Old traditions die hard. At Mordovia camp, a penal colony operated by the current government of Russia, deputy chief of the facility Lieutenant Colonel Kupriyanov declared to a recent inmate, "I am a Stalinist."
Traditions like ignoring regulations to impose 16-hour workdays and mandatory punitive periods standing in the cold have driven the inmate into a hunger strike as described in a letter translated for The Guardian. Group punishments, punishment for association with politically charged inmates, punishments that deprive one's friends of parole or get them beaten, punishments administered by inmates put in charge of other inmates and left unsupervised … the results are predictable.
It's a sad commentary on life under a state without an enforceable law or enforceable rights. It's a situation that's becoming all too common in the modern world, and is with disturbing regularity discovered in places where one would like to find real rights, Constitutional protections, and so forth.
What are rights without meaningful enforcement?
It's not surprising to hear, but it's sad.