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Russia: Prisons in Vladivostok, including violence in them and the conduct of prison guards (January 1994 - March 1999)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 March 1999
Citation / Document Symbol RUS31360.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Russia: Prisons in Vladivostok, including violence in them and the conduct of prison guards (January 1994 - March 1999), 1 March 1999, RUS31360.E, available at: [accessed 30 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


A 6 March 1998 Vladivostok News article states:

Sergei Larionov, alleged godfather of the Larionov criminal gang, was stabbed to death by a fellow inmate at the trial pending prison unit on Partizansky Avenue Feb. 25. The murder occurred in a corridor near Larionov's cell, as he and a group of other inmates were being conveyed back to their cells. According to prison sources, the guards were busy locking up one of the inmates, when fellow prisoner Yevgeny Danilenko ran up to the group and stabbed Larionov. The 38-year old Larionov, who is accused of numerous crimes related to gangsterism and the organisation of a criminal gang during 1992 and 1993, had apparently just returned from a routine meeting with investigators. He and other co-defendents in the trial had been kept at the unit since 1994, apparently in deluxe conditions, police report.

According to prosecutor Sergei Bazhutov, a criminal case has been filed against Danilenko, although the nature of witnesses(other unit inmates( may pose problems for investigators. A man classified as highly dangerous, with a long criminal record, Danilenko was awaiting trial for a hold-up. He has now been isolated.

Theories about the motive for the murder vary from a simple internal dispute between inmates to a full-blown contract murder. In the course of his trial, Larionov, who intended to plead not guilty, was expected to implicate a number of people in the Vladivostok underworld, who may consequently have ordered his murder, sources said.

In 1993, Sergei Larionov and his younger brother Alexander were high profile figures in Vladivostok's crime world. Before he was arrested Sergei headed the joint-stock company Kioey-Auto, was a co-owner of a security firm, controlled various companies, and owned a sizeable stake in shipping company Vostoktransflot. Sergei Larionov and other gang members were arrested after his brother Alexander was assassinated in 1994. Investigators say Larionov was involved in the punishment of his brother's assassins by locking them in a garage full of carbon monoxide fumes.

A 27 November 1998 Moscow Times article states:

A Supreme Court judge refused Thursday to release Grigory Pasko, a naval captain in Vladivostok who has been in jail for a year awaiting trial on charges of spying for Japan. His lawyer said Pasko has been kept in an overcrowded, poorly heated cell and may be suffering from tuberculosis....

His lawyers said keeping him in jail was destroying his health. "His arms have swollen up because he his suffering from severe stress," Karen Nersisyan, one of Pasko's three lawyers, said Thursday. "He may also be suffering from tuberculosis."...

Pasko's lawyers have complained that Pasko has been unable to familiarize himself with the material to be used in the case against him. "He had been unable to do so because he was being held in a cell with ordinary criminals," Kommersant newspaper reported. "Since the case is classified, his cellmates could have learned something of the Pacific Fleet's secrets." Pasko had been held with at least 40 other people in a cell meant for 30 inmates, his lawyer said Thursday, although he has recently been moved to an isolation cell.

"He was sharing with multiple offenders, murderers, rapists," Nersisyan said. "Often the heating in the detention center does not work, and tuberculosis and other diseases are rife." Tuberculosis has killed 20,000 prison inmates in Russia over the past two years, the Prosecutor General's Office reported this year.

No additional information on prisons or violence in prisons in Vladivostok, nor information on the conduct of prison guards there, could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


The Moscow Times. 27 November 1998. Chloe Arnold. "Court Refuses to Free Pasko." (NEXIS)

Vladivostok News. 6 March 1998. "'Godfather' Stabbed to Death in Jail." [Internet] [Accessed on 8 March 1999]

Additional Sources Consulted

Country Reports on Human rights Practices for 1998. 1999.

Electronic sources: IRB databases, Internet, NEXIS/LEXIS, REFWORLD, WNC.

Human Rights Watch World Report. 1999.

Torture in Russia: This Man-Made Hell. Amnesty International. April 1997.

Transitions [Prague]. January 1995 - January 1999.

Two oral sources contacted did not provide information on the requested topic.

Unsuccessful attempts to contact other oral sources.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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