NewsPutin's nemesis Navalny exiled to the Arctic 'Polar Wolf' prison ahead of Russian elections

Putin's nemesis Navalny exiled to the Arctic 'Polar Wolf' prison ahead of Russian elections

Alexei Navalny was sent to a penal colony in Charp, which is beyond the Arctic Circle.
Alexei Navalny was sent to a penal colony in Charp, which is beyond the Arctic Circle.
Images source: © Telegram

6:16 PM EST, December 26, 2023

The Kremlin's fear of Alexei Navalny and his supporters resulted in his imprisonment in 2021, with the intention of isolating him from the world as much as possible. His sudden disappearance in early December was announced by his spokesperson and lawyer. Almost three weeks later, we now know the fate of the Russian president's foremost adversary.

Narvalny was incarcerated in Moscow for some time, but now, he resides in the "Polar Wolf" penal colony in Charp, a remote location beyond the Arctic Circle. The penal institution is situated in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District in northern Russia, where freezing winter conditions prevail throughout the year, making it "virtually impossible to reach".

Kira Yarmysh, Navalny's spokesperson, reported his whereabouts in the "Polar Wolf" penal colony and confirmed his well-being. Apart from isolation, Navalny has experienced no harm. His lawyer was allowed to visit him; however, the length of his stay in Charp remains uncertain.

"His transfer to a penal colony located beyond the Arctic Circle is an attempt to isolate him further from the world," suggested Navalny's associate Leonid Volkov. The opposition's associates are convinced that Putin fears Navalny's potential influence on the elections and, thus, is keen on keeping him out of reach.

The penal colony's location is a literal frozen hell, as it's one of the northernmost penal facilities in Russia. Volkov asserted that "reaching this colony is nearly impossible; even sending letters is not feasible."

The independent Meduza website quoted Ivan Zhdanov, the head of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, stating that the conditions in penal colony number 3, "Polar Wolf", approximately 37 miles north of the Arctic Circle, are exceptionally severe, characterized by perpetual frost. The nearby town of Salekhard, located several miles away, has an airport.

Should the need arise, Russian authorities can swiftly reach Alexei Navalny, who would then be quickly transported to Moscow. This would be a journey of roughly three hours by flight.

Navalny, who has led large-scale demonstrations against the Russian authorities in recent years, was arrested in January 2021 upon returning to Russia from Germany after recovering from a poisoning attempt. Russian authorities have levied multiple criminal charges against him, resulting in convictions that amount to over 30 years imprisonment.

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