Staunton, March 21 – Many have been surprised that Aleksey Navalny has been able to continue his online presence even while in a prison camp, but they shouldn’t be, a former jailor speaking on condition of anonymity to URA journalist Yuliya Sycheva says. The opposition leader simply telephones his family and they post for him.
Prisoners including Navalny have the right to speak with relatives via telephone, the former employee of the prison system says. Guards are supposed to listen in and prevent prisoners from making statements, but that doesn’t always happen. Consequently, prisoners like Navalny can send out messages to their followers (ura.news/news/1052476777).
If a prisoner seeks to get onto the Internet in any other way, the former guard says, he may be able to on occasion; but if he does, he will be subject to punishment by the camp administration.
Lt. Col. Aleksandr Levchenko, chief of the press service for the Russian prison authorities in Sverdlovsk Oblast, confirms what the anonymous former guard says. Each prisoner, he says, can speak with relatives and friends once a day. The conversations are monitored, and any effort to end run the camp administration to get on the Internet is punished.
Thus, Sycheva says, speculation that Navalny left things behind with relatives and supporters before his incarceration and that what people are seeing online from him now is dated is unwarranted. Navalny is still able to communicate with his supporters because of this quirk in the Russian prison system.