Concerns about Alexei Navalny’s poor health in a Russian penal camp are growing. The Kremlin critic is protesting against a lack of medical care with a hunger strike. Now he is writing from prison.
Alexej Navalny reported from the prison camp in an emotional post. “The life of a convict is worth less than a pack of cigarettes,” writes the 44-year-old Kremlin critic. And further: “Who is lying there in a bathrobe, bald head and glasses on a bed with a Bible in hand? That is I.”
The Bible is the only book he’s got in the last few weeks. In addition, “stupidly” he has been denied a doctor’s visit and access to medication. “My back pain has migrated to my leg. Parts of my right and now my left leg have lost their feeling. “
The Kremlin critic also writes that he is tormented by sleep deprivation. He is woken up eight times a night. These are the reasons for his hunger strike.
It became known on Wednesday that he was on a hunger strike. When asked why he refused to eat, he wrote: “This question worries only those who were not prisoners. Outwardly it looks complicated. But from the inside it is simple: they have no other methods of struggle, so they go on hunger strike. ”There are other methods, but they should be avoided.
With the deprivation of food, Alexej Navalny also exposes his already weakened body to extreme stress. The 44-year-old survived a poison attack seven months ago.
Alexei Navalny supporters are very concerned about the health of the Kremlin critic. This is “very worrying,” says Ruslan Schaweddinow, a Navalny employee. Nobody can say how the organism reacts to the refusal to eat after poisoning.
Alleged violations of requirements
Navalny is imprisoned in the notorious penal colony No. 2 in the small town of Pokrov, around a hundred kilometers east of Moscow. After his return from Germany, where he had been treated after the poison gas attack in August 2020, he was sentenced to more than two and a half years in prison for alleged violations of probation conditions. The penal camp is considered to be one of the toughest in Russia. Navalny called it a “concentration camp”.
The prison authorities reject Nawalny’s allegations and assert that he is receiving all necessary medical care. The prominent prisoner is also not disturbed in his sleep: “The prison officers strictly adhere to the right of all prisoners to an uninterrupted eight-hour sleep.”
Economist: “Desperate Step”
The exact circumstances under which Navalny is holding his hunger strike is not known. In the past, Navalny’s allies had already chosen the hunger strike as a means of protest: Lyubov Sobol only consumed fluids for 32 days in the summer of 2019 because she had been banned from participating in the Moscow local elections; in 2015, Leonid Volkov, the right hand, spent time Navalnys, twelve days on hunger strike.
The economist Sergei Guriev, an ally of Navalny, describes his action as a “desperate step”. The hunger strike shows that Navalny, according to his own perception, “has nothing to lose, his situation is unbearable”.