The 44-year-old was sent to a “completely lawless” penal colony last month to serve a two-and-a-half-year sentence on embezzlement charges that human rights defenders have called fabricated and politically motivated.
The dissident was arrested after returning from Germany, where doctors said he was twice poisoned with a Soviet-era nerve agent.
Navalny began to experience severe back pain last week, along with numbness in his legs that left him unable to stand, his ally Leonid Volkov said. The political prisoner said he was only given two ibuprofen by doctors in response to the pain.
Lawyers for Navalny said they were not allowed to visit him for a daily meeting scheduled for Wednesday due to “unspecified security measures”, in fears that prison administrators are trying to cover up the seriousness of his illness.
Prison officials did not respond to a request for comment.
“Considering all the circumstances that we are experiencing, the sharp deterioration in his health can only cause extreme concern,” Volkov said.
News of the notoriously strict prison comes a day after protesters announced plans to stage the largest anti-Kremlin protest in modern history this spring, in a bid to free Navalny.
Kremlin officials warn that any demonstration is illegal and claim Navalny is a puppet sent by Western countries to destabilize Moscow.
An Instagram account maintained by Navalny supporters documented his health issues on Wednesday, according to The Guardian.
A previous article quoting a letter from the prisoner reportedly described the IK-2 prison camp in Pokrov as a “real concentration camp 100 km from Moscow” and compared the atmosphere to that of George Orwell in 1984.
In another letter from the prison posted to Instagram this week, Navalny compared his fellow inmates to Star Wars stormtroopers, The Guardian said.
“They have cigarettes between their teeth. Instead of laser guns, they have metal crowbars, ”he reportedly wrote. “But wherever they are, at 6:05 am they listen to the national anthem, at 6:10 am they do their exercises, and at 6:30 am they put the porridge in their metal bowls and pour sweet tea. in their metal cups. May the force be with you. ”
With pole wires