Navalny ‘terribly glad’ documentary about him won an Oscar

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said Wednesday he was “terribly glad” that a film detailing his poisoning and political activism won the Oscar for best documentary feature.

In a series of tweets that appeared on his account on Wednesday, the politician congratulated director Daniel Roher and others involved in the making of “Navalny,” as well as his wife Yulia and his allies in the Anti-Corruption Foundation.

“I am, of course, terribly glad, but while rejoicing, I try not to forget that it wasn’t me who won the Oscar after all,” Navalny said.

The documentary portrays Navalny’s career of fighting official corruption, his near-fatal poisoning with a nerve agent in 2020 that he blames on the Kremlin, his five-month recuperation in Germany and his 2021 return to Moscow, where he was immediately taken into custody at the airport. He was later sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison and last year was convicted of other charges and given another nine-year term.

Navalny has faced unrelenting pressure from authorities. He spent several weeks in isolation in a tiny “punishment cell” and last month was placed in a restricted housing unit for six months. He is effectively deprived of phone calls or visits from his family, while being apparently allowed to write letters or have his lawyers visit occasionally.

In the tweets, Navalny confirmed Wednesday that he learned about the Oscar while attending a court hearing via video link from his prison. He said his lawyer tried to break the news to him by placing a piece of paper in front of a camera, but Navalny couldn’t see what was written on it, so the attorney had to say it out loud — “Your film won an Oscar.”

“I had a very strange feeling at that moment,” the politician said. “It was as if those words didn’t even belong in this world, but, on the other hand, everything here is so weird and crazy that it feels like that’s the only world they belong in.”

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