Contest of Prison Stars

Kalina Krasnaya (Snowball Berry Red) creative contest is held in Russia. Performers and composers of bardic songs, ballads and romances can participate in the contest. The only condition is that songs should be sung by convicts.

Nowadays, there are 875,300 convicts in Russia, Sergei Boltkov, the head of the organisational department of the Russian Justice Ministry's Main Directorate for the Execution of Punishments, told journalists on Thursday. According to him, each convict has a chance to show his musical talent.

The first stage of Kalina Krasnaya has already revealed the most talented convicts. The final stage of the contest will take place in Moscow in October 2003. Many Kalina Krasnaya participants have musical education, there are even conservatory graduates.

The winners will be presented with hi-fis. However, a trip to Moscow and two weeks of free life in normal conditions will be the main award for most convicts, Boltkov said. But he gave no details on the place where convicts will stay and if they move round the city freely or with escort.