Mar 31, 2021 - World

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny goes on hunger strike in prison

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Nalvany appearing via video chat from detention in January. Photo: Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has gone on a hunger strike in prison in protest of authorities allegedly denying him medical treatment for pain and numbness in his back and leg, his Instagram account announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: Navalny's lawyers fear that his health is deteriorating in the remote Russian penal colony where he is serving a 2.5-year sentence. He wrote on Instagram that he is being "tortured by sleep deprivation" and has "no other methods of fighting," according to a Meduza translation.

The big picture: Navalny was sentenced to prison in February for violating parole while recovering from an assassination attempt in Germany.

  • U.S. and European Union officials have demanded Navalny's release and sanctioned Russian officials for his poisoning with the nerve agent Novichok, which has been attributed to Russian intelligence.
  • Navalny is an anti-corruption activist who has often been referred to as "the man Putin fears most." His detention and sentencing set off mass protests across Russia.
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