Azat Miftakhov writes to his wife about his life in the penal colony number 17 in Omutninsk

Azat Miftakhov said in a telephone conversation with his wife Elena Gorban that his working conditions in the Omutninsk penal colony # 17 have improved somewhat and he now “carries boards instead of sawdust,” which, according to him, is much easier. The mathematician described his life in the penal colony in detail in a personal letter to his wife. “Idel.Realii” published some excerpts with the consent of the wife of the political prisoner, which we translate below.

I dislike many things here. The stupid militarism, the smart-mouth employees, some of whom communicate extremely dismissively with the convicts, including obscenities, and the prospect of working at a stupid mind-numbing job. All this elicits protest. (…)

When they [the colony authorities] first meet me, they all immediately ask the same question, what kind of [the criminal code] article is this 213rd. 
I explain that it is hooliganism. Employee: “What did you do to misbehave?” “I did not do anything”. He: “What was written in the verdict?” I say that I was accused of vandalizing the United Russia office. He: “Why did you smash it?” “I did not smash, and I have nothing to do with the case,” and I begin to explain about the secret witness, but he no longer listens to me and begins to prove to me that there are no innocent people here … ” (…)

Here is one employee who distinguished himself from the others. When he found out what I was accused of, he asked me sternly: “What are you against Russia? I mean, not United Russia, but Russia?” Me: “ No, I am for the Russian people, but against this party. ”He:“ Is that why it was necessary to smash the office? Have you built anything before you smashed? Did you build a house, planted a tree, raised a child?” I say: “Let’s start with the fact that I have nothing to do with this business … ” Have you been sentenced? Was the sentence confirmed? So, you were involved! “. Almost always during such conversations, a biographical questionnaire is conducted, and in this connection they talk about my education. Then, having learned that I studied and worked at Moscow State University, that I am a mathematician, etc. they claim that everything was fine with me, and I ruined everything myself, being drawn into anarchist movements.” (…)

As for the conditions, there are no complaints.  We live next to the forest, so we sleep well at night. The food here is good, even better than in the Kirov SIZO, and much better than in Butyrka. (…)

At the entrance to the camp, almost all of my clothes were not allowed through.  They left me only socks, panties, gloves and thermal underwear … now I have no T-shirts and pants at all, but there is only a T-shirt and overalls issued by the colony … the same with books: all my books were taken, supposedly for a check. (…)

If I had at least some guarantees that for my obedience I can count on parole, say in about in six months, I would probably endure everything and obey the requirements of the administration. But since I expect every trick that could take away my parole, I am considering refusing my assigned work. Sometimes, I think that if they reprimand me for some trifle, like an unbuttoned button on my uniform, this will be sufficient reason for me to do so.

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