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Russian opposition politician is alive – lawyer

Russian opposition politician believed to have died is alive, but in prison. Alexei Navalny is one of the fiercest critic of Vladimir Putin.

Mr Navalny, considered one of Vladimir Putin’s leading opponents, has been in prison since 2021. However, since December 6th, his team had lost touch with him, prompting them to grow apprehensive.
“His lawyer saw him today. Alexei is fine,” Ms Yarmysh wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

She said her client had been moved to the IK-3 penal colony in Kharp in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District, in northern Russia.

He had previously been held in Melekhovo, 235 km (145 miles) east of Moscow.
Ms Yarmysh said Russian authorities were intent on isolating Mr Navalny and “trying to make his life as unbearable as possible”.

“This colony is very distant, it is very difficult to access it and for lawyers, it will be very difficult to go there and to see Alexei,” she added.

The new prison, nicknamed the “Polar Wolf” colony, is considered one of the toughest in Russia. Most detainees held there have been convicted of serious crimes.

Mr Navalny made his name as a campaigner against corruption, and a strong critic of Putin’s government, a stance that made him gather millions of views for his video investigations.

A charismatic campaigner, he seemed to be the only Russian opposition leader capable of mobilising people in large numbers across Russia to take part in anti-government protests.

But in 2020, he was poisoned in Siberia by what Western laboratories later confirmed to be a nerve agent.

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