Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny says 'everything fine' in message from jail

A February 2021 photo shows Navalny inside a glass cell during a court hearing in Moscow.
A February 2021 photo shows Navalny inside a glass cell during a court hearing in Moscow.PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (AFP) - Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny quipped that "everything is fine" and made jokes about prison life on Wednesday (March 3) as he sent his first message from a detention centre outside Moscow.

In the message posted on Instagram, President Vladimir Putin's most prominent critic said he was being held in the Kolchugino detention centre in the Vladimir region north-east of Moscow.

"But everything is fine with me, there's even a chin-up bar in the exercise yard here," he said.

Navalny was sentenced last month to two and a half years in a penal colony for breaching parole terms while in Germany recovering from a poisoning attack.

His message was posted after his defence team visited him in the Kolchugino jail, where he is under quarantine.

One of his lawyers, Olga Mikhailova, said he was expected to be held there until his sentence came into force and that he was in a good mood.

"He's feeling well," Mikhailova told AFP, adding that Navalny was sharing a cell with two people.

"The cell has nothing except a TV," she said, adding that he could not receive letters or buy anything in jail.

Mikhailova said it was not yet clear where Navalny would eventually be serving out his full sentence.

A Moscow official had earlier said it would be at a prison in the town of Pokrov in the Vladimir region called Penal Colony No. 2.

In the light-hearted message, Navalny said he was not aware of what was happening in the world and has not yet managed to get any books from the jail library.

"That's why the only entertainment is haute cuisine experiments," he said, adding he and his cellmates were drying bread to make croutons.