Putin critic ‘doing well’, located in Siberia prison

Moscow: Alexei Navalny is “doing well,” his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said, adding that the Russian opposition figure had been located in a penal colony in Russia’s far north, in the Yamalo-Nenets region of western Siberia. The Kremlin critic has been missing for weeks, with many fearing for his life.

“We have found Alexey Navalny. He is now in IK-3 settlement of Kharp in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District,” Yarmysh wrote on social media, using alternative spellings for Navalny and the region’s names. “His lawyer visited him today,” she said.

Navalny’s whereabouts had been unknown since early December, with friends and family unable to reach him, and court appointments in the various cases against him had been delayed without authorities providing reasons why. This had prompted concern among his supporters and international criticism.

“We have found Alexei!” the manager of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation organization, Ivan Zhdanov, said. “The conditions there are brutal,” he said. According to Zhdanov, there is permafrost at the camp, it’s very difficult to reach and no letters are delivered there. Kharp is a remote town of around 6,500 people, according to a 2010 census, in the Ural mountains.

Zhdanov said the move should not come as a surprise. He has repeatedly accused the Kremlin of trying to isolate Navalny ahead of the presidential election on March 17, 2024. President Vladimir Putin is expected to win another term.

The US State Department condemned Navalny’s detention as “unjust” and expressed concern over the conditions in the prison. Washington condemned the “malicious targeting” of Navalny and called for his “immediate release, without conditions.”

Navalny, 47, made a name for himself by publicly calling out corruption at the Kremlin, and first made a run to become Moscow‘s mayor in 2013. He is the founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, known in Russia as the FBK.

Image courtesy of Flickr

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