MOSCOW (AP) — Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Tuesday issued a sarcastic statement about… Transferred to the Arctic Prison Colony Nicknamed the “Polar Wolf”, it is his first appearance since his companions lost contact with him three weeks ago.
Navalny, President Vladimir Putin's most prominent and persistent domestic enemy, is serving a 19-year prison sentence for extremism convictions. He was being held in central Russia's Vladimir region, about 230 kilometers (140 miles) east of Moscow, but his supporters said he had not been found as of December 6.
They said Monday that he had been traced to a prison colony notorious for harsh conditions in the Yamalo-Nenets region, about 1,900 kilometers (1,200 miles) northeast of Moscow.
Navalny said in a tweet on Twitter: “I am your new Santa Claus,” referring to his location above the Arctic Circle in the prison located in the town of Kharp.
The region is known for its long and strong winters. The town is located about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Vorkuta, whose coal mines were among the harshest of the Soviet concentration camp system.
Navalny, known for his sharp, humorous comments, said he was in a good mood after being transferred to the new prison, but noted that the darkness of the northern winter was depressing. Say 'oh-oh-oh' when I look out the window, where I can see night, then evening, then night again.”
Prisoner transfers in Russia often result in prisoners losing contact for weeks. Navalny's supporters say the transfer was arranged to keep Navalny out of public view amid Putin's announcement that he will run for another term as president in the March election.
Navalny has been imprisoned in Russia since January 2021, when he died He returned to Moscow After recovering in Germany from a nerve agent poisoning, which he blamed on the Kremlin. Before his arrest, he campaigned against official corruption and organized large anti-Kremlin protests.
Since then, he has received three prison sentences and spent months in isolation in Penal Colony No. 6 for alleged minor offences. He rejected all charges against him as politically motivated.
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