Alexei Navalny shares brutal reality in the notorious 'Polar Wolf' Arctic penal colony

Alexei Navalny shares brutal reality in the notorious 'Polar Wolf' Arctic penal colony
Opposition figure Navalny says 'fine' after transfer to Arctic prison colony
FMM - F24 Video Clips / VideoElephant

Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny has confirmed that he has arrived at an icy prison above the Arctic Circle, after a gruelling 20-day journey there.

Navalny lost touch with his allies two weeks ago, prompting concern from some in the West over his whereabouts and safety.

But the politician posted on X/Twitter via his lawyers on Tuesday that he was in good spirits, despite having landed at one of Russia's toughest prisons.

The US state department has said it remains “deeply concerned for Navalny’s wellbeing and the conditions of his unjust detention”.

The politician organised huge anti-government protests before being jailed in 2021, following his survival of an assassination attempt by poisoning.

His spokeswoman said Navalny, 47, had been tracked down to the IK-3 penal colony, which north of the Arctic Circle located in the Yamal-Nenets region of Russia.

Navalny wrote: "I am your new Santa Claus."

"Well, I now have a sheepskin coat, an ushanka hat (a fur hat with ear-covering flaps), and soon I will get valenki (a traditional Russian winter footwear). I have grown a beard for the 20 days of my transportation."

"The 20 days of my transportation were pretty exhausting, but I'm still in a good mood, as befits a Santa Claus."

The prison, which lies about 1200 miles northeast of Moscow, is known as the "Polar Wolf" colony.

Winters are especially harsh at the facility, with temperatures set to drop to about -7 degrees Celsius over the next week.

Founded in the 1960s, the prison was once part of the Soviet Union's network of labour camps known as the GULAG. Now, it houses some of Russia's most violent criminals.

Navalny thanked his supporters and everyone else for their concern about his welfare during his long transfer.

He said he had seen guards with machine guns and guard dogs.

He added that he had gone for a walk in the snow-covered exercise area which he said was located in a neighbouring cell.

Navalny said: "Anyway, don't worry about me. I'm fine. I'm totally relieved that I've finally made it."

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