Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny — who is sick and imprisoned — has been hoping to get a visit from a doctor at the “completely lawless” penal colony where he is locked up.
Instead on Thursday, Russian spy Maria Butina, as part of a report for a state-run television network, The Washington Post reported.
The uncalled for visit led to Navalny lecturing Butina — a Kremlin spy who admitted to setting up a Moscow backchannel for Republican operatives in the US — in front of other prisoners, calling her “a parasite and a servant of thieves,” the newspaper reported.
Navalny is reportedly on a hunger strike amid harsh treatment in the isolated prison, and last week was denied proper medical treatment for serious back pain and leg numbness that left him unable to stand, allies said.
He has been punished for numerous infractions in penal colony IK-2, including waking up ten minutes early, refusing to exercise and declining to watch a video lecture, according to the report.
Butina’s visit was meant to dispute Navalny’s accusation that he’s being housed in a “genuine concentration camp.”
“Instead of a doctor, Butina, a wretched propagandist from RT channel, arrived today
accompanied by video cameras,” said a post Thursday on Navalny’s Twitter account, according to The Washington Post.
She was reportedly “shouting that this is the best and most comfortable prison,” and interviewed “activists who told her how good everything is.”
“Activists” in the penal camp are prisoners who cooperate with officials and turn in other prisoners for infractions in exchange for privileges, the article said.
Navalny, 44, is serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence on trumped up embezzlement charges that human rights advocates have called politically motivated.
He was arrested after returning from Germany, where he was twice poisoned with a Soviet-era nerve agent.
The Kremlin has denied trying to assassinate him.
Butina was arrested in 2018 and sentenced to 18 months behind bars in the US, after pleading guilty to trying to infiltrate the NRA and other political groups without registering as a foreign agent.