10/14/2021, 13.32
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Naval'nyj goes from 'escape risk' to 'extremist'

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Putin's opponent, who has been in prison for a long time, managed to update his prison status on Instagram. In case of release, the label of terrorist will exclude him from political and civil life.  The blogger will be released only when the Russian president decides so.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The Putin regime's number one opponent Aleksej Naval'nyj, who is in the correctional camp No.2 in Pokrov, near the city of Vladimir, has succeeded in updating the outside world of his current prison status published on his Instagram profile.

Until now he was classified among the camp prisoners as "escape risk", therefore subject to special surveillance. Now the danger of escape has been removed, but in return he has been classified as an "extremist" and "terrorist", as officially announced by the internal commission that had summoned him in recent days.

The operational manager in charge of supervision signed a report stating that "the convicted Naval'nyj professes extremist and terrorist ideology". Prison authorities removed the red striped jacket from the inmate, replacing it with a green one, the one of extremists. As Naval'nyj itself explains, "it is the color usually worn by Muslims, nationalists and fanatical fans". Olga Romanova, an exponent of the association "Russia in Prison," said that it is a detention state "halfway between those of Isis and Jehovah's Witnesses."

Last August, Russian authorities had placed the Anti-Corruption Fund founded by Naval'nyj on the register of extremist organizations prohibited by law. The registration took place together with that of the Fund for the Defense of Citizens' Rights. The General Prosecutor's Office had justified the decision on the grounds that "under the cover of liberal slogans, these organizations are engaged in creating conditions for the destabilization of the social and political situation".

Therefore, an arrest warrant was issued against the leaders of the two organizations, according to Article 282 of the Criminal Code, in the name of Naval'nyj and his collaborators Leonid Volkov and Ivan Ždanov, who repaired abroad.

The Naval'nyj conviction allowed the exclusion of all their candidates from the last September elections. The closure of their websites, and the action against the anti-Putin "smart vote" strategy, did not prevent the Kremlin's opponents from making their mark on the new Moscow Parliament and in several regional administrations. Now the country's main political prisoner will have to face an even more complex, and in all likelihood much longer, prison procedure.

Naval'nyj himself commented the decision with his usual easy-going tone, stating that "this is a good news, because the profiles of terrorist and extremist are much less boring than the one of 'almost fugitive'; now they won't wake me up at every hour of the night, repeating the formula for which 'we confirm the presence of Naval'nyj detainee, who claimed to be illegally in the IK-2 lager', a sentence I repeated 1.669 times". The terrorism charge does not generally provide for the same levels of surveillance as fugitives.

"I was afraid that they would force me to kiss Putin's portraits and memorize Medvedev's quotes, but luckily they just put a label on my jacket," the blogger concludes his message. Romanova warns, however, that the green label for prisoners "is a big problem, especially for when sooner or later they let you out of prison".

"Green" prisoners remain on the monitoring lists of the control institutions, which prohibit them from opening bank accounts and carrying out any financial operations. "These people basically can't work, nor can they receive pensions and other social services, they are effectively excluded from society," added the activist for prisoners' rights.

However, Naval'nyj will not be released from prison at the end of his sentence, but only "when Putin decides so, or following a coup."

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