Russia’s Navalny says he has become a ‘seamstress’ in prison

FILE PHOTO: Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny attends a court hearing in Moscow
FILE PHOTO: Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny attends a court hearing in Moscow, Russia February 20, 2021. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

December 7, 2021

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny said on Tuesday he had joined a sewing workshop in prison and become a “seamstress”, joking that the experience had changed his attitude towards feminists.

Navalny, 45, said on Instagram that the authorities in his prison camp required inmates to work and gave them a choice between various roles including cooking, baking and sewing.

He said he had chosen to become what the prison management called a seamstress (“shveya” in Russian), even though the word is grammatically feminine and normally only used for women.

In his post, he joked that the word ought to have a masculine form in Russian. The experience had made him more sympathetic towards people he had previously mocked for demanding new feminine nouns such as “blogerka” for a female blogger.

“Society, I am formally requesting a masculine form of the ‘seamstress’ profession,” he said.

Navalny, President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent domestic critic, began a two-and-a-half sentence at a prison camp east of Moscow in March for parole violations related to charges he says were trumped up to thwart his political ambitions.

His latest Instagram post appeared on the day when Putin is due to hold a video call with U.S. President Joe Biden. The United States imposed sanctions on Russia in March over the poisoning of Navalny with a nerve agent last year, which Moscow denied carrying out.

(Writing by Mark Trevelyan, editing by Ed Osmond)

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