"If you weren't Tolokonnikova, you would have had the shit kicked out of you a long time ago," say fellow prisoners with close ties to the administration. It's true: others are beaten up. For not being able to keep up. They hit them in the kidneys, in the face. Prisoners themselves deliver these beatings and not a single one of them is done without the approval and full knowledge of the administration. A year ago, before I came here, a gypsy woman in the third unit was beaten to death (the third is the pressure unit where they put prisoners that need to undergo daily beatings). She died in the medical unit of PC-14. The administration was able to cover it up: the official cause of death was a stroke. In another unit, new seamstresses who couldn't keep up were undressed and forced to sew naked. No one dares complain to the administration because all they will do is smile and send the prisoner back into the unit, where the "snitch" will be beaten on the orders of that same administration.
Prison wardens have now reportedly eased some of their regulations, prompting Alyokhina to end her fast. "It seems the public reaction [to Maria's strike] was so big that there was a political decision," Pyotr Verzilov, the husband of fellow Pussy Riot convict Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, told Reuters. "They organised an 'excursion' for Maria today, where she was shown that all her demands, like removing metal locks from doors and easing 24-hour surveillance on certain inmates, were met."
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