A mock-up of Kremlin critic Alexei Navaly’s prison cell has been vandalized ahead of a NATO summit in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius.
Navalny’s supporters have toured European cities with the 2x3 meter gray box that replicates the Kremlin critic’s real punishment cell to raise awareness of the dire conditions in which he is being held.
On Tuesday, a Russian anti-war collective based in Vilnius shared videos of Navalny’s mock cell wrapped in black plastic.
A photo attached to the box showed Navalny holding a mask of President Vladimir Putin’s face.
“Building a ‘beautiful Russia of the future’ on the ashes of the genocide of Ukrainians, Georgians, Chechens, Crimean Tatars is despicable," the group said, using Navalny’s slogan for envisioning democratic reform in Russia.
Activists filmed on video denounced Navalny and his supporters as “imperialists” and nationalists who quietly support Russia’s foreign policy, including the 2014 annexation of Crimea.
From jail, Navalny has regularly slammed Moscow’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine and he called on Russians to stage street protests before anti-war dissent was made a criminal offense.
But opponents frequently criticize Navalny for voicing anti-immigrant sentiment and attending a far-right rally in the 2000s before distancing himself from nationalist ideologies in the early 2010s.
The anti-war group in Vilnius, dubbed “Mirnoye Soprotivleniye SPb” (“Peaceful Resistance St. Petersburg”), called its act “Cargo-200, or Malevich’s Black Square of the New Russian Czar” in reference to Russian troop deaths and the avant-garde Russian artist Kazimir Malevich’s iconic artwork.
Vilnius is the eighth European city to exhibit the replica Navalny jail cell as a two-day NATO summit kicks off Tuesday. Last week, the mock-up was set fire to, after which the activist's supporters contacted the police.
Navalny is serving a nine-year prison term on fraud and contempt of court charges that his supporters say is punishment for his opposition to the Kremlin.
Navalny, 47, is facing an additional 30 years in prison on charges of extremism that he and his allies have slammed as politically motivated.