The End of Valentin Danilov's Prison Blog
The physicist's last post before being released on parole
Russian physicist Valentin Danilov stands outside the Krasnoyarsk regional court on September 14, 2004. (Ilya Naymushin/Reuters)
Russian physicist Valentin Danilov spent a decade in prison as a result of an espionage conviction before he was granted early release
on parole. Rights groups have called his case politically motivated and
the charges trumped-up. While in prison, Danilov wrote a blog for
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Russian Service. What follows is a translation of his last post
for that blog, on November 9, 2012:
The trial of Pussy Riot ended with harsh sentences that defy understanding. Is the goal to intimidate? It's unlikely to work.
The $2 billion bridge on Russky Island before the APEC summit came, of
course, as a surprise. (Editor's note: Russian authorities supervised
the construction of the bridge, in part, to serve attendees of a summit
in Vladivostok of an Asia-Pacific Cooperation summit in 2012, but the
road was rendered unusable
by heavy rains months ahead of the event.) The sum is commensurate with
expenses in the space industry. From this point of view, the money was
simply thrown out the window. This is also symbolic.
I'm happy that money is being invested in science in Vladivostok. But
science doesn't start with buildings, it starts with the creation of the
right conditions for work. Scientists studying the ocean in the Far
East ran into the same "traffic jams" I ran into in my time. All
contacts with foreign scientists will lead, if not to jail terms, then
to criminal cases.
Or course, I was upset that the hearing during which my request for
parole was scheduled to be reviewed did not take place. I should have
been freed a year ago! I've served two-thirds of my sentence. Why am I
not being released?! I never needed any "correcting," even when I was
sentenced. I am occupying someone else's place. Every inmate has two
square meters at his disposal. If I'm released on parole or under house
arrest, the others will have more air to breathe.
Living conditions at the prison are improving: fridges and microwave
ovens are appearing ... although there is nothing to fill them with. Make
repairs, put up furniture -- is that what the reform consists of?
Strangely, the food of inmates in the 21st century is prepared in line
with 100-year-old rules: according to the number of calories. The
penitentiary system has obviously never heard of vitamins, without which
even a mouse would waste away. No wonder more than 90 percent of
inmates, or about 800,000 people, are listed as sick and more than
25,000 are invalids (according to figures for 2010).
In the near future, I plan to get new teeth put in. I recently had those that remain inventoried. I will wait. Wait.
This post appears courtesy of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
This article available online at: