Facebook Twitter


All these days it was impossible to write, although saying that 'there was a lot to write about' doesn't explain anything. Billions of events and experiences.


After the dinner: escort under guard. Another search - they took my watch away. After the search: prisoner truck. Compartment: 3 x 1.5 m with 14 (!) people inside, each with a couple of bags. 28 degrees Celsius outside and the compartment is not ventilated.


We are going for about an hour. We talk. Next to us are juvenile murderers going to the adult zone. The communication is dignified - 'cant' half to half with 'human' language. Tactful, even respectful questions, taking into account the fact that we (Serik Sapargali is next to me) are connected with the Zhanaozen case.


Most of the prisoners are sentenced to 10-12 years, only few of them - 4 and above. It's dark, hot and smelly - sweat, exhaust fumes, smoke. They all smoke, apart from me - even Serik smokes. But it's very informative and interesting. This was the first time I heard the name of the prison car - 'Stolypin'. It's the only way this car is referred to here.


We arrived at the 'Almaty-2' station. A prison truck is close to the 'Stolypin': 10 cm gap. We jump out, accompanied by brightly-boorish commands of the guards - one at a time! Everything is happening very fast, with a lot of swearing. Then we sit in the stuffiness of the 'Stolypin' nearly an hour. It is clear that these 'chases' are a part of the 'who is who' demonstration.


A 'Stolypin' is a type of a compartment van, but without compartments. Where the wall with a door should be - there are only bars and a gate. Where the windows are in a normal van - there is only a blank wall.


Also there's no table. The shelves are wooden, three on each wall. No luggage racks either. In a compartment (it also works as a hut here) there are shelves for 7 people - the middle shelf divides into two, creating a solid 'roof' over the lower shelves. There are 16 (!) of us in the hut right now.


We wait like this nearly an hour. We talk - this is most important here. Who is who, who knows who and from where, from which zone we came and where  we are going, who is the local crime boss and where, what are the rules and communicative possibilities - this is an example list of topics.


An hour later, a guard (senior) with sealed packages (mine is very thick) with personal data written on them (photo, full name, year of birth, article) calls out the names. We have to say 'here!' and complete the last name we hear with our first name, father's name, year of birth and so on.


They check the data and lead us out of the hut with our belongings. They want us to be close to each other, but not in the same cell if we are (as defendants) involved in the same case.


I end up in a hut with people connected to the Aktau case - they're young, born in 1987, but they do recognise me. It turns out that one of them used to live in a house where I used to work (in a TV company), and a second one used to go there.


The others in the hut are connected with cases of Atyrau, Taraz and Shymkent. All together: the defendants and the convicts. A Shymkent businessman provides 'treats' - he just received a package before the escort.


I try to help with what I have, but I left most of my belongings to my inmates in the detention centre. Guards give us only hot water (not enough), canned fish and bread. The fish are the cheapest available - none of my neighbours eat them. We are afraid of food poisoning - we eat only bread.


Each hut is designed for seven prisoners and in each hut there are 11-12 people. There are seven or eight huts like this. You can imagine the condition of the shared toilet - a SINGLE toilet for all of us.


The second one is there for the guards. The 'veterans' (there are people who have been riding the 'Stolypin' between 'centres' for two years) grind weed and smoke it, not deterred by the presence of the guards at all.


There are people who are intentionally being 'loaded' with weed for the escort to 'help all those in need'. They carry it through all the searches - none of it was ever found on me or the others, and half of us had some.


About eight people in the hut smoke marijuana, and the rest smokes cigarettes. I inhale it all - there's no other way around. The communication is normal - no one is pushy, we 'watch our language'.  Communication between huts is also possible. Our 'Stolypin' is hooked to a convoy going from Almaty to Uralsk. We'll go through Taraz, Shykment, Kyzylorda, Aktobe and Uralsk.


Those of us who are going to Aktobe or Aktau will get off in Aktobe in 2 days and will be placed in the Aktobe detention centre. There, we will have to wait a few days (they say until the 22th of May) for our escort. But more on this later.


The 'experienced' support the 'newcomers'. Whining is not appreciated. The train is going slow, bowing to each pole and letting everyone pass first. We arrive in Taraz around midday.

tags: Kozlov serik demonstrations chases sapargali murderers days write compartment almaty swering stolypin prison truck communication Vladimir Aktobe midday pass arrive loaded escort guards uralsk smoke

All Rights Reserved 2013 vladimirkozlov.org Legal Disclaimer About ODF Foundation