Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny confirmed on Tuesday that he is in an Arctic prison. He described the location as snow-covered above the Arctic Circle and stated that he is in excellent spirits despite the exhausting 20-day journey to get there.
The statement from President Vladimir Putin’s main opponent comes after his allies lost contact with him for more than two weeks during his transfer. Navalny’s prison relocation has raised concerns among Western politicians.
Navalny’s spokesperson stated on Monday that he was in the penal colony IK-3, north of the Arctic Circle, situated in Kharp, in the Yamal-Nenets region, about 1,900 kilometers northeast of Moscow.
Via Twitter, Navalny reported being in prison and explained the route he took to reach the detention center.
“I was transported with care and through such a strange route (Vladimir – Moscow – Chelyabinsk – Yekaterinburg – Kirov – Vorkuta – Kharp) that I didn’t expect anyone to find me here until mid-January.”
4/10 Привезли меня в субботу вечером. А везли с такими предосторожностями и по такому странному маршруту (Владимир – Москва – Челябинск – Екатеринбург – Киров – Воркута – Харп), что я и не рассчитывал, что меня кто-то здесь найдет до середины января.
— Alexey Navalny (@navalny) December 26, 2023
The new location where Navalny will be detained is known as the “Polar Wolf” colony and is considered one of the toughest prisons in Russia. Most prisoners there have been convicted of serious crimes.
Winters in the country are harsh, with temperatures expected to drop to around -28°C next week.
Located about 60 km north of the Arctic Circle, the prison was founded in the 1960s as part of what was once the Soviet Gulag system of forced labor camps, according to the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper.