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Opposition Leader Claims Russian Jails Revamped for Unruly Soccer Fans

Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny leaves a detention center in Moscow, Russia, on June 14, 2018. Navalny has been sentenced to 30 days in jail over unauthorized protest. Photo: AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov

By Eric Mann |

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has claimed that a prison where he was recently detained was renovated to house unruly soccer fans ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup there.

After a 30-day stay in the Specprijomnik correctional facility for staging an unsanctioned protest, Navalny took to Instagram to post about the conditions there. In the Instagram post, Navalny speculated that the prison had been upgraded to house “drunken” fans of other soccer teams, namely England. According to the Belfast Telegraph, Navalny claimed “cells in the prison had been renovated, grates had been painted and holes in the floors had become toilets.” He also claimed soccer balls had been placed in the exercise yard and that television screens had been brought in to broadcast World Cup matches.

Navalny is an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, leading protests against the country’s authorities since at least 2008. He also announced a candidacy for president in the 2018 Russian election, but was banned by authorities over a prior conviction of embezzlement, the accusations of which Navalny denies.


Eric Mann is the communications assistant at the United States Sports Academy. 

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