Russian authorities have said that jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s health condition is “stable” after associates of the outspoken Kremlin critic expressed concerns over his medical condition.
Navalny’s condition and his whereabouts became an issue on March 24 after his allies said they were concerned over a deterioration in his health and his failure to attend a scheduled visit with his lawyers in prison.
Leonid Volkov, the coordinator of Navalny’s teams across Russia, said the anti-corruption campaigner began experiencing “sharp” back pains last week and felt a numbness in his leg and was unable to stand on it. Volkov added that Navalny had been given two ibuprofen pills for the pain.
The Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) told the Interfax news agency on March 25 that a routine medical checkup of inmates at the Correctional Colony No. 2 where Navalny is being held was conducted the previous day.
“According to the results of the examination, [Navalny’s] health state was determined as stable, satisfactory,” the FSIN’s press service said to the agency.
The statement, however, did little to ease concerns among Navalny’s allies.
“Now we are really worried,” Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation wrote on Twitter. “Even the Federal Penitentiary Service can’t call Navalny’s condition good. This isn’t a surprise since they put in prison a man who was recently poisoned with a nerve agent.”
Navalny was detained at a Moscow airport in January immediately upon returning from Berlin, where he was recovering from what several Western laboratories determined was a poisoning attempt using a Novichok-type nerve agent that saw him fall seriously ill on a flight in Siberia in August 2020.
Navalny has said the assassination attempt was ordered by President Vladimir Putin — an allegation rejected by the Kremlin.
A Moscow court in February ruled that while in Germany, Navalny had violated the terms of parole from an older embezzlement case that is widely considered to be politically motivated.
His suspended 3 1/2-year sentence was converted into jail time, though the court reduced that amount to 2 1/2 years for time already served in detention.
Navalny’s incarceration set off a wave of national protests and a crackdown against his supporters.
The European Union, the United States, and Canada imposed a series of sanctions against Russia over the Navalny case.