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Russia advances in Ukraine as Navalny’s family demand answers: Live updates

12:30 p.m. ET, February 19, 2024

Some of Navalny’s correspondence while held in captivity have been published

Letters and correspondence obtained by the Free Press (FP), a US based media company and independent media organization Holod.Media show Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny – who died at the age of 47 – had been communicating with famous refusenik Natan Sharansky and readers of Holod.Media at the organization’s request. 

The term “refusenik” referred to those who had been refused exit visas in the Soviet Union.

The correspondence began between Navalny and Sharansky on April 3, 2023, and lasted until April 17, 2023, according to the letters published by the FP. The FP published two letters Navalny wrote to Sharansky and one letter Sharansky wrote in response.  

Navalny’s team told CNN that it is “safe to presume” the letters were written by Navalny. 

The letters published by the FP show a shared humor between the two, as Sharansky called the punishment cell where he was held his “alma mater” and Navalny joked there was no better place to spend the Holy Week (Easter week) than in a punishment cell, according to the FP.  

Navalny was the first to reach out to Sharansky on April 3 of last year from penal colony IK-6, saying that he was expecting to be transferred to the same colony where Sharansky once served his sentence and adding that there will “probably be a plaque” saying “Natan Sharansky was held here,” according to letters published by the FP.

The FP say Navalny obtained a Russian copy of Sharansky’s memoir ‘Fear No Evil’ from his lawyers before reaching out. In a second letter, Sharansky said he received a “kind shock” after receiving his letter and responded to him “not only as an ‘author to reader’” but also as an “admirer.”

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