Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said on Monday he had been placed in a punishment cell following his efforts to start a union in prison.
Navalny is serving a nine-year prison sentence in a strict-regime penal colony near the Russian city of Vladimir on charges of embezzlement that he and his allies say are politically motivated.
“Greetings from solitary confinement,” Navalny wrote on his social media, saying he was officially placed in solitary confinement for violating the dress code and unbuttoning the top button of his prison robe.
He said he would remain in custody for three days, but prison authorities warned it could “become my permanent home” unless “I reconsider my attitude”.
Navalny described his cell as a tiny “concrete kennel” where it is “very hot and there is almost no air”.
“There is only a cup and a book in my cell. I only have a spoon and a plate at mealtimes,” he said.
An iron bunk is lowered from the outside with a lever in the evening and stowed away early in the morning when they remove your mattress and pillow, he said.
“No visits, no letters, no parcels. This is the only place in the prison where even smoking is prohibited,” he added.
Last week, Navalny announced that he had created a one-man union in the penal colony where he works in sewing.
While the union won the first victory – stools used by inmates working on sewing machines were replaced with chairs – Navalny said he received warnings from the prison administration.
Navalny was serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence for violating parole on old fraud charges, but in March his prison term was extended to nine years after he was found guilty of embezzling donations to his political organizations. and contempt of court.
Navalny, 46, rose to prominence as an anti-corruption blogger and, before his imprisonment, mobilized anti-government protests across Russia.
In 2020, he barely survived a poisoning attack with Novichok, a Soviet-designed military-grade nerve agent. Navalny blamed Russian authorities, but the Kremlin denied any involvement.
He was arrested last year after returning from treatment in Germany, prompting widespread condemnation abroad and sanctions from Western capitals.