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IPFS News Link • Russia

'I hope I am the last to endure this': Alexei Navalny's devastating prison letters...


Alexei Navalny shared letters laced with dark humor, religious references, and grim insights into prison life with gulag survivor Natan Sharansky in the year before he died, it has been revealed.

Navalny, 47, who was the strongest domestic political force opposing Russian President Vladimir Putin, exchanged deeply personal memos with Israel's former deputy prime minister Sharansky, 76, in March and April 2023.

In his first note, he wrote 'I hope I am the last to endure this', just less than a year before he was allegedly fatally poisoned with Novichok at a penal colony known as the 'Polar Wolf' in Siberia on February 16, 2024.

Sharansky was held in a Moscow labor camp for nine years from 1978 after being denied permission to leave what was then the Soviet Union for Israel, and the two bonded over how little has changed in the brutal Russian prison system since. 

Their historic friendship - memorialized in the letters obtained by The Free Press - was sparked by Navalny's revelation that he read Sharansky's memoir, Fear No Evil, in the gulag where he died. 

They were strangers when Navalny began the correspondence - penning his first letter to Sharansky on April 3 from IK-6 'Melekhovo,' - a facility around 155 miles east of Moscow known for the abuse and torture of inmates. 

Sharansky was held at the same colony for a time, and Navalny joked 'I am not sure if you have retained warm memories of it' in his opening letter.

'Now there will probably be a plaque saying "Natan Sharansky was held here"', he added.