‘Arctic hugs and polar greetings to all’: Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s New Year message from prison

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Public TV English
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MOSCOW: Despite being in a long jail sentence in Siberia, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said in his New Year message that he does not feel lonely and is in a “great” mood, but he still misses spending time with his family and friends in person, CNN reported.

In a New Year’s Eve message posted on social media by his team, Navalny was quoted as saying that this will be the third time “I have taken the traditional family New Year’s Eve photo with Photoshop. I am trying to keep up with the times, and this time I asked an artificial intelligence to draw me. I hope it turned out something fantastic — I will not see the picture myself until the letter with it arrives on Yamal”, Navalny said, according to CNN.

According to Navalny’s staff, he is presently serving his term at the Russian Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region’s IK-3 prison colony. However, Navalny continued by claiming that he doesn’t experience any “loneliness, abandonment, or isolation.

“‘I miss you terribly’ is a kind of incorrect construction from the point of view of the Russian language. It’s better to say: ‘I miss you a lot’ or ‘I miss you so much”, Navalny said, adding “But from my point of view, it is more accurate and correct. I miss my family terribly. Yulia, my children, my parents, my brother. I miss my friends, colleagues, our office, and my work. I miss you all terribly”.

“My mood is great and quite Christmassy. But there is no substitute for normal human communication in all its forms: from jokes at the New Year’s table to correspondence in Telegram and comments on Instagram and Twitter (currently known as X)”, he said, according to CNN. “Happy New Year to everyone”, Navalny said. “Arctic hugs and polar greetings to all. Love you all”, Navalny added.

Navalny has been behind bars since January 2021, when he returned to Moscow after recuperating in Germany from nerve agent poisoning that he blamed on the Kremlin. Prior to his arrest, he campaigned against corruption and organised major anti-Kremlin protests. He has since received three prison terms and spent months in isolation in Penal Colony Number 6 for alleged minor infractions.

A court extended Navalny’s sentence to 19 years on “extremism” charges and ruled that he be moved to a more secure, harsher prison. Notably, Navalny has rejected all charges against him as politically motivated.

Further, taking a jibe at Kremlin, the Russian opposition leader stated, “Since I’m Santa Claus, you’re probably wondering about the presents… But I am a special-regime Santa Claus, so only those who have behaved very badly get presents”, Al Jazeera reported. (ANI)

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