Russian authorities have classified jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny as a “terrorist” and an “extremist”, according to a new social media post from a Kremlin foe.
The opposition politician said he was called to appear before a commission that voted unanimously to change his position – and put up a board above his prison bed, calling him a “terrorist”.
But Mr Navalny, who was arrested and imprisoned on his return to Russia in January, claimed the new label could be less difficult than the previous “flight risk” designation. He suggested that much of the infiltration was accompanied by surveillance.
“I counted that I said ‘Navalny, Alexey, born in 1976, illegally imprisoned in Colony 2, Section 2, reporting,’ 1669 times,” he wrote in an Instagram post.
“That’s what I had to do every two hours to prove that I didn’t run. And it was very upsetting.”
Mr Navalny was designated a flight risk even before he was transferred to the infamous Pokrov prison colony, 100 km (62 mi) east of Moscow. That designation opened the door for a drainage monitoring system, which he said amounted to torture.
Extremism, in comparison, was “enjoyment,” he wrote.
“I was worried that they would demand that I kiss Putin’s pictures and learn by rote Medvedev’s speeches, but it turned out that this was not necessary,” he wrote. “The only difference is that I now have a board above my bed.”
Mr Navalny, Vladimir Putin’s most prominent political rival, survived a nerve agent attack in August 2020. A compelling body of evidence links that apparent assassination attempt to Russian authorities. The Kremlin dismissed the allegation.
The opposition politician was jailed after several suspicious trials, widely seen as politically motivated and violating legal norms, the first of them also conducted at a police station.
In the months following Mr Navalny’s sentencing in February, Russian authorities worked to erode his influence, outlaw his organizations, capture his supporters and designate his movement “extremist”.
An ongoing criminal trial against a Kremlin critic claims he created organizations that attempted to defame the government and instigate violent revolution.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /