Alexei Navalny Reveals Harsh Conditions at ‘Polar Wolf’ Arctic Prison

( – Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny has been imprisoned since 2021, with leaders around the world occasionally reiterating calls for his release. Western politicians became concerned over the last two weeks after Navalny’s attorneys and allies announced they had not been able to contact him for six days. At the time, his spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said that she was informed of electrical problems at the prison, which is located east of Moscow. Navalny had recently fallen ill at the prison and required an IV to receive fluids. However, he resurfaced on December 26, confirming that he had been relocated to a different prison, which was previously tentatively scheduled.

Yarmysh said that he is now being held at the IK-3 penal colony, which is about 1,200 miles to the northeast of Moscow. The location is just 40 miles north of the Arctic Circle, and temperatures can plunge to negative 18.4 degrees Fahrenheit in the wintertime. Navalny posted about his arrival, writing, “I am your new Father Frost.” He described the new attire that would shield him from the extreme conditions, including a sheepskin coat and ushanka hat. He also wrote that he would be getting new Russian winter shoes, called valenki, very soon. While Navalny is imprisoned for so-called extremism, most other prisoners at the penal colony have committed much more egregious crimes.

The prison has been operational since the 1960s and was used as a labor camp by the Soviet Union. Navalny expressed thanks to those who had been concerned about his welfare during the transfer but said that no one should worry about him. He continued, adding, “I’m fine. I’m awfully glad I finally made it here.” Back in August, Navalny was sentenced to an additional 19 years in prison, adding to the nine years he is currently serving. The new sentence was a result of the so-called extremism charges, but he was originally serving time for fraud and embezzlement after his suspended sentence was revoked.

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