TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny learned Monday from his lawyer that a film detailing his intoxication and political activism won the Oscar for best documentary..
The 46-year-old politician was attending a court hearing via video link from prison when his lawyer broke the news of the documentary “Navalny” by director Daniel Rohr, according to his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh. She called it “the most amazing (Oscar) win announcement in history.”
Yarmysh did not mention Navalny’s initial reaction to his Oscar win.
According to Yarmysh, Navalny faced a hearing in Kovrov, a town near the prison in the Vladimir region, east of Moscow. President Vladimir Putin’s harshest critics took part in the hearing of a complaint he filed against Russian prison officials.
On a daily conference call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on his Oscar win, saying he had not seen the film and therefore “it wouldn’t make sense to say anything” about it. He added that “Hollywood sometimes does not shy away from politicizing its business.”
Russian state television channels largely ignored the win.
Monday’s hearing was one of several lawsuits a defiant Navalny has filed against prison directors over what he claims are abuses of his rights. Two more sessions have been scheduled, but have been postponed to later dates.
The documentary depicts Navalny’s career fighting official corruption, his near-fatal poisoning with a nerve agent in 2020 that he blames on the Kremlin, his five-month recovery in Germany, and his return to Moscow in 2021, where he was promptly arrested at the airport. He was later sentenced to two and a half years in prison, convicted last year and sentenced to another nine years in prison.
Navalny faced relentless pressure from the authorities. He spent several weeks in isolation in a small “punishment cell”, and last month was placed in a restricted housing unit for six months. He is virtually denied phone calls or visits from his family.
At the party on Sunday evening In Los Angeles, Rohr accepted the Oscar by saying he dedicated it to Navalny and all political prisoners around the world.
“Alexei,” he said, “the world has not forgotten your vital message to all of us: we must not be afraid of opposing dictators and tyranny wherever it raises its head.”
As Navalny’s wife Yulia spoke, Saying: My husband is in prison just for telling the truth. My husband is in prison for defending democracy. Alexei, I dream of the day when you will be free and our country will be free. Stay strong, my love.”
His daughter, Dasha, told reporters that the only way the family can keep in touch with him is through letters, as defense lawyers are able to visit him occasionally. She said his health was deteriorating, which was worrying.
Lyubov Sobol, a longtime Navalny ally, said in an interview with The Associated Press that the success of the documentary is “an important sign that the world is seeing the efforts of the struggle for democracy in Russia, and the world is supporting the brave and courageous people who have challenged Vladimir Putin and they have fought the fight unfairly.” symbiotic evil, which now torments the whole world and Ukraine in the first place.
“It’s a very important victory and I was indescribably happy,” Sobol said.
Another Navalny ally, Maria Pevchikh, wrote on Instagram: “Alexei, this is your prize. It’s not about the movie. It’s about the fact that what you do can leave no one indifferent. Be it in Russia, Hollywood or anywhere else.” .(You are) a true hero.”
Associated Press journalist Kostya Manenkov in Tallinn contributed.
For more coverage of this year’s Academy Awards, visit: https://apnews.com/hub/academy-awards
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