05 May

Sasha Kolchenko’s mother visits her son in a prison

The visit was enabled owing to donations collected by the well-known Ukrainian writer Serhiy Zhadan and his band, Zhadan i Sobaky. Larisa Kolchenko says her son Sasha (Alexander) has already adapted to rigid conditions of Chelyabinsk region and almost does not get sick. The information was provided by Russian human rights activist Yana Goncharova at her Facebook page. See her post below.

Remember how we together with Zhadan i Sobaky [“Zhadan and the Dogs”; collaboration of famous writer Serhiy Zhadan and “Dogs in Outher Space” ska-punk band] were collecting money for Sasha Kolchenko’s mother could visit her son the Russian colony? Finally, it happened !!! Larisa Kolchenko has just returned from a long meeting with Sasha.

It is still cold in Chelyabinsk, +7°C; Sasha has already adapted to these conditions and almost does not get sick, although sometimes he has a runny nose. The colony staff does not qualify this like an illness, anyway, there are no medicines to treat the convicts.
The high calorie diet, which he had for several months (as he said – these were just some extra grams of butter and milk), did not help him – weight deficiency is obvious.
Tundra is studying plumber program and would graduate soon. He also studies English and reads a lot. Sasha told me how he teaches the verbs of action, and reads [Philip Zimbardo’s] The Lucifer Effect. A decent book, he says. By the way, he began to put in order the prison library, because there are books like “Introduction to Gynecology” – I just wondered who needed such a book there?

By the way, the books that we collected for him on his birthday are still in the process of transferring to the library. They should still undergo a long procedure of censorship (maybe, someone wrote “hello” to him in the margin)? It is still unknown whether books in Ukrainian would be taken to the library.

He usually receives the letters, although not without difficulties – he constantly has to apply to the prison administration. And according to the internal (informal) rules, applying to the prison administration is unwelcomed. Therefore, he tries to do it infrequently. By the way, the letter of Alex Gaskarov [a recently released Russian left-wing social activist and Putin’s political prisoner] was half-censored by the censors (though it was posted by Takie Dela project as a sample of “how to write letters to political prisoners”).

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (Ukrainian consul is not allowed) will write another request to get at allowance for a meeting with Kolchenko.

Larisa Kolchenko gave many thanks for helping to organize her trip, and especially to Sergiy Zhadan for his support.

Tundra [Kolchenko’s nickname] sends warm greetings to everyone. He says that he misses everyone and wants to return home.