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Navalny Says He Is In Detention Center In Russia's Vladimir Region

Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny in a Moscow court on February 20
Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny in a Moscow court on February 20

Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny has sent his first message from custody after being transferred from a detention center in Moscow to the Vladimir region, northeast of the Russian capital, in late February.

In the message placed on Instagram on March 3, Navalny said that he is in the Detention Center No. 3 in the town of Kolchugino and is getting along with his cellmates.

"Everything is okay with me and there is even a chin-up bar in the yard for daily walks here," Navalny said in the post, adding that he and his cellmates have to dry bread as he is not allowed to buy food from the detention center's shop.

Media reports have said Navalny will be imprisoned in a penal colony in the Vladimir region's city of Pokrov, 100 kilometers east of Moscow. The colony has been known as one of the toughest in the European part of the Russian Federation.

The Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) on February 26 confirmed Navalny was moved from a Moscow detention center where he had been held since mid-January. But it did not specify where the anti-corruption crusader was being taken to begin serving the 2 1/2 years he has left of his sentence.

Russian authorities typically do not provide information about the transfer of prisoners until after they reach their destination. It is likely that he will be moved again from Detention Center No. 3 to a full prison.

Navalny was detained at a Moscow airport in January immediately upon returning from Berlin, where he was recovering from what several Western labs determined was a poisoning attempt using a Novichok-type nerve agent that saw him fall ill on a flight in Siberia in August 2020.

Russia has denied involvement but Navalny has said the assassination attempt was ordered by President Vladimir Putin.

A Moscow court in February ruled that while in Germany, Navalny had violated the terms of parole from an older embezzlement case that is widely considered politically motivated.

His suspended 3 1/2 year sentence was converted into jail time, though the court reduced that amount to 2 1/2 years for time already served in detention.

Navalny’s detention set off a wave of national protests and a crackdown against his supporters.

The European Union and the United States, on March 2, imposed fresh sanctions against Russia over the Navalny case.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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