s Lefortovo remand prison, Alexey Romashin, has stepped down, informed sources told RTVI, RIA Novosti, and Novaya Gazeta on Tuesday, January 11. Eva Merkacheva and Alexey Melnikov of Moscow’s Public Monitoring Commission (a prisoners’ rights watchdog) also confirmed the prison chief’s resignation to TASS and Interfax

Merkacheva told TASS that the paperwork concerning Romashin’s resignation was drawn up at the end of December and that “he left of his own accord.” In turn, a TASS source in law enforcement said that Romashin had long been planning to retire, underscoring that there’s “nothing sensational” about his resignation. Another source in law enforcement told RTVI that Romashin had earned himself an “impeccable reputation” and had been planning to step down for at least nine months. 

Romashin has headed the Lefortovo remand prison since 2015. Speaking to BBC News Russian, journalist Igor Rudnikov, who was imprisoned in Lefortovo in 2017–2018, described Romashin as an “intelligent, well-mannered colonel.”

According to media reports, Mikhail Svinolup — a former FSB investigator who handled treason and espionage cases — will take over as acting head of the Lefortovo prison. Svinolup was involved in high-profile treason cases, such as the investigation into officials from the FSB’s Center for Information Security, as well as the case against Smolensk resident Svetlana Davydova

The Lefortovo remand prison is one of seven detention centers that are under the federal-level leadership of Russia’s penitentiary service. The suspects in custody there are awaiting trial on criminal charges that are investigated by or in coordination with the Federal Security Service (FSB), including terrorism, high treason, and espionage.

Former journalist Ivan Safronov and cybersecurity executive Ilya Sachkov are among the high-profile figures currently in custody at Lefortovo. They are both awaiting trial for treason. 

Meduza, working 24/7, always for our readers We need your help like never before