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Arctic Circle prison: One of most dangerous jails in Russia where Putin critic met his end

Written by  Jasleen Kaur -- February 17th 2024 01:56 PM
Arctic Circle prison: One of most dangerous jails in Russia where Putin critic met his end

Arctic Circle prison: One of most dangerous jails in Russia where Putin critic met his end

PTC Web Desk: Alexei Navalny, Russia's prominent opposition leader of the last decade, has passed away in an Arctic Circle prison, as confirmed by the prison service. Serving a 19-year sentence on widely contested extremism charges, Navalny was known as President Vladimir Putin's most outspoken critic. Nestled well above the Arctic Circle in Russia's Yamalo-Nenets region, IK-3, infamous "Polar Wolf" penal colony, stands as a symbol of relentless cruelty. Reserved for those accused of the most heinous crimes, this desolate outpost becomes the battleground where inmates face not only the unforgiving elements but also a punitive system known for its extreme measures.

"Alexei Navalny endured three years of torture and torment... Murder has now been added to Alexei Navalny’s sentence," remarked Russian Nobel laureate Dmitry Muratov, as reported by the Novaya Gazeta newspaper.


In a recent court hearing video from his prison colony on Thursday, Navalny appeared smiling and joking while addressing the judge via video link.

Russian news agencies conveyed that medical professionals from a hospital in Russia's far north devoted over "half an hour" attempting to resuscitate Navalny, who allegedly lost consciousness following a walk.

Arctic jail

Winter's Icy Grip: Collective Punishment and Subzero Temperatures

Within the icy confines of IK-3, the concept of collective punishment is not just a theoretical notion but a harsh reality. Inmates find themselves punished for the transgressions of others, subjected to chilling measures that test the limits of human endurance. The sins of one become the burdens of many, as the entire group is forced to stand outside in the bitter cold without coats.

The average winter temperature plunges to a bone-chilling -20°C, creating an environment where survival is a daily struggle. Inmates brave the elements, enduring snow-covered grounds for months on end, only to witness the transition to muddy slush as temperatures rise above freezing in May. The harsh winter becomes a formidable adversary, setting the stage for the physical and mental challenges faced by those confined within IK-3.

Mosquito-Infested Heat and Endless Days

As winter retreats, the torment continues with the arrival of summer. The Arctic Circle experiences days without nights, inflicting a heavy toll on the physical and mental well-being of inmates. Swarms of mosquitoes descend upon the prison, compelling prisoners to strip to their waists. The transition from freezing cold to mosquito-infested heat adds another layer of suffering, ensuring that no relief is found in the changing seasons.

Physical Toll of Relentless Days

The continuous daylight takes its toll on the prisoners, exacerbating the already challenging conditions. Inmates are forced to confront the relentless elements, both natural and man-made, as they navigate the grueling physical demands of IK-3.

Putin critic

Navalny's Death Raises Alarms

Russia's most prominent opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, found himself ensnared in the harsh realities of IK-3. Serving a contested 19-year sentence on extremism charges, Navalny's transfer to the "Polar Wolf" penal colony in late 2023 marked a turning point in his fight against the Russian regime.

Allegations of Foul Play

Navalny's death in IK-3 raises serious concerns globally. His closest allies, including Anti-Corruption Foundation chief Ivan Zhdanov, allege foul play, asserting that a murder had taken place. The prison service's account of Navalny falling unwell after a walk and subsequent attempts at resuscitation leaves lingering suspicions, prompting protests across Russia.

In the wake of Navalny's demise at Polar Wolf penal colony, his wife, Yulia, appeals to the international community to assist in holding the Russian regime accountable for what she deems a grave injustice. As accusations of foul play reverberate globally, the tragic end of Navalny's life underscores the oppressive nature of IK-3 and sparks a renewed focus on the punitive system that contributed to his untimely death.

(With inputs from agencies)

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