U.S. State Department Makes Concerning Announcement About Brittney Griner’s Transfer to Russian Penal Colony

by Samantha Whidden
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(Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

Following the news that Brittney Griner has been transferred to a Russian penal colony, the U.S. State Department is now making some concern claims about the move. According to FOX News, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price stated that the Russian government failed to inform the White House of Brittney Griner’s transfer to a penal colony. Price further claimed that Russia has also yet to engage in targets regarding the release of both Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan with a “seriousness” of purpose. 

“Well, the fact is and what the president was alluding to, is the fact that the Russians up until now have not engaged with the seriousness of purpose,” Price explained.  “In the constructive approach that we would have liked to have seen. We put forward this substantial proposal, as Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken announced a number of months ago now, for the release of Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner.” 

Price then stated that the fact that both Brittney Griner and Whelan remain behind bars is a testament to the fact that this process has not moved as quickly as the U.S. would have liked. “You’ve heard us say that from our end. This process has not been static. We put forward this substantial proposal. We’ve had discussions with the Russians. Those discussions are continuing.

Price further stated the State Department is continuing to look for ways that it can secure the release of Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner. Price went on to add that the U.S. is also continuing to “press” the Russians to engage seriously and in good faith on the original proposal that the State Department has put forward. 

As previously reported, Brittney Griner has been moved to a notorious Russian penal colony. Prisoners say the location has unusually harsh conditions. 

Punk Rocker Describes What Brittney Griner May Expect in Russian Penal Colony

While speaking to NPR, Maria Alyokhina, who was part of the feminist punk collective Pussy Riot, describes what Brittney Griner may expect while being at a Russian penal colony. 

“If jail is possible to imagine, then a penal colony, you can only imagine reading dissidents’ books,” Alyokhina explained. She also suggested reading Soviet writers such as Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who spoke about the grim curtly of the Soviet camps in The Gulag Archipelago. 

“Of course it has a bit better conditions than [the] original gulag system from the 1950s,” Alyokhina continued. “But the sense is the same. It is a labor camp.”

Alyokhina then said that Brittney Griner can expect to live in “the zone,” which is a set of barracks with 80 to 100 women sleeping to a room with few, if any, amenities. “For 100 women, there are like three toilets and no hot water.”

In Russian prison colonies, Alyokhina says prisons are expected to perform forced labor. “This is a really terrible institution which we received from [the] Soviet Union and it’s totally inhuman. The cynical thing is, the work the state provides to the prisoners is sewing uniforms for Russian police and the Russian army.”