Putin’s number one opponent, dissident Alexei Navalny, appears on screen from prison during a hearing
As if two wars were not enough to pit Russia and the United States, allied on opposite fronts in Ukraine and in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, sparks are now flying in the case of Alexei Navalny. The political opponent of President Vladimir Putin — who recently ran for the 2024 presidential election and has effectively mortgaged the Kremlin until at least 2030 — is Disappeared from the IK-6 penal colony in Melikhovo. The authorities refuse to reveal his whereabouts. It can’t be tracked for a week.
John Kirby, spokesman for the US National Security Council, said: “Navalny should not have been arrested, and in any case he should be released immediately.”He explained that the US Embassy in Moscow is working to collect as much information as possible.
Posted today Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded: “It is a question regarding a convicted prisoner According to the law, he will serve his sentence. Therefore, we consider any interference from any party, including the United States of America, unacceptable and impossible.”
The European Union, through its High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, described as “extremely disturbing news of Navalny’s disappearance for 7 days.” The Russian political leadership is responsible for his safety and health in prison and will have to answer for this. The European Union reiterates its call for his immediate and unconditional release from political prison».
Hypothesis: Transferring him to a harsher prison, with no outside contact
The defector’s staff claim they have no idea where Putin’s number one rival is. Officials at the prison, which is more than 200 kilometers away from Moscow, admitted that “prisoner Navalny is no longer on their list,” but they “refuse to specify where he was transferred,” according to what his spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, accused.
The simplest hypothesis is that he was transferred, or is in the process of being transferred (given the enormous distances within the territory of the Russian Federation), to a more harsh detention center. From the previous. But there is no certainty.
after He was sentenced to 19 years in prison in August on “extremism” charges that were deemed politically motivatedThe opposition denounced the ongoing violations. There is fear for his health and also for his safety. The spokeswoman said so Last week he felt sick in his cell“He felt dizzy and lay down on the ground.” “Given that he was deprived of food, held in a cell without ventilation, and given minimal time outdoors, it appears that he lost consciousness due to hunger.”
Lawyers have not been able to speak to the dissident since December 6. A situation that is accompanied by a barrage of criminal proceedings. The final accusation would be “sabotage.” In October, three lawyers were arrested on charges of “extremism.”
Recently, the “Russia Without Putin” initiative was launched for voting in March
Navalny’s arrest dates back to January 2021, when he had just returned to Moscow from Berlin, where he was treated for a case of poisoning that raised fears for his life.
Even from prison, the opponent did not stop criticizing the government Last week, coinciding with the presidential elections scheduled for next March, he launched the “Russia Without Putin” program, urging people to vote for any other candidate.. According to Leonid Volkov, Navalny’s right-hand man, it would not be a coincidence that this situation occurred on the eve of the vote: “It is no secret to Putin who his main opponent is in these ‘elections,’ and he wants to make sure that Navalny’s voice is not heard.”
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