The Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia offered state defense conglomerate Rostec using prisoner labor to increase production of military equipment for the country’s armed forces, Russian daily newspaper Kommersant informed on Wednesday.

It is said that the head of Rostech, Sergei Chemezov, who is considered by many to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, received an offer from Arkady Gostsev, the head of the Russian penitentiary system: to use the labor of Russian prisoners as early as January.

“Possibilities of this kind of cooperation are now being considered in several directions,” the publication writes, citing an unnamed source in Rostec.

While the inmates cannot be used to build rockets or planes that require technicians, they can be used for a variety of low-skilled tasks such as assembly line work and construction, the source said.

In November, Putin is called on Russian manufacturers to increase both the volume and the quality of products produced for the army.

By January, Chemezau said in an interview about the fact that some Rostec-affiliated tank and aircraft production enterprises switched to a 24-hour production schedule due to increased demand due to the war in Ukraine.

Rostec, which also produces missiles and aircraft for the Russian military, unites 14 holdings and more than 700 enterprises in dozens of industries.

The state military conglomerate and the penitentiary system of Russia in 2017 revealed that they discussed the possibility of employment of prisoners in areas where high-tech and secret products are not involved.

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