Sunday, January 14, 2024

Russian Jail System’s Campaign against Muslims Hurting All Prisoners, Navalny Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Jan. 11 – Aleksey Navalny, who has a checkered history as far as treatment of non-Russians is concerned, now says that the Russian jail system in order to combat the spread of Islamist views had adopted policies which are even more repressive than their Soviet predecessors and are hurting all prisoners regardless of religion or nationality.

            In a video message to the Russian Supreme Court which was hearing two of his appeals, the most prominent Russian prisoner at the present time says jailors have implemented an “absurd” policy of not allowing inmates to have more than a single book, something even the Soviets did not do (

            The jailors have done so, he says, to keep Muslims from gaining access to various books about Islam other than the Koran, books that these officials believe will turn them into extremists. But in the best Russian tradition, these jailors have extended that restriction to all prisoners, including Christians, Buddhists, Jews and others.

            Navalny says that when a visiting Orthodox priest offered him an additional Christian text besides the Bible, the imprisoned Russian opposition leader told the court that he had no choice but to reject that offer because it would have been used by his jailors to impose more penalties on him.

            It is unlikely that this comment will convince many Muslims and other non-Russians that Navalny is on their side. Instead, most are likely to continue to view him as a Moscow-centric Russian authoritarian. But his remarks do suggest that Navalny is having a Pastor Niemoeller moment and may become more supportive of non-Russian protests.

No comments:

Post a Comment