AAccording to his own statements, Lexei Navalnyi is being held in a “small, isolated group” in the “strict regime” penal colony to which the Russian opposition leader was transferred in mid-June, in which “almost all of them are murderers”. It is a “prison in prison with a completely crazy and unbearable regime,” said a post on Instagram on Thursday. Such articles are usually published after visits by Navalnyj’s lawyers.
On Tuesday, the prisoner, whose various convictions, according to human rights organizations, were politically motivated and in some cases objected to by the European Court of Human Rights, reported that the administration of his new penal camp in the village of Melekhovo, 240 kilometers east of Moscow, had given him an initial reprimand. She justified this with a report from his former penal colony in Pokrov, a hundred kilometers east of Moscow, where Navalnyj had been held since spring 2021, that on the last morning he had washed in a T-shirt instead of prisoner clothing. The new reprimand meant that 30 previous reprimands did not expire, but were valid for another year and enabled the new prison camp administration, among other things, to take him to solitary confinement in the “penal isolator”.
Using inmates to harass others
Navalny described the other prisoners in his group as “calm” and “benevolent”. His nine-year prison sentence – which was imposed after a flimsy fraud trial – was said to be the shortest in his “train”, on average his fellow inmates had sentences of 13 to 15 years, double murderers 19 or 20 years. It is easier to “sit” with prisoners who have been sentenced to long terms because there is less hectic and conflict; however, the prisoners are very dependent on the camp administration in their efforts to be released on parole, Navalnyj wrote. This can be seen as an allusion to the traditional use of prisoners by Russian prison administrations to harass others.
The “strict” penal colony IK-6, in which Navalnyj is allowed to receive fewer visitors and fewer letters and parcels than in his previous one, is notorious for cases of torture and ill-treatment. Navalny was recently charged with “founding an extremist group” and faces 15 years in prison. What is meant is his foundation for the fight against corruption. Navalny’s comrades-in-arms are continuing their work from exile. Last week, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller was assigned numerous luxury properties such as palaces in the neo-baroque style popular with President Vladimir Putin’s elite.