Alexei Navalny, one of Putin’s outspoken critics and a prominent political activist, has been missing for nearly a week, according to his legal team. Shockingly, his records have been erased from the prison where he was held.
As of Monday, December 11, his lawyers revealed that he is no longer listed in the region of his previous incarceration. Disturbingly, prison officials are refusing to disclose his new location, raising concerns that he might have been transferred to a harsher facility.
Navalny, known for his vocal criticism of Putin’s regime, is not only an anti-corruption activist but also a key opposition leader. The Washington Post has labeled him as the man Putin “fears most.” The situation surrounding his disappearance raises serious questions about his safety and the transparency of the prison system.
He was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok in a 2020 attack allegedly ordered by the Kremlin and later jailed in court trials slammed by Amnesty International.
His most recent sentence in 2022 replaced an earlier one, condemning him to serve around seven years in a more remote “strict regime penal colony”.
Until last week he was believed to be in a prison facility about 155 miles north of Moscow but just days ago, he reportedly collapsed in his cell and hasn’t been seen since.
Alexei Navalny’s spokesperson Kira Yarmysh spoke about the worrying situation on her official X account.
She wrote: “He fell ill in his cell last week. He got dizzy and laid down on the floor.
“The colony staff came over immediately, lowered the cot, laid Alexey down and gave him an IV.
“We don’t know what it was, but given the fact that he’s not being fed, is being kept in a punishment cell with no ventilation and the time for walks has been reduced to a minimum, it looks like a hunger faint.”
According to his team, Navalny wasn’t allowed to be seen by anyone after he’d fainted.
Lawyers were told they had to wait to see him until the time was right after repeatedly being denied entry to where he was being kept.
Navalny has since spoken to his team but all communication has been stopped since the lawyers last saw him.
Today Yarmysh revealed that his lawyer was told Navalny is no longer in the prison colony where he was last week.
“On Friday and throughout today, neither IK-6 nor IK-7 responded to them [the lawyers].
“Obviously, the command has now been given. Where Alexey is is still unknown,” she said.
He also did not appear in court via video link today.
The news comes just as Russian president Vladimir Putin announced he will run again for president in the 2024 elections in a move that could see him stay in power until at least 2030.
The dictator is all but certain to be elected for a fifth time after two decades of ruling.