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Imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny describes harsh reality of ‘Polar Wolf’ Arctic prison


Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny confirmed Tuesday his arrival at what he described as a snowy prison above the Arctic Circle and said he was in good spirits despite a tiring 20-day journey to get there.

Navalny issued an update on concern of Western politicians.

His spokeswoman said Monday that Navalny, 47, was found in the IK-3 penal colony north of the Arctic Circle, located in Kharp in the Yamal-Nenets region, about 1,200 miles north -east of Moscow.

“I am your new Santa Claus,” Navalny jokingly wrote in his first message from his new prison, referring to the harsh weather conditions there.

“Well, I now have a sheepskin coat, an ushanka hat (a fur hat with flaps that cover the ears), and soon I will have valenki (traditional Russian winter shoes).

Navalny says he was located in a penal colony above the Arctic Circle nearly three weeks after contact with him was lost. REUTERS

“The 20 days of transfer have been quite tiring, but I am still in an excellent mood, as Father Frost should be.”

Navalny’s new home, known as the “Polar Wolf” colony, is considered one of the harshest prisons in Russia.

Most of the prisoners were convicted of serious crimes.

Winters are harsh, and temperatures there are expected to drop to around minus 18.4 degrees Fahrenheit over the next week.

a group of officers walks through a penal colony in the town of Kharp in the Yamalo-Nenetsk region, about 1,900 kilometers (1,200 miles) northeast of Moscow.
A group of officers walks through a penal colony in the town of Kharp in the Yamalo-Nenetsk region, about 2,000 kilometers northeast of Moscow. P.A.

About 40 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the prison was founded in the 1960s as part of what was once the Gulag system, Soviet forced labor camps, according to the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper.

Navalny, who thanked his supporters and everyone who showed concern for his well-being during his long transfer, said he saw guards armed with machine guns and guard dogs and went for a walk in the exercise area which he said was located in a neighboring cell. whose ground, he said, was covered with snow.

Otherwise, he said he had just seen the perimeter fence through a cell window.

“Anyway, don’t worry about me. I’m doing well. I am terribly happy to have finally arrived here,” Navalny said.

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