Inmates at one of Russia's harshest detention centers are forced to listen to Bon Jovi and AC/DC on repeat, detainee says

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Inmates at one of Russia's harshest detention centers are forced to listen to Bon Jovi and AC/DC on repeat, detainee says
Bon Jovi and a Russian flag by barber wire in a composite image.Getty Images; MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP via Getty Images
  • Detainees at Kapotnya-7 are subjected to daily blasts of Bon Jovi and AC/DC songs, an inmate said.
  • He shared the songs featured on a playlist that those awaiting trial are made to listen to every day.
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Detainees in one of Russia's strictest pre-trial detention centers are forced to listen to songs by Bon Jovi and AC/DC on repeat every morning, according to a prisoner being held there.

Newsweek was the first to report on the repetitive playlist, which detainee Grigory Melkonyants said is blasted via a loudspeaker at the Kapotnya-7 pre-trial detention center.

Melkonyants, who was imprisoned in August, is one of the heads of Golos, an election watchdog, which was declared a "foreign" agent by Russia in August 2021.

Melkonyants was detained after Russian authorities said he was working with "undesirable" international organizations.

Golos shared the songs in the form of a Spotify playlist in a message on Telegram on Monday.

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"Grigory Melkonyants, who has spent 100 days in a pre-trial detention center, recorded which songs are played on the internal radio in the pre-trial detention center in the morning," the message said.

"This playlist is repeated day after day, month after month," it said. "They are heard every morning by thousands of Russians awaiting trial, including political prisoners."

Golos said it added the songs to a public playlist "so you can understand how they feel."

The songs include "It's My Life" and "One Wild Night" by Bon Jovi, as well as "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC, interspersed with Russian patriotic tunes.

Oddly, there are also three songs by the American musician Moby.

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Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition leader who has been imprisoned for more than a decade, was previously held in Kapotnya-7.

Another former inmate is Ilya Yashin, who wrote on Facebook in August 2022 about his time at the detention center, which he said observed a strict "red regime."

Yashin, an opposition politician who was arrested in June last year, described the conditions, citing an example of one of his cellmates being sent to solitary confinement for leaving bed to make tea.

According to Public Verdict, a Russian human rights group, pre-trial detention centers in Russia are often overcrowded, lack adequate medical care and cleaning, and are poorly ventilated.

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