Report: Russia wants to use prison labor to prep for 2018 World Cup

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Slave labor, huh Qatar? Well Russia sees that and raise you prisoners.

With the 2022 World Cup mired in controversy, Russia is maing sure the 2018 World Cup isn’t too far behind, and the nation is hoping that some of the tournament’s worst work will be completed, at least in part, with prison labor, according to a story from the Associated Press’ James Ellingworth.

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Fear not, these incarcerated folks would not be building the World Cup stadia. Federal Penitentiary Service director Alexander Rudy told the Kommersant business newspaper that his agency was keen to use prisoners for “tasks that, let’s say, wouldn’t appeal to the ordinary citizen.”

From the AP:

The Russian prison service is backing a bid by Alexander Khinshtein, a lawmaker from the ruling United Russia party, to allow prisoners to be taken from their camps to work at factories, with a focus on driving down the costs of building materials for World Cup projects.

“It’ll help in the sense that there will be the opportunity to acquire building materials for a lower price, lower than there is currently on the market,” Khinshtein told The Associated Press. “And apart from that it’ll make it possible to get prisoners into work, which is very positive.”

Russian prison labor schemes have faced allegations that prisoners are routinely underpaid or forced to work long hours. In 2013, the then-imprisoned Pussy Riot band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova went on hunger strike in protest at working conditions in her prison camp.

It’s all about saving money with the ruble taking a dive. The workers would make close to $300 a month for the full-time work. Brutal. Remember that plenty of prisoners in Russia are there for crimes that wouldn’t be in many other nations.

And all this with Sepp Blatter looking set for another stay in charge of FIFA.