Six doctors, CNN correspondents detained outside Alexei Navalny's prison

Modesto Morganelli
Aprile 8, 2021

Members of Navalny's defence team, who visited him in his penal colony in the town of Pokrov 60 miles east of Moscow on Wednesday, said he is still refusing food and was coughing. Navalny was arrested the moment he returned to Moscow from Germany, where he had been recovering from a poison attack with a rare nerve agent that he blames on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Police said nine people had been taken into custody for flouting public order.

Late on Monday, his allies said the protest would go ahead after Mr Navalny said he was continuing his hunger strike, although he had a high temperature and bad cough and three inmates in his ward had been hospitalised with tuberculosis.

And as the United States may be weighing potential consequences for the Kremlin's continued maltreatment of Navalny, the Biden administration is preparing to roll out sanctions for a range of other Russian misdeeds ranging from the SolarWinds hack to reported bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and election interference, according to two administration officials familiar with the process.

Almost half of Russians say that Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was rightly imprisoned for violating parole while recovering overseas from a poisoning attack, according to an independent survey published Monday.

He was later sentenced to 2½ years in prison for breaching parole conditions in a 2014 fraud case, partly because he failed to report to authorities while under treatment in Germany.

Authorities had in January accused foreign social media platforms - including TikTok and Twitter - of interfering in Russia's domestic affairs by not deleting calls to rallies in support of Navalny late that month and early February. On March 26, he first complained about his health, saying he hadn't mentioned it before in the hope he would get medical attention from prison authorities. He announced his hunger strike five days later.

Navalny has reportedly been tested for COVID-19 but it's not clear if the results have come back or if he tested positive.

The Levada Center polling agency said 48% of Russian respondents consider Navalny's sentence of two and a half years in one of the country's most notorious penal colonies to be fair. "If we're really talking about a sickness, then the corresponding treatment will be provided".

For now, the Kremlin's unyielding stance toward Navalny and his supporters appears to have been successful in suppressing dissent.

The Kremlin's relentless media campaign against Navalny has also borne fruit.

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