To ramp up arms production, crucial to the continuation of what Moscow continues to call a “special military operation” in Ukraine, Russia is using the labor of prison inmates. British Defense Intelligence reports this in its daily update. “Russia’s defense manufacturing sector is very likely to resort to using prison labor in an attempt to meet wartime production demands,” explains the London Daily Analysis. In November 2022, Uralvagonzavod (UVZ), the Russia’s largest tank manufacturer, told local media it would employ 250 detainees after meeting with the Federal Penal Service (FSIN)” (WAR IN UKRAINE, SKY TG24 SPECIAL – LIVE UPDATES).
The work of prisoners
There is, the United Kingdom’s 007s still recall, “a long tradition of prison labor in Russia, but forced labor has been reintroduced as a specific criminal punishment since 2017”. The Federation Penal Service manages one of the largest prison populations in the world, over 400,000 inmates, but “has often been accused of extreme brutality and corruption”. In the absence of volunteers, the analysis continues, “detainee labor will be particularly in demand by relatively low-tech weapons manufacturers such as the UVZ, which are almost certainly under intense pressure from Moscow to increase their production”.