Alexei Navalny uncovered in a distant penal colony in the Arctic.

The jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been located in a remote prison colony above the Arctic Circle after disappearing for nearly three weeks, as confirmed by his aides.

Navalny, who established a nationwide political opposition to Vladimir Putin and has been sentenced to almost thirty years in prison, went missing from a prison in the Vladimir region near Moscow on December 6. This raised concerns among his supporters about his well-being, with a UN official describing it as a “forced disappearance.”

According to Yarmysh, Navalny’s lawyer was able to visit him on Monday and reported that he is “doing well.”

Navalny’s aides had been preparing for his anticipated transfer to a “special regime” colony, which represents the most severe grade within Russia’s prison system.

Russian prison transfers are infamous for their lengthy duration, sometimes taking weeks, during which prisoners have no access and information about their whereabouts is limited or nonexistent.

The gas-rich Yamal-Nenets autonomous region in north-western Siberia is one of Russia’s most remote areas. The Kharp high-security prison colony, where Navalny is being held, was originally established under Stalin in the Soviet Union as part of the Gulag network.

“The conditions there are harsh, with a special regime in the permafrost zone. It is very difficult to get there,” stated Ivan Zhdanov, another associate of Navalny.

Zhdanov also mentioned that Navalny’s communication with the outside world will be severely restricted in his new location.

“Many thanks to our supporters, activists, journalists, and the media who are concerned about Alexei’s fate and continue to report on the situation,” he added.

Navalny’s allies previously connected his disappearance to President Putin’s announcement to run for re-election in Russia’s 2024 presidential race.

“From the start, it was clear that the authorities wanted to isolate Alexei, especially before the elections,” Zhdanov commented on Monday.

Putin is currently the longest-serving Kremlin leader since Stalin and could surpass him if he continues to pursue a sixth term in power.

Navalny’s supporters have launched an anti-Putin campaign, which includes billboards in Moscow, St Petersburg, and Novosibirsk. The billboards feature a QR-code leading to a website that promotes the use of non-violent “partisan” tactics by Putin critics to express their dissent.

In 2020, Navalny, who is an anti-corruption activist and a prominent opponent of Putin, was poisoned in Russia with novichok. He was subsequently evacuated to Germany for treatment and returned to Russia in 2021, where he was arrested, convicted on fraud and extremism charges, and sentenced to thirty years in prison.

His supporters believe that he has suffered from mysterious stomach ailments while in jail and anticipate that he will remain incarcerated as long as Putin is in power.

The Russian authorities have previously apprehended three lawyers representing Navalny, which his allies consider an attempt to “completely isolate” him.

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