Russia’s Jailed Alexei Navalny Says He Is Forced To Listen To Pro-Putin Singer Every Morning

Russia's Navalny Says He's Forced To Listen To Pro-Putin Singer Every Morning

Ptuin critic Alexei Navalny is currently in a jail about 60 km (40 miles) north of the Arctic Circle.


Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has complained of being poisoned, assaulted and deprived of proper medical care, but on Monday he disclosed he faced a new challenge: being forced to listen to a pro-Putin pop singer at 0500 every morning.

Navalny, 47, a former lawyer who rose to prominence more than a decade ago by lampooning President Vladimir Putin’s elite and voicing allegations of vast corruption, is currently in a jail about 60 km (40 miles) north of the Arctic Circle.

Sentenced to stay in prison until he is 74 on charges he says were trumped up to keep him out of politics, Navalny said his morning regime now consisted of listening to the Russian national anthem before being played “I am Russian,” a patriotic song performed by a pro-Putin singer called “Shaman”.

Shaman, whose real name is Yaroslav Dronov, has ridden a wave of war-fuelled patriotism to become a staple on state TV and is one of the celebrities officially putting Putin forward to run again for the presidency in March.

His signature song, which he sometimes performs dressed in a black leather outfit with an arm band in the colours of the Russian flag – “I am Russian” – talks of how Russians cannot “be broken” and “go to the end” and carry the blood of their fathers.

The 32-year-old singer courted controversy in November when he simulated setting off a nuclear bomb at a concert broadcast on state TV pushing a red button in a mock nuclear suitcase before fireworks erupted around him.

In a message on X facilitated by his allies, Navalny described a surreal morning routine.

“The singer Shaman came to prominence when I was already in prison so I could neither see him nor listen to his music. But I knew he had become Putin’s main singer. And that his main song was ‘I am Russian’,” wrote Navalny.

“Of course I was curious to hear it, but where could I listen to it in prison. And then they brought me to Yamal (the location of his Arctic prison). And here, every day at 5 o’clock in the morning, we hear the command: ‘Get up!’ followed by the Russian national anthem and then immediately afterwards, the country’s second most important song is played – ‘I am Russian’ by Shaman.”

The irony, said Navalny, was that state propaganda had once highlighted the fact that he used to march with Russian nationalists on annual marches and now, years later, he was being played an ultra-nationalist pop song for educational purposes while doing his morning prison exercises.

“To be honest, I’m still not sure that I correctly understand what post-irony and meta-irony are. But if that’s not it, what is it?,” quipped Navalny.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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