26.01.2022

Navalny Says ‘Everything Fine’ in Message From Jail

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny quipped that “everything is fine” and made jokes about prison life Wednesday as he sent his first message from a detention center outside Moscow.

In the message posted on Instagram, President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent critic said he was being held in the Kolchugino detention center in the Vladimir region northeast of Moscow.

“But everything is fine with me, there’s even a chin-up bar in the exercise yard here,” he said.

Navalny was sentenced last month to two and a half years in a penal colony for breaching parole terms while in Germany recovering from a poisoning attack.

His message was posted after his defence team visited him in the Kolchugino jail, where he is under quarantine.

One of his lawyers, Olga Mikhailova, said he was expected to be held there until his sentence came into force and that he was in a good mood.

“He’s feeling well,” Mikhailova told AFP, adding that Navalny was sharing a cell with two people.

“The cell has nothing except a TV,” she said, adding that he could not receive letters or buy anything in jail.

Mikhailova said it was not yet clear where Navalny would eventually be serving out his full sentence.

A Moscow official had earlier said it would be at a prison in the town of Pokrov in the Vladimir region called Penal Colony No. 2.

In the light-hearted message, Navalny said he was not aware of what was happening in the world and has not yet managed to get any books from the jail library.

“That’s why the only entertainment is haute cuisine experiments,” he said, adding he and his cellmates were drying bread to make croutons.

Navalny Says Continuing Hunger Strike Despite Cough, Fever

“I am quoting the official data from today’s temperature measurement: ‘Navalny A.A., strong cough, temperature 38.1’,” he wrote, referring to degrees Celsius, or 100.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

“P.S. I am continuing my hunger strike, of course,” Navalny said.

The opposition politician is serving a two-and-a-half year sentence on old fraud charges in a penal colony some 100 kilometres (62 miles) east of Moscow known for its harsh discipline.

His latest statement from the colony comes after pro-Kremlin media on Friday launched an offensive aiming to disprove his complaints of mistreatment and lack of medical attention.

Two reports in pro-Kremlin outlets described Navalny as looking “quite normal” and saying he is incarcerated in a colony that is “practically exemplary”.

In his post Monday, Navalny said the reports had “not a single word of truth”.

As evidence, he wrote that a third person out of 15 total in his unit had been hospitalised with tuberculosis since his arrival at the penal colony in February.

“I am surprised that there is no Ebola virus here,” he quipped, adding: “such is our ‘ideal, exemplary colony’.”

Navalny was arrested on his return to Russia in January, after spending months in Germany recovering from a poisoning last summer that he blames on the Kremlin.

Earlier this month, Navalny, who is considered a flight risk by authorities, filed two complaints against prison officials, saying he is woken eight times a night by guards announcing to a recording camera that he is still in his cell.

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