Valery Pshenichny, 56, sometimes called the "Russian Elon Musk" was tortured, raped and killed in a St. Petersburg prison. His spine was broken, there were lacerations and stab wounds on his body, electric shock marks, and burns from pouring boiling water into his mouth. Russian entrepreneur Valery Pshenichny's jailers tortured and brutally murdered him, without even bothering to hide the evidence. Prison authorities callously dubbed his death a "suicide," but forensics experts disagreed.
Pshenichny’s colleagues called him Russia's Elon Musk, because he developed a unique technology for the construction and repair of submarines. He was accused of embezzling 100 million rubles ($1.6 million) from a 2015 project on the construction of military submarines for the Russian Defense Ministry. However, Pshenichny suspected his business partner, Andrei Petrov, of embezzlement and reported him to law enforcement. Petrov was initially arrested, but was later released, after he agreed to testify against Pshenichny and another associate.
Prior to his untimely demise, Pshenichny managed to send three written messages to his wife urging her not to "pay anything to anyone." These messages sound like an indication that somebody was trying to extort money from Pshenichny. His wife recalls that when the authorities arrived to search their home, they looked at Pshenichny’s suits in his closet and said: “You’ll never need any of this again. All he’ll need is a grave, 1 by 2 meters in size.” It now seems clear they followed through on these ominous threats.
This shocking case is consistent with the endemic mistreatment of inmates in Russian prisons and pretrial detention facilities, especially when large sums of money are at stake.
With around 800,000 Russians in jail, Russia has the third largest prison population in the world, behind the United States and China. It has the second highest incarceration rate in the world, after Rwanda, according to the International Centre for Prison Studies.
Human rights activists regularly complain of violence in Russian prisons and argue that conditions are little changed from the Soviet era.
By Julia Davis - Russian Media Monitor is an independent publication created in 2014 to combat Russian propaganda. It features articles, reports and images by an investigative reporter, Russian media analyst and commentator, Julia Davis, M.S. She is an American citizen of Russian, Ukrainian and Polish ancestry, who worked professionally and traveled the world extensively. Julia is reporting on terrorism, homeland security, media bias and propaganda, foreign policy, corruption and other contemporary issues.