Residents of Russian Concentration Camps Tells The Story of Assault and Torture | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Residents of Russian Concentration Camps Tells The Story of Assault and Torture

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President Vladimir Putin’s brutality is drawing growing protests around the world (Image: Reuters/Afro)

 In the vicinity of Mariupol (in southeastern Ukraine, the site of fierce fighting), Russian troops have set up at least four concentration camps. They appear to be capturing Ukrainian residents and taking them away. People associated with the Ukrainian government say they are routinely assaulted and tortured, and in some cases murdered.

On May 2, U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Michael Carpenter expressed concern about Russia’s brutality.


According to Carpenter, Russia is planning to hold a referendum in mid-May in eastern Ukraine, which it has overrun, to annex the country. Residents will be sent to concentration camps to determine whether they are pro-Russian or pro-annexation. Those who oppose the annexation will be persecuted.

 Some people are sent to camps in Russia, called purification camps if they are considered dangerous. Many of the camps are located near coal mines and natural gas extraction sites in the bitterly cold Siberia and the Far Eastern Sakhalin Oblast. Even from Mariupol, which is closer to Russia, they are more than 7,000 km away.

 Ukrainians sent to the cleansing camps are given jobs by the employment centers and are banned from leaving Russia for two years. “Many of them are also children,” said a reporter from the international section of a national newspaper.

In the past, 60,000 Japanese were killed.

The abduction of civilians is a clear violation of international law. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry issued a statement of protest, saying, “Taking civilians hostage constitutes a war crime as stipulated by the Geneva Convention, which prohibits taking civilians, hostage”. Russia has a record of sending people from opposing countries to concentration camps during World War II.

 These were concentration camps called “Gulags,” created by leader Stalin. Many were set up in Siberia. The prisoners were domestic political prisoners, prisoners of war from hostile countries such as Japan and Germany, and people forcibly transferred from Poland and the Baltic states.

 Life in the Gulags was extremely harsh. The temperatures in the area were as low as minus 20 degrees Celsius, and they were not provided with adequate warm clothing or food. The houses were crude wooden structures with little protection from the wind. Toilets and sanitary conditions were extremely poor. In addition to being forced to work from early morning until night, they were also subjected to communist indoctrination. Of the nearly 600,000 Japanese alone who were interned, it is said that more than 10%, or about 60,000, died of hunger or disease.


What is happening in the camps in Ukraine? Mr. Valentin, a construction company president who escaped from Mariupol to Georgia (a country on the Black Sea coast, formerly Georgia), gave the following testimony to FRIDAY Digital: 

 “We spent seven days in the camps. We had nowhere to sleep, we spent the night in our cars, and many of us fell ill from the cold. The Russian soldiers strictly warned us, ‘Do not deviate from the road’. There were signs on the side of the road indicating land mines. We could not move freely and had to do our business right next to the car.

 The interrogations in the camps were harsh. We were fingerprinted, photographed, and asked provocative questions about neo-Nazis, the government, and our homeland. If I didn’t give them bad information about Ukraine, they would look at me with a disgruntled look on their faces and yell, “What are you talking about?” They would shout at me, ‘We’re going to take you to war’. They even threatened to take me to the battlefield. After a long and painful sorting process, we were finally able to buy train tickets to Georgia with the help of some acquaintances.

Russia has stated that it is providing humanitarian aid to the Ukrainian people in the areas it has overrun. But what is actually taking place seems to be the opposite of what was announced.

  • Photo. Reuters/Afro

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