Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny fears losing his leg in a penal colony where he is serving two and a half years, he said in an Instagram post Friday.
Navalny’s lawyers warned this week that his life may be in danger because of four weeks of severe back pain and loss of sensation in one of his legs. Prison authorities said Navalny is in “stable and satisfactory” condition, a claim dismissed by his allies.
In his latest post shared by members of his social media team, Navalny accused prison doctors of withholding his diagnosis after examining him last week.
“I simply fall when leaning on my right leg. It’s a little frustrating, I’ve been getting used to my right leg lately. I wouldn’t want to part with it,” Navalny said.
“It’s becoming difficult and very painful to get out of bed. The prison authorities take my complaints but aren’t doing anything,” he added.
President Vladimir Putin’s most vocal domestic opponent said he may have pinched his nerve from cramped conditions during his detention earlier this year.
Navalny, 44, was jailed in January immediately upon returning to Russia from Germany where he had been treated for a near-fatal poisoning with Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, that he blames on the Kremlin.
His jailing for violating parole on old fraud charges sparked mass nationwide protests, an outcry from rights groups in Russia and abroad and condemnation from Western governments.
In the Instagram post, Navalny said he had unsuccessfully called for medical assistance since the day he was transported under guard to one of Russia’s most notorious prisons.
“Once exiled former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who served 10 years in prison, told me the main thing is not to get sick,” Navalny wrote. “If you get seriously ill, you will die.”
“Now I’m learning this fact for myself.”
Navalny’s allies announced plans to stage new protests once they gather half a million signatures of people who plan to attend. Nearly 300,000 Russians in dozens of cities have signed up as of Friday evening, less than a week since the announcement.