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Putin Critic Alexei Navalny’s Last Weeks In Arctic Prison In His Own Words


Alexei Navalny usually ridiculed jail routines. (File)

Moscow:

Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most outstanding opposition chief, spent his closing weeks in a penal colony above the Arctic Circle.

His 19-year jail sentence was extensively condemned by rights teams and within the West as punishment for daring to cross President Vladimir Putin.

By way of messages handed by way of his legal professionals, he posted usually on social media in a characteristically optimistic and light-hearted tone.

Here’s what Navalny’s closing weeks regarded like, in his personal phrases:

‘Ho-ho-ho’ 

On December 26, Navalny posted his first message from his new Arctic jail colony, having disappeared for weeks after being moved from his former jail nearer to Moscow.

The icy IK-3 jail colony within the Siberian area of Yamal-Nenets, some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) from his native Moscow, can be the place he spent his closing few weeks.

“I’m your new grandfather Frost,” Navalny stated, in his regular tongue-in-cheek method.

“I’ve a tulup, an ushanka and I’ll have valenki quickly,” he stated, referring to conventional furry Russian winter coats, hats and boots.

“I now reside above the Arctic Circle … However I do not say ‘ho-ho-ho, I say ‘oh-oh-oh’ after I look out the window, the place first there’s night time, then night, then night time once more.”

Navalny stated he was drained from the 20-day journey from his earlier jail within the central Vladimir area, near Moscow.

“Don’t fret about me, every thing is nicely. I’m so blissful that I lastly acquired right here.”

‘Fascinated with Leonardo DiCaprio’ 

Just a few weeks later, after a spell in quarantine, Navalny shared extra particulars about his situations within the new Arctic jail.

“The concept that Putin was happy (sufficient) that he had put me in a barracks within the Far North that they might cease throwing me in solitary confinement was … naive,” the 47-year-old stated.

Jail authorities informed him: “‘Convict Navalny refused to introduce himself within the appropriate method’. Seven days in solitary confinement.”

Navalny spent greater than 300 days in solitary confinement — or a “punishment cell” as his colleagues known as it, primarily based on its title in Russian — throughout his three years in jail.

He was ordered there on 27 events, usually for minor infringements of jail protocol.

Allowed out for a day by day stroll within the pitch black of at 6:30 a.m., Navalny stated: “I promised myself I’d exit in any climate.”

His cell was “11 steps from wall to wall”.

“It has by no means been colder than minus 32 (Celsius). Even in such a temperature you’ll be able to stroll greater than half an hour — solely when you’ve got the time to develop again a nostril, ears and fingers,” he stated in a January 9 publish.

“Immediately I used to be strolling, freezing and interested by Leonardo DiCaprio and his trick with a useless horse in The Revenant,” he stated, referring to a scene during which his character crawls into an animal carcass to maintain heat.

“I do not suppose it could work right here. A useless horse would freeze to dying inside quarter-hour.”

‘I am Russian’ 

Navalny additionally usually ridiculed jail routines.

On January 22, he stated the jail wardens at IK-3 would wake everyone up at 5 a.m. to play the Russian nationwide anthem.

“And proper after that — the second most vital tune within the nation: Shaman’s ‘Ya Russky,'” he stated.

The tune — which suggests “I am Russian” — has change into an unofficial anthem for President Vladimir Putin.

“Think about the scene. Yamal-Nenets area. Polar night time. In a penal colony of convicts, prisoner Navalny serving 19 years — who the Kremlin’s propaganda for years has scolded for participating in Russian marches — is exercising to ‘Ya Russky'”.

‘Ship me cash’ 

In a courtroom listening to on 15 February — a day earlier than his dying — Navalny was filmed joking with the decide over a stream of fines he had been issued.

“Your honour, I’ll ship you my private account quantity so that you simply, along with your large wage as a federal decide, can ship me cash,” he stated, laughing.

“I’m working out of money, and because of your selections, it should run out even sooner. So ship it!”

‘I really like you’ 

Navalny’s final publish, printed on Valentine’s Day, was devoted to his spouse, Yulia.

“Child, you and I’ve every thing, similar to within the tune: cities, airfield lights, blue snowstorms and 1000’s of kilometres between us,” he stated, quoting a preferred Soviet-era tune.

“However I really feel that you’re close to me each second, and I really like you an increasing number of.”

(Apart from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is printed from a syndicated feed.)

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