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Updated December 26th, 2023 at 12:57 IST

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny found in Siberian penal colony two weeks after he went missing

Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was finally located at a penal colony in Siberia, two weeks after his team lost contact with the Kremlin critic.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny gestures during a court hearing in Moscow
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny gestures during a court hearing in Moscow | Image:AP
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Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was finally located at a penal colony in Siberia, two weeks after his team lost contact with the Kremlin critic. On Monday, Navalny's spokesperson Kira Yarmysh notified that a Russian-lawyer-turned-politician was found at a prison colony located in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District, CNN reported. On December 11, Navalny's lawyers claimed that his team had lost contact with him and the last time they saw him was when he was serving his sentence at a penal colony about 150 miles east of Moscow.  

“We have found Alexey,” his spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said in a statement on X, formally known as Twitter. “He is now in IK-3 in the settlement of Kharp in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District," Yarmysh added. She mentioned that the Kremlin critic's lawyer had visited him on Monday and mentioned that he was “doing well”. The Russian leader missed his trial hearings in a Russian court after his team mentioned that his whereabouts were unknown.    

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The ‘polar wolf’ of the penal colony

Ivan Zhdanov, director of Navalny’s anti-corruption foundation said that the  IK-3 penal colony in Kharp where Navalny is now being held is famously touted as “Polar Wolf” because of the harsh conditions it has to offer. “The conditions there are harsh, with a special regime in the permafrost zone. It is very difficult to get there, and there are no letter delivery systems,” Zhdanov wrote on X, formally known as Twitter. 

The critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin was sentenced to 19 years in prison after he was found guilty of creating an extremist community, financing extremist activities and numerous other crimes. At that time, he was already serving sentence of 11-and-a-half years in a maximum security facility on fraud and other charges which he has vehemently denied. Meanwhile, in a subsequent tweet, Zhdanov shared a long list of penal colonies and pre-trial detention centres where his team looked for the Russian politician. 

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Published December 26th, 2023 at 12:57 IST

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