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Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has confirmed that he is being held in a remote Arctic prison, ending over two weeks of uncertainty about his whereabouts.
In a post on X, updated by his allies, Navalny described his 20-day transfer to the IK-3 penal colony in the village of Kharp, Yamal-Nenets region, as “pretty exhausting” but maintained he is in good spirits, declaring himself “your new Santa Claus.”
Navalny’s location had been a mystery since December 6, causing alarm among his supporters, rights organizations, and international observers. His spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh, recently revealed that he had been traced to the penal colony, approximately 1,200 miles northeast of Moscow.
Navalny recounted his heavily guarded transfer across Russia, expressing surprise at being located so soon and noting the relief of finally seeing his lawyer.
Referred to as the “Polar Wolf” colony, Navalny’s new place of imprisonment is one of Russia’s most severe, housing inmates convicted of serious crimes and known for its brutal winter conditions.
Since his arrest in January 2021 after recovering from a nerve agent poisoning he attributes to the Kremlin, Navalny has been a vocal critic of corruption and the Russian government, leading to multiple prison sentences and charges he deems politically motivated.