The state of Alexey Navalny’s health is deteriorating in prison, his lawyer Olga Mikhailova told on Wednesday, March 24.
“Yesterday his leg went numb. Before that his back hurt for a long time. On Friday, he was seen by a local neurologist, on Monday he was given two ibuprofen tablets, and that’s it. Naturally, he didn’t get better.”
According to Mikhailova, Navalny’s lawyers are currently near the Pokrov penal colony where he is in custody, but they aren’t being allowed inside on the pretext of “sensitive activities.”
Navalny’s chief of staff Leonid Volkov believes that the opposition politician may have been moved to the prison’s hospital, and that the prison administration wants to hide this fact.
On March 15, it was confirmed that Alexey Navalny was in custody at Penal Colony No. 2 (IK-2) in the city of Pokrov in Russia’s Vladimir region. That same day, Navalny’s associates uploaded a Facebook post on his behalf, in which he wrote that he was “doing well overall.”
Another social media post was published on Navalny’s behalf on March 22. It made no mention of the state of his health.
On Monday, Alexey Navalny confirmed that he is in custody at Penal Colony No. 2 in the town of Pokrov, northeast of Moscow. His whereabouts were unknown over the weekend after the news broke on Friday that he had been transferred out of a detention center in the nearby town of Kolchugino. Navalny says he’s “doing well overall,” though he described the notorious penitentiary as a “friendly concentration camp.” According to his lawyers, with whom Navalny met on Monday, the opposition politician is set to remain in a quarantine unit for the next two weeks, after which he will be integrated with the prison’s general population.
Alexey Navalny confirmed that he had been moved to Pokrov’s Penal Colony No.2 in social media posts made on his behalf during the day on Monday. Describing the conditions of his detention, Navalny wrote, “I haven’t yet seen any violence or even a hint of it, although by the tense posture of the convicts, standing at attention and afraid to turn their heads, I easily believe the numerous stories that here, in IK-2 Pokrov, people were beaten half to death with wooden hammers just recently.” The opposition politician underscored that the penitentiary operates based on the “literal fulfilment of endless rules.” In his words, the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) has “set up a real concentration camp 100 kilometers [62 miles] from Moscow.” “That’s what I call my new home ‘our friendly concentration camp’,” Navalny wrote, adding that he’s “doing well overall.”
IK-2 is a notoriously harsh penal colony, where the administration exercises total control over the lives of the inmates. In early March, Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (the FBK, which is considered a “foreign agent” in Russia) released a video about the penitentiary, featuring reports about prison staff beating inmates, including immediately upon arrival. Activist Konstantin Kotov, who served a sentence at Penal Colony No. 2, said that prisoners who defend their rights “can be reprimanded for anything, even an unbuttoned button,” which can, in turn, affect their eligibility for parole. Kotov’s lawyer Maria Eysmont said that in Penal Colony No. 2, “everything is aimed at making people feel completely dependent on the administration.”