Rich Russians indulge in fancy English-style homes with lawns, frequent pubs, go shopping in London – but now those behind bars are getting in on the act.
The Russian prison service Gufsin has posted photos of red British phone boxes and a mural of Big Ben – all the creations of Siberian prisoners.
The phone boxes are real – so that inmates can stay in touch with friends and relatives, Gufsin said.
Russian-UK relations are distinctly chilly, but London’s allure goes far.
The inmates of penal colony No 8 in Novosibirsk region even upgraded the old-fashioned British phone boxes by installing phones with video links.
This Russian fantasy London appears blissfully remote from the shabby phone boxes seen in much of Britain today – boxes left obsolete by smart phones.
The Westminster mural is there “to convey to the maximum the atmosphere of London”, Gufsin said online.
One Russian with the Twitter handle “NolAmbitsiy” commented on the prison innovation: “Mum, where’s my Dad? … In London, son.”
The Gufsin spokesman Oleg Ogulya told local website ngs.ru that the colony No 8 inmates have a reputation for arts and crafts. They have previously made small fountains and models of planes, rockets and industrial robots which are on display next to public buildings.