Prison – illustrative photo.
Moscow – A reality show about women maintaining partnerships with men serving sentences in prison facilities has started airing on the Russian TV channel Ju. The television broadcast the first part of the program called Žduli (Waiters) already in March of last year, but then interrupted the broadcast, probably in connection with the war in Ukraine, reported the Meduza news portal.
In the same way, in March of last year, at the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Russian viewers did not get to see the planned reality shows about couples with a big difference in the age of their partners and a program about women who got pregnant or want to get pregnant after the age of 45. The first episode of the latter program was finally broadcast on Wednesday.
Like the Ju channel, the First channel also moved away from entertainment content after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This station, associated with pro-Kremlin propaganda, did not broadcast any entertainment programs from February 25 last year until September, the Meduza portal noted. For example, the popular talk show Večernij Urgant, similar to the American Late Night Show, or programs such as Davaj poženimsya (Come and get married) or Modnyj prvomor (Fashion Verdict) disappeared from the program of the First Channel, which were replaced by programs about Ukraine.
Program about romantic relationships with convicts comes at a time when Russian prisoners are being talked about in connection with their recruitment by Wagner's (translated from Russian) private military company to fight in Ukraine.
“According to official statistics, as of January 1, 2022, 429,000 men were serving their sentences in Russian prisons. Almost every one of them has a loyal waiting girl at liberty. What compels women to connect their lives with someone on the other side of the barbed wire?” is heard at the beginning of the program.
In the newly broadcast episode, 28-year-old Angelina from the Saratov region, who is about to marry the imprisoned 37-year-old Emil Akopjan, appears. He has three years left on a nine-year sentence imposed for illegal possession of a weapon, drug possession and extortion by force. Akopyan is a recidivist – already at the age of 19, the court sent him behind bars for four years for intentional minor bodily injury and at the age of 29 for serious injury.
The human rights organization Russia Behind Bars pointed out in January that many of the men recruited for the war in Ukraine fell or deserted, in some cases to Russia and at gunpoint. According to the organization, Russia's prisons are emptying due to the practice of sending prisoners to war in Ukraine, while the remand prisons holding prisoners of war from Ukraine are filling up.