A lot has been said about the potentially harsh conditions that WNBA star Brittney Griner could face in a Russian penal colony. Now after her transfer to IK-2 Mordovia, things could actually be much worse for her.
Survivor and activist Nadya Tolokonnikova, who served time in Russian penal colony, called IK-2 the “harshest” in the Russian prison system. According to Tolokonnikova, “Prisoners in IK-2 work in slave-like conditions…Some [prisoners] decide to commit suicide, which is not as easy in penal colony conditions.”
She also narrated the other brutal living conditions that the Phoenix Mercury player could be dealing with right now, including “16 hours work days,” beatings and tortures, as well as heavy physical labor.
Prisoners are also tasked to sew uniforms for the Russian army and police. They also “share barracks with 100 other people, with only 3-5 toilets for all, and no hot water,” and are only allowed to shower once a week.
Unfortunately for Brittney Griner, it doesn’t look like her release is imminent. After she was sentenced to nine years in prison for drug possession and smuggling charges, there have been talks about a potential prisoner exchange.
While Russia said recently there have been significant steps towards a deal getting done, the US government noted that Moscow has actually not negotiated with them seriously.
“We are not going to comment on the specifics of any proposals other than to say that we have made a substantial offer that the Russian Federation has consistently failed to negotiate in good faith,” a State Department spokesperson said of the issue.
“The U.S. Government has continued to follow up on that offer and propose alternative potential ways forward with the Russian government. The Russian government’s failure to seriously negotiate on these issues in the established channel, or any other channel for that matter runs counter to its public statements.”
Hopefully, the issue gets resolved soon. With the lack of updates on Griner’s condition, fears about her well-being will only continue to intensify.