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Convicts in former Stalin labour camp region eyeing 'Chateau Permafrost' wine

By The Siberian Times reporter
29 October 2015

Prisoners proudly growing vines in Kolyma where the average annual temperature is minus 3C.

Convicts are growing vines and hope for their first grapes next year. Picture: Federal Penitentiary Service in Magadan region

Prison colony Number 4 in Magadan region is a throwback to the Stalin era in the 1930s. Nevertheless, a few things have changed since then. Rather than political prisoners, this long-term jail now houses serious criminals - murderers, rapists, robbers, and repeat offenders.

In jail greenhouses, they are growing vines and hope for their first grapes next year. The inmates are enjoying success after branching out into horticulture. 

Garden in prison


Garden in prison

The colonies earned more than 250,000 roubles ($4,000) from sales of their produce. Pictures: Federal Penitentiary Service in Magadan region

Here and at Prison colony Number 2, prisoners have achieved good crops of cucumbers, greens, and radish. An innovation this summer were crops of carrot and beetroot. 

'More than a ton of cucumbers, 60 kilograms of green onion, 50 kg of greens and radishes, 30 kilograms of beetroot and 18 kg of carrot were collected this year,' said one source. The colonies earned more than 250,000 roubles ($4,000) from sales of their produce. 

Map


Colony No 4

All in an area of permafrost which is far colder than places on the same latitude in western Russia, for example St Petersburg. Picture: The Siberian Times, Panoramio

As well as the grape experiment, convicts will next year try their luck at tomatoes, courgettes and pumpkins. All in an area of permafrost which is far colder than places on the same latitude in western Russia, for example St Petersburg.

The climate here in Magadan is more akin to Murmansk, which is 1,000 kilometres further north, and above the Arctic Circle. The average July temperature in Magadan is a bracing 12C.

Comments (2)

chateaux Permafrost, THAT would be a sales gimmick indeed!
Benedikt, Moscow,Russia
29/10/2015 16:56
3
0
Good work! Please, what is the grape variéty (cépage) ?
Jocelyne, FRANCE
29/10/2015 14:29
9
0
1

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