Putin Nemesis—Back in The Hole in Russia—Likens Himself to X-Men's Magneto

Alexei Navalny has name-checked characters from Hollywood blockbusters in describing the prison conditions he faces a day after one of his allies said that the health of the Kremlin critic is in danger.

Navalny is serving a jail term of more than 11 years for parole violations, fraud and contempt of court that international observers condemn as trumped up because he is a thorn in the side of the Russian authorities and President Vladimir Putin.

In a Twitter thread on Wednesday via his lawyers, Navalny said that he had just served 15 days in solitary confinement but had to return almost immediately because he had been labeled a "persistent offender."

"Whoa, I've just hit the jackpot," he wrote in the irreverent post. "This means that I will now be placed under STRICT conditions inside a STRICT regime penal colony.

"I wonder if these conditions will be closer to those of Hannibal Lecter or those of Magneto from X-Men," he wrote in the thread that had a combined image of the Hollywood characters, the other being from the film The Silence of the Lambs.

"In short, the Kremlin's reaction to me not 'settling down,' continuing to call for sanctions against Putin's elite (the 6000 list), and announcing once again the 'Smart Voting' so hated by them, was predictable," he added.

Navalny continued, "you gotta admire the pettiness of these crooks," as he described how under the new strict conditions, his family is only allowed to visit him every six months.

"It seems that only two of the political prisoners in Putin's Russia have been recognized as "persistent violators" so far. The second one is me. And the first was my brother Oleg. What a family we have," he said.

Vladimir Putin
This combined image shows Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok on September 7, 2022, right, and the actor Sir Ian McKellen as Erik Lehnsherr, aka Magneto, from the X-Men franchise. Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny name-checked Magneto in describing his prison conditions. Getty/20th Century Fox

Newsweek has contacted Russia's federal penitential service for comment.

Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation was outlawed in Russia and liquidated in June 2021 but relaunched in July 2022 as an international organization.

"Smart voting" refers to the group's tactic in the upcoming local elections in Moscow on Sunday which it wants to turn into a vote against Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

Navalny's team continues to reach millions of Russians on YouTube with programs aiming to sway public opinion against the war. His chief of staff Leonid Volkov, now based in Vilnius, Lithuania, told Reuters that the group was backing 400 anti-war candidates who have braved "violence and brutality" from the authorities.

He told the agency it would take up to three years "to dramatically change the attitude of Russian society and to make his war so unpopular that he will not be able to continue."

Navalny said last week that he had been sent to a punishment cell for a third time in August in revenge for his political activity.

Volkov told Reuters that the six-foot by nine foot cell "poses an enormous threat to [Navalny's] health," especially given he had survived an attempt to poison him in Siberia with a Soviet-era nerve toxin in an attack blamed on the Kremlin.