Prigozhin himself spent several years in prison, so he is very close to the prisoners’ environment. He knows their language, knows their customs and also knows very well who the roosters are. “Roosters are at the absolute bottom of the social ladder among prisoners,” writes Owen. For any other prisoner, contact with them is basically unthinkable, unless he wants to quickly become a rooster himself. “You must not touch them, you must not share any object, food, cigarettes with them, you must not even talk to them if possible, they must not sleep with you in a cell or in the same prison section. They are completely separated,”
plus blogger and military analyst Kamil Galejev.
Now, how do you become a cock? Largely by consenting to it. Ofc nobody would ask you directly "wanna be a cock?" and nobody would ever agree. Agreement is given implicitly, step by step, by acting nicely, reasonably and avoiding confrontation. Which "moves you down" in hierarchy pic.twitter.com/9Pb5fDIHlh— Kamil Galeev (@kamilkazani) March 1, 2022
The roosters sleep in parts of the prison that are definitely not meant for that, usually right next to the toilet holes. They do the worst jobs, carrying out latrines, picking up food after other prisoners, cleaning the corridors, taking care of anything anyone tells them to do. “They can be raped by anyone at any time, they have to be available for it, they have no way to defend themselves, no one will stand up for them. Their status is known,” adds Galeyev. They eat the worst food, basically just leftovers, their spoon has a hole in the middle, they are not allowed to eat anything else. Their position is desperate, they are basically slaves without any rights within the prison.
Roosters don’t have to go to war
For that reason, it is practically impossible for such people to serve in the army or with the Wagners. They do take murderers and rapists, but they reject roosters. It can hardly be a unit composed of people who refuse to talk with some members, eat with them or cooperate with them in any way. “Paradoxically, due to their “untouchability”, roosters have the best chance of surviving the war in good health,” Owen thinks.
Just answer the question
Galeyev describes how a prisoner becomes a rooster. The process is gradual and very subtle. “It’s enough for someone to ask you anything about your life before going to prison. The only correct reaction is to refuse to talk about the matter at all, or even better to counterattack and demand that the person in question tell you something about himself.” But this is very difficult for newcomers, no one wants to immediately escalate the situation and oppose an innocent question. But as soon as you answer and say something about yourself, this information is immediately spread throughout the prison. Not only what you said, but that you answered, that you were soft, that you agreed to answer.
You automatically fall down the hierarchy without even knowing it. The more such moments occur, the deeper you sink until that it turns out that strange prisoners come to you, ask you for various services, threaten you, suddenly you have no friends anywhere, you find yourself at the very bottom of prison society and become a rooster. On the contrary, the only way to avoid falling into the basement like this is to show strength, aggressiveness, unpredictability. The worst reputation you can have in a Russian prison is a good, decent person who normally gets along with others and does not seek conflicts. Such a one has a rooster sticker on his forehead and very quickly becomes one.
Paradoxically, people who have committed less serious crimes fall to the bottom, and the chances of their correction are relatively decent. They become roosters in prison and come out as mentally and physically broken people. In prison, on the other hand, the most cruel and sadistic types with ties to the mafia and the underworld rule and have a good time. The system thus works the opposite way it should – it punishes the good and favors the bad.
Russian Prison Middle Ages
The entire system of cocks is of course well known to the prison administration, which not only does not solve it, but on the contrary allows its existence. Bullying, brutality, violence, torture, all of this has accompanied Russian prisons since time immemorial, but the current Putin regime is making them even worse. Not so long ago, horrific cases of torture and rape in Russian prisons were revealed, yet the system continues to function happily and there is no talk of any prison reform. It is remarkable that a nation that speaks of its greatness, superiority, cultural richness and defense of traditional ranks still has a prison system at the level of the barbaric Middle Ages.
WHERE TO GO NEXT: The roughest Russian Black Dolphin prison.