April 18, 2024

Alexey Navalny, a dissident and the political nemesis of Russian President Vladimir Putin, spent the past few years of his life behind bars but still managed to stay connected to the outside world.

Letters from the final months of his life, obtained by The New York Times, show that Navalny, who’d been imprisoned since January 2021, managed to stay on top of current events — including in the US.

In a letter sent to a friend, a photographer named Evgeny Feldman, Navalny said former President Donald Trump’s agenda for a second term was “really scary,” according to the Times.

He said if President Joe Biden were to have a health issue, “Trump will become president,” adding: “Doesn’t this obvious thing concern the Democrats?”

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In another letter to Feldman dated December 3, Navalny again expressed concern over Trump and asked his friend, “Please name one current politician you admire.”

Trump’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

On December 6, Navalny disappeared from the IK-6 penal colony about 120 miles east of Moscow. He turned up again on Christmas Day when his lawyers announced they had located him at the IK-3 penal colony, about 1,000 miles northeast of Moscow, above the Arctic Circle.

The Times reported that Navalny’s communication ability from his new prison was greatly diminished.

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The journalist Sergei Parkhomenko said he received a letter from Navalny on February 13, a few days before Navalny’s death was announced. In the letter, which Parkhomenko shared on Facebook, Navalny spoke of books and said he only had access to classics at his new prison.

“Who could’ve told me that Chekhov is the most depressing Russian writer?” he wrote.

Trump, for his part, didn’t mention Navalny in the days after his death, despite condemnations from other leaders who directly blamed Putin.

In a Truth Social post on Monday, Trump briefly mentioned Navalny before directing his ire at his own perceived political opponents: “The sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me more and more aware of what is happening in our Country. It is a slow, steady progression, with CROOKED, Radical Left Politicians, Prosecutors, and Judges leading us down a path to destruction.”

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He mentioned neither Russia nor Putin.