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Navalny Describes Prison ‘Re-Education’ Including Pro-War, Anti-Semitic Songs

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is seen on a screen via video link from a penal colony in the Vladimir Region. Yulia Morozova / Reuters

Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said Tuesday that he and other inmates in his prison colony are forced to listen to pro-war and anti-Semitic songs several times a day as part of the prison’s “re-education” efforts.

Navalny is serving his jail term in the IK-6 prison in the Vladimir region east of Moscow, a facility known for its harsh conditions and which has been linked to numerous cases of torture and abuse of inmates.

“In order for the criminals to be corrected, [the prison conducts] educational work with them,” Navalny said in a post published on his social media profiles.

“In practice, this is a grandiose fiction, and all educational work comes down to watching videos 'on the prevention of extremism' and listening to patriotic music,” he said.

Five times a day, Navalny said, he and other inmates are forced to listen to a song stating “that the celebration of Purim, the Jewish holiday, is a sign of impending war.”

“People are really being brainwashed [to believe] that those who celebrate Purim are villains plotting terrible things against Russia,” Navalny said.

He also recalled the lyrics of another frequently played song which centers on the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu:

“When the generals in Moscow report
About new victories with champagne in their hands,
Russian guys die for Russia,
Sparing no enemy, with a smile on their lips.”

Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service has not yet commented on the claims.

Navalny, whose political and activist groups were outlawed as “extremist” organizations in 2021, is serving a nine-year prison sentence on charges he and his allies call politically motivated.

In April, Russian authorities opened as many as 10 new criminal cases against the anti-corruption campaigner.

In a Twitter thread shared by his team last month, he said an investigator warned him that a military court will try him on fresh terrorism charges that could lead to a 30-year prison term.

“I tell the prison officers: Do you even listen to what is playing in your zone? You yourself will be imprisoned for extremism. 'No,' they say, 'everything is as it should be, educational work according to methodological recommendations',” Navalny wrote on Tuesday.

Navalny has been imprisoned in Russia since January 2021, when he returned to Moscow from Germany after recovering from a near-fatal poisoning with what Western scientists determined was the banned nerve agent Novichok.

Navalny claims he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin was responsible for his poisoning — an assertion denied by the Kremlin.

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