OREANDA-NEWS. Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed Alexander Kalashnikov from the post of director of the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Russian Federation. Putin's decree was published on Thursday, November 25, by the Kremlin's press service. Arkady Gostev, who served as Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, was appointed the new head of the Federal Penitentiary Service.

An informed source told Interfax that the main reason for Kalashnikov's resignation was «incidents involving torture in colonies and pre-trial detention centers in the Saratov region and other regions that received a wide public response».

In early October, the founder of the human rights project Gulagu.net Vladimir Osechkin said that the organization received and exported from Russia several dozen gigabytes of videos, photographs and other documents that confirm the systemic nature of torture in Russian colonies and pre-trial detention centers in Irkutsk, Vladimir and Saratov regions. This information was provided to human rights defenders by programmer Sergey Saveliev, who served time in one of the colonies and was engaged in servicing video recorders and surveillance cameras there.

Gulagu.net caused a wide resonance in Russia. The Communists in the State Duma called for a parliamentary investigation of torture in Russian colonies. Nevertheless, the State Duma did not support this initiative because of the position of deputies from the ruling United Russia party in the country.

The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation announced the initiation of criminal cases against FSIN employees on the facts of sexual violence and abuse of official authority with the use of violence. In total, according to the Prosecutor General's Office, more than 35 criminal cases are being investigated on the facts of the use of violence in places of deprivation of liberty that took place in the institutions of the Federal Penitentiary Service in the Khabarovsk Territory, Belgorod Region, Irkutsk, Saratov regions.