A deputy warden has been digging up more than old bones in a Russian penitentiary which has been active since 1771. It turns out that Butyrka, Russia’s oldest prison, has become the center of illegal crypto mining activities, as an underground mining farm was found to have been running for at least quarter of a year in the psychiatric ward of the most infamous prison in Moscow.
Stealing Power by Abusing Power
The deputy warden of Butyrka, who has been accused of illegal crypto mining activities, was assisted by a team of co-workers, and could be charged with stealing electricity, as well as abuse of power. The mining equipment was installed in the building of the psychiatric hospital and has been running since November 2021. The operation was active for approximately a quarter of a year until February 2022.
The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation calculates that 8,400 kW of electric power was stolen during the period, and evaluates the losses incurred to be 62,000 rubles, or $1091,07 USD at today’s exchange rate. The deputy warden is being charged with taking “actions that clearly go beyond his powers, thereby significantly violating the legally protected interests of the society and the state.’
Russians Flocking to Crypto Mining for Extra Income
In the midst of the economic sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of neighboring Ukraine, many Russian citizens have turned to illegal crypto mining in historically low-cost locations. Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk are two such examples, and have become notorious for blackouts and disruptions caused by crypto mining related operations. Such incidents have typically occurred in residential areas where the electrical grid simply cannot handle the excessive load.
Russian Anti-Monopoly Unit is Raiding Underground Miners
Underground crypto mining has become a frequent activity in Tatarstan and Dagestan too. The Anti-Monopoly Unit raided over 500 places and seized over 1,500 devices already. Some cases include gas stations, schools, libraries in Makhachkala, Dagestan’s capital city.
An Attempt to Control Crypto Activities Is Forthcoming
The members of the Russian State Duma are working on their first ever crypto bill. Though the timeframe is currently vague, the Minister of Finance is adamant that it will happen “eventually”, despite strong opposition from the representatives of the Central Bank. In the meantime, the Anti-Monopoly Unit has proposed to increase electricity costs as a way to curb crypto mining.