Where is Alexeï Navalny? Since leaving the Matrosskaya Tichina detention center in Moscow for an unknown destination on February 25, this question has stirred Russian opposition circles. For a week, rumors fueled by more or less reliable sources filled the void left by the absence of official information, before converging on penal colony number 2 in the Vladimir region, some 100 kilometers from Moscow.
” Everything’s going well for me “
Failed: when Alexeï Navalny resurfaces, through a message published Wednesday March 3 on Instagram, it is from a detention center 60 kilometers from this penal colony number 2. ” Everything’s going well for me “, first reassures the opponent before, in a characteristic tongue-in-cheek style, to tell his “Experiments in haute cuisine” with two fellow prisoners, Dmitry and Sergeï.
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Olga Mikhailova, one of her lawyers, confirmed that the opponent ” is doing well “ after briefly visiting him. The place of detention is temporary, before transfer to the “Correctional colony” – the right name – where the opponent should spend the next two years of his life.
Leaks and lies
“Notice that all the leaks turned out to be a complete lie”, was annoyed, at the same time, Leonid Volkov, one of the opponent’s right-hand men. Because since the confirmation on appeal of the conviction of Alexeï Navalny to two and a half years in prison on February 20, speculations concerning his place of detention have never ceased. His “Etapirovanie” – the Russian term for the transfer to a new place of detention – a new “stage”, starts on February 25, without official announcement. This silence is perfectly routine for the Russian prison administration. A Russian media nevertheless places him, the next day, in Kolomna, in the Moscow region, but suffers a scathing, and almost immediate, denial from the local prison.
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The new information which falls on February 27 is also more of the feverish rumor: “Regarding where Alexei was sent, all the information we have comes from the media which is based on anonymous sources”, warns Kira Yarmish, the spokesperson for the opponent, the same day.
The fear of Pokrov prison
Alexeï Navalny is said to be in penal colony number 2 near the town of Pokrov, local media said. No official confirmation, but corroborating sources pushing the opponent’s organization to publish, Monday 1er March, a video embellished with aerial views of the famous prison, in the form of a guided tour.
The news, if it is confirmed, is enough to frighten, so much the sinister reputation of this “General regime correctional colony number 2” de Pokrov is well established. “Everything has been thought of to isolate political prisoners”, until the prohibition made to the other detainees to address them, explains, on the Russian radio Echo of Moscow, the lawyer of the activist Konstantin Kotov. The latter spent a year and a half there, for participating in an unauthorized demonstration. Alexeï Navalny is not there, at least not yet. According to the latest information, the place where the opponent will serve his sentence remains a mystery carefully maintained by the authorities.