A Russian prison warden denied reports of torture until he was caught torturing prisoners himself. We interviewed the journalist who broke the story.

At the end of September 2019, Alla Konstantinova wrote an article for the legal news source Mediazona that described a regular practice of torturing prisoners at Correctional Colony No. 9 (IK-9) in the journalist’s hometown of Petrozavodsk, Karelia. After the article was published, both Russia’s Investigative Committee and its Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) committed to investigating the prison. At the same time, prison warden Ivan Savelyev said he would sue Konstantinova and asked the Investigative Committee to investigate Konstantinova’s article for slander. On October 12, a video appeared online that appeared to show Savelyev beating a prisoner himself. On the morning of October 15, Konstantinova discovered that Savelyev and his deputy, Ivan Kovalyov, had been tracking her. She brought that information to the media as well. The press service for Karelia’s FSIN branch argued that the journalist’s assertions were “absurd” and that its employees had only “driven up to buy water” when Konstantinova encountered them. Meduza spoke with Konstantinova about the incident and her work more broadly.

Roberto Fabio Monda Cardenas. ‘Meduza’ tracks down the Spaniard whose mysterious donation led Russian officials to designate the Anti-Corruption Foundation as a ‘foreign agent’

On October 9, Russia’s Justice Ministry announced that it was adding Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) to its list of “foreign agents.” Officials based the designation on donations sent to the organization from abroad: one from “Star-Doors.com LLC” in the United States, and another from a Spanish citizen named Roberto Fabio Monda Cardenas. 

The woman with the green accordion. The story of a Russian music teacher who died alone and lay unnoticed in her apartment for 13 years

According to 2018 census data, at least 3% of elderly people in Russia are single and have never been married. The total number of people who grow old on their own is even higher. Every year, dozens of them die completely alone, and it is common for their deaths to remain unnoticed by relatives (if they have any), by neighbors, even by city services. There are no official statistics on these kinds of deaths, but Russia’s Investigative Committee acknowledges that their number has been on the rise every year. Meduza special correspondent Irina Kravtsova recounts a few of those cases.

‘I’ll punish myself’. Public pressure leads to sexual-assault investigation, after Russian journalist comes forward about rape

On October 13, Novgorod.ru journalist Alina Scheglova published a blog post stating that a colleague from another news outlet raped her in late September. She says a man working at the local municipal newspaper attacked her at a party after an awards ceremony. Scheglova says she hesitated to speak openly about the assault, and only went public when the authorities extended their preliminary probe by a month and replaced the investigator assigned to the case. The man she says raped her, meanwhile, “has continued to head the newspaper, hold meetings, and attend press conferences.” In her blog post, Scheglova refrained from naming her attacker, but his identity ceased to be a secret almost instantly, as other journalists quickly pieced it together. Meduza special correspondent Irina Kravtsova traveled to Nizhny Novgorod and spoke to the people involved in this story.

Cat accused of delivering drugs to Russian prison colony escapes holding area in petting zoo

A local court in the city of Novomoskovsk is currently hearing a case in which a cat was allegedly used to smuggle drugs into a prison colony. The cat himself was seized as physical evidence during the investigative phase of the case and placed in a secure housing environment at the local petting zoo. Now, the newspaper Kommersant reported, defense attorneys have discovered that the cat ran away months ago.