Russia is to open the largest prison in Europe next year, holding 4,000 inmates in conditions officials boast will meet 'European standards'.
Pictures published in Russian media have shown the plans and building site of the vast jail, which is in Vladimir Putin's home city of St Petersburg.
The new prison is a no-expense spared affair, with a sports complex including a sauna and 'fighting room', concert hall and even a museum.
Outside Russia's new prison, which will be the largest in Europe and hold 4,000 inmates.
Amenities: It has a sports complex including a sauna and 'fighting room', concert hall and even a museum
It will replace the notorious Kresty prison which housed political prisoners during the tsarist and Soviet eras. It will be known as Kresty-2.
Among those jailed in the old red brick Kresty were revolutionary Leon Trotsky, as well as members of the provisional government toppled by Lenin in the Bolshevik Revolution.
The prison gained a reputation as a tough place to be kept. In the mid-1990s the prison held more than 12,500 inmates, more than ten times its design capacity.
Currently no more than six inmates can be held in a cell originally designed for solitary confinement.
Vladimir Lukin, Russia's former human rights ombudsman, found during a visit to Kresty in 2008 'that the prison hospital was grossly inadequate and that prisoners in significant numbers had cut their arms with razor blades in protest at their conditions,' according to leaked U.S. Embassy cables hosted by WikiLeaks.
Nonetheless, despite its dark past, Kresty may be redeveloped as a luxury hotel after the site is auctioned.
Putin personally announced the construction of the new jail in 2006.
'It will be the most modern prison in Russia and the biggest in Europe,' said Gennady Kornienko, head of Russia's prison service.
Europe's current largest prison is believed to be France's Fleury-Merogis Prison on the outskirts of Paris which can hold some 3,800 detainees.
The development comes amid fears that Russia is reverting to authoritarianism a decade and a half into strongman Putin's rule. But Kornienko insisted the new jail would include modern facilities, making it a far cry from the gulag prison camps of the Stalin era .
"Every inmate will be allocated seven square metres which fits European standards," he said.
1 - prison cells; two blocks of cells, 1,792 people in each building. Architecturally they copy the old Kresty prison, but the new buildings are double the height with eight floors instead of four
2 - dormitory for inmates who serve as prison 'housekeepers' including dining room, gym, showers and bedrooms. Holds 280 people
3 - dining room with two halls for Kresty-2 personnel, one for 150, another for 30.
4 - church
5 - single cells to dangerous prisoners and punishment sweat boxes - for 216 inmates.
6 - passage ways
7 - hospital
8 - sport complex and rest rooms, with gym and sport rooms, fighting room, wardrobes, showers, sauna and other rooms. A shooting range for use by prison staff.
9 - garage
10 - reception with small cafe, shop and a desk accepting letter and parcels
11 - 5 storey administration building, with a court room, lawyers' offices, long and short term meeting rooms, concert hall and jail museum.
12 - entry and exit facility for new and released inmates, including sanitary inspection rooms, shower and 'disinfecting' facilities and an investigative ward.
Russia has the third highest prison population in the world, after the U.S. and China; however, take into account population size, and it has only the tenth highest prison population rate at 469 per 100,000.
The U.S. has the world's second highest prison population rate at 707 prisoners per 100,000 people. Russia does have by far the higest prison population rate in Europe.
The architecture of the new jail is modelled on the old Kresty jail but on a gargantuan scale.
Kresty prison - which currently holds 1,150 inmates - dates back to the 1730s but was redeveloped in the reign of Tsar Alexander III by Anthony Tomishko, whose ghost is said to haunt it.
In the first revolution of 1917, the jail was stormed by revolutionaries in an attempt to emulate the 'Storming of the Bastille' from the French Revolution.
They ended up freeing hundreds of hardened criminals, causing crime rates to soar.