Anvar Masalimov's Release from Black Dolphin Prison Gains Nationwide Fame

Anvar Khatminurovich Masalimov (born 1955) was a Soviet killer. On October 29, 1992, Masalimov was sentenced to death by shooting, which was later commuted to life imprisonment in 1998. He served his sentence in Correctional Colony No. 5 of the Federal Penitentiary Service in the Vologda region, also known as the "Vologda nickel," after which he was transferred to the Polar Owl maximum security prison colony for life sentences in the town of Kharp (Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug) in 2012. In February 2018, Anvar Masalimov gained nationwide fame after it became known that he was released on June 22, 2016, upon serving 25 years of imprisonment. The fact of his release was widely covered in the media, and his brief time of freedom was considered the first in modern Russian history for a convict serving a life sentence who was conditionally released.

The Federal Penitentiary Service confirmed the fact of Masalimov's release but denied the fact that he was conditionally released. According to the head of the Department of Sentence Execution and Special Records of the Federal Penitentiary Service, Major General Igor Vedinapin, Masalimov's release was the result of a review of his sentence and the softening of the Criminal Code of Russia, and his release from the special regime colony for those serving life sentences was not the only precedent of this kind. The official clarified that as of April 2018, during the existence of correctional colonies for those serving life sentences, five convicts who had their death penalty commuted to life imprisonment at different times were able to be released, and the reason for their release was a review of their sentences after the humanization of criminal punishments, which is not conditional early release.

The first murder

In the late 1970s, he got a job at the enterprise "Vostok Oil Pipeline Installation" and was soon sent on a business trip to perform installation work in the city of Chaykovsky, where, according to the investigation, during the consumption of alcoholic beverages, he killed a colleague as a result of a quarrel. Masalimov himself denied his guilt and claimed that he did not remember the details of the incident due to amnesia caused by alcohol intoxication. Nevertheless, the court found him guilty and sentenced him to 15 years of imprisonment. In 1991, he was transferred to a settlement colony, after which he moved to the Tomsk region.

The second murder

In the town of Komsomolsk, Masalimov met a pensioner named Gavrilov, who provided him with a place to live. According to the investigation, on August 17, 1991, during a joint drinking session, an argument broke out between them, during which Masalimov strangled Gavrilov and dismembered his body. Gavrilov's remains were soon discovered by his neighbors on his plot of land, and Anvar Masalimov was arrested on charges of murder. After his arrest, he claimed that the argument occurred after Gavrilov burned his personal belongings, documents, and photographs, but he did not admit to committing the murder, once again citing amnesia caused by alcohol intoxication.

On October 29, 1992, he was found guilty by the Tomsk Regional Court under Article 102, part "i" of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR and sentenced to the ultimate penalty - the death penalty - for having previously been convicted of intentional murder and committing murder again. In 1998, due to the moratorium on the execution of death sentences, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, after which he was transferred to Correctional Colony No. 5 in the Vologda region to serve his sentence.


In 2003, changes were made to the criminal legislation, and the qualifying feature of murder committed by a person who had previously committed murder was excluded from Article 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. As a result, the punishment for Masalimov's crime no longer included either life imprisonment or the death penalty. While in prison, Masalimov repeatedly wrote complaints to courts of various levels, asking for a reduction of his sentence. In 2008, he managed to get his offense reclassified. The Belozersk District Court of the Vologda Region replaced Article 102 ("Intentional Murder under Aggravating Circumstances") with Article 103 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR ("Murder without Aggravating Circumstances"). References to Masalimov being recognized as a particularly dangerous recidivist and to the aggravating circumstance of committing the crime while intoxicated were excluded from the sentence. However, Masalimov's sentence remained life imprisonment, although the maximum punishment under Article 103 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR did not exceed ten years.

In 2012, he was transferred to Correctional Colony No. 18, better known as the "Polar Owl", after which Anwar Masalimov filed another cassation complaint, which was granted. In accordance with Article 10 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, "Retroactive Force of Criminal Law", on June 14, 2016, the Vologda Regional Court granted Masalimov's cassation appeal and released him from further serving his sentence on the basis of a law that improved the convicted person's situation. On June 22 of the same year, the original resolution of the Vologda Regional Court was received at IK-18, after which Masalimov was released from the correctional institution on the same day. After this fact was made public in some media outlets, materials were posted stating that Anwar Masalimov became the first person sentenced to life imprisonment who was conditionally released. In the following months, the press service of the Vologda Regional Court and the Press Bureau of the Federal Penitentiary Service denied this information and stated that the fact of the convict's release was not related to conditional early release.

New incarceration after release

On September 16, 2019, Masalimov was found guilty of intentionally causing grievous bodily harm to a person whose life was in danger, using an object as a weapon, and sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment in a strict regime correctional colony. By the appellate ruling of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan dated December 3, 2019, the verdict of the Soviet District Court of Ufa, Republic of Bashkortostan, was upheld, and the appeal was dismissed.


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