Russia to free World War II prisoners?

Here’s a story that raises far more questions than it answers:

Under the headline “Russia may free 45,000 prisoners of second world war,”  the Russian Information Agency Novosti, a state-owned news agency, reported Friday that the country “could release 45,000 people imprisoned in the country since the second world war and grant amnesty to 300,000 convicts to mark the 65th anniversary of its Victory Day May 9.”

The amnesty, to be declared by the Russian parliament, would come into effect May 9, when the country celebrates the 65th anniversary of its victory over Nazi Germany in the World War II, the news agency reported.

War veterans, the disabled and those convicted of minor crimes could be eligible for the Victory Day amnesty, it added.

So, if one reads this story correctly, Russia has at least 45,000 individuals it has imprisoned since 1945? That’s seems not only remarkable, but utterly improbable.

It’s unlikely the US, by comparison, has even a single person who has been behind bars for 65 straight years. The closest appears to be William Heirens, imprisoned since 1946 for murder. 

Afterall, someone who has been behind bars since 1945 has to be at least 65 years old, even if they began their imprisonment on the day they were born. An individual incarcerated as a teen would now be in their 80s.

And for all the US prison system’s woes, it’s a walk in the park compared to the old Soviet gulag, where many of these folks would have spent a good bit of their sentence.

One has to suspect something was lost in the translation of this story from Russian to English.

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