Navalny Greets Supporters From Jail: ‘Our Pleasant Focus Camp.’
Even profanity was forbidden, wrote Mr Navalny. Shocking for a Russian prison: “This ban is strictly followed.”
The prison, referred to by the Russian initials IK2, has long been known for its strict enforcement of rules. Lawyers and former inmates have described a separate, stricter prison within its walls where inmates are not allowed to converse or even converse.
The location is typical of Russia’s colonial-style prisons, which have evolved with some improvements from the gulag camps established in the 1930s. The inmates live together in groups of several dozen brigades in low, two-story buildings surrounded by walls and barbed wire.
According to former inmates, discipline is enforced on prisoners in disputes with the warden, an arrangement that allows the prison authorities to maintain strict control over Mr. Navalny’s life at all times. Prisoners spend hours standing behind their backs with their hands crossed and looking at their feet. They are forbidden from making eye contact with the guards, a former inmate, nationalist politician Dmitry Dyomushkin, recently told a Moscow radio station.
Mr Navalny said Monday he had continued to be classified as a flight risk, which meant he was woken up every hour of the night by a security guard with a camera reporting his condition.
The constant surveillance, Mr Navalny wrote, reminded him of a dystopian novel: “I think someone up on Orwell’s height would read ‘1984’ and say, ‘Oh, great. Let’s do that. Education through dehumanization. ‘”
But, as he has repeatedly done over the past few months, Mr Navalny was still trying to exude optimism. He has used his imprisonment to show the Russians that they need not fear Mr. Putin as long as they believe that their side will prevail sooner or later.