Slavery-like conditions. Workdays that stretch from dawn until midnight. Sleep deprivation, beatings, torture, and even death threats.
These are some of the conditions that prisoners in Penal Colony No. 14 in Russia's republic of Mordovia are enduring, according to an open letter that jailed Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova sent to Russia's Human Rights ombudsman.
Letters from prison have a long and storied history of carrying emotional power and moral weight in Russia -- and Tolokonnikova's is no exception. It has garnered sympathetic responses from some unexpected quarters, including some Orthodox clergy and a leading pro-Kremlin newspaper.
In the latest "Power Vertical Podcast," we discuss Tolokonnikova's letter, its resonance, and what the reaction to it might signify.
Joining me on the podcast are co-host Kirill Kobrin, editor of the history and sociology magazine "Neprikosnovenniye Zapas
," and Sean Guillory of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies, author of "Sean's Russia Blog
Listen to or download the podcast above or subscribe to "The Power Vertical Podcast" on iTunes