Oleg Navalny: I forgot about the jail in 15 minutes

Олег Навальный: Я забыл о тюрьме через 15 минут

Oleg Navalny in an extensive interview to DW about the political activities of his brother, jail, popularity and niece’s admission to Stanford.

Oleg Navalny has arrived in Berlin to participate in the festival in Red Square, where he introduced the book. In Berlin, the team of tattooists stuffed everyone tattoos in his prison drawings, and in September Moscow will host a large exhibition. Oleg Navalny in June 2018 was released, after serving in the colony 3.5 years of imprisonment. DW correspondent met brother “opposition leader number one” to talk to him about life after prison.

Deutsche Welle: I remember in one of interview you told that you were until you were transferred to the colony, read in the train “Schweik”.

Oleg Navalny: Yes, gave him then one prisoner in “quarantine”. Read “Schweik”, while in “svejkovsky reality.” So sometimes it seems that it is strange. Slightly fewer lice, slightly better living conditions, but, in General, one to one “Svejk”.

– And when you got out of prison, you left this “svejkovsky” reality or still in it?

You know what’s weird? Here I sit in prison, where hell’s “Svejk” and in an inverted reality. But read what is happening at liberty, – and “Svejk” just resting. In the colony you’re not free if somewhere the concert has been banned or closed the site, there’s nothing you can do. But when you learn that people in a short period of time – I don’t know, three years – lost a lot of things and not fought, it is certainly strange. It’s a truism, but life in Russia is no different from life in prison. Except a little living conditions. And in my colony were better than the lives of 20 percent of the population of Russia. The prisoners were fed, no one died of hunger. They basically didn’t work. In areas now often do not work, because the production sites were closed. The prisoners get up at a certain time, go to the dining room at a certain time. All as in ordinary life, just in Russia there is no fence.

In the films show that when people come back home after a severe experience of stress, they are unable to move from it, they dream at night of horrors…

– I’m not dreaming about the prison. I think I’ve forgotten about 15 minutes after he left. All of my friends, and I hope it’s not just words, telling me, “Dude, you do not have changed in that time.” But I don’t really understand why I had to change – I don’t have it in minus forty knee-deep in water to drive piles. I just sat, waited and thought, when it is finally over. Except that it seemed to me that, when released, will flinch at the sound of hissing radio. In the colony constantly scouring the cops, and they have the radio hiss. And every prisoner is close to the forbidden subject. So when you hear the sizzle, you’re hiding something. But when I went, it turned out – I don’t care: walkie talkie & walkie talkie.

– You were irreconcilable configured to those who are where you are planted.

– Nothing has changed. Absolutely. Someday all these guys will certainly go to jail. And they will be well treated, under the law, and will feed them according to the norms, and so on.

Perhaps if the brother becomes President?

– If it is chosen by the people, it will be of course.

– Then there will be elections in which he will participate?

– I believe that there will come a time when there are democratic elections. And that he would participate in them.

Here is an example. Oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov’s sister Irina. She led by a good publishing house “New literary review”. An intelligent woman with a spotless reputation. Prokhorov himself is a pretty ambiguous character. A sister corrects him the image of his perfection.

– On his money.

– Probably including his money…

– Awesome. Come on, we steal two billion, one hundred million will send on raising our image, and all of us will love. It works?

Don’t you think that you yourself in some way perform this function when brother? I don’t know a single person who’d been mistreated.

– I think the haters brother fall into two categories. First – those who love Putin. Those who are disappointed after the protests of 2011 and 12 years. The people of Russia have missed this point. But somehow there are a bunch of people who blame my brother.

– Because he’s not revolted?

– Something like that. But the revolt raises the people. What is happening now is not a revolution or regime change is not the fault of my brother, or your Petit. It is the fault of the people who sits and waits until he starts to die of hunger. Or when the Church starts in your house to build, then start to protest. And then I have something to hatiti? I just picked up and never put in jail. How can hatiti? But I, of course, no function when the brother did not perform. As in the joke: I don’t give money, and the Bank does not sell seeds. I’m not a politician, never speak, rarely giving interviews.

– And the fact that the daughter of Alexei Navalny Dasha now sent to study in America?

– It’s very cool. I’m so glad for her. I was in shock. For me, Stanford is the place that I know on films as Hogwarts. It will be the smartest in the family. Finally in the family at least one smart person would.

– When I found out about Stanford, I just like seeing Alexei Navalny gathers the family and says: “now your interests I put above my political ambitions. Want Stanford will be Stanford.” As Stanford political point of view – not a good move. The number of haters will only increase.

– I’ll tell you how our family fared in this regard. It is clear that its activities we are very much concerned. I was jailed, the parents ruined the business. But we never had about this conversation.


Because that’s just silly. No one would be talking about it. He makes a great case. If I was given 20 years or shot – I would have his case treated with the same wonderful feeling.


– How is it supposed to work? He had to come and say, “Dude, I want to make the country free. But you have something to lose.” And we: “No, we don’t want to lose, please don’t do country free.”

Yes. That is, this conversation never happened?

– Conversation was not. It’s all support, not because he’s our relative, and because he advocates the right idea.

But he may cease to act for the right idea.

– Then will talk. You know, I was put in jail, not a brother. I was put in jail a Federal judge Korobchenko. On the criminal orders of Putin.

– And yet there is a sense that before you and your brother were characters in movies about heroes. And now this movie over and began some kind of romance.

– I couldn’t watch from the side at it all. I really wrote a lot and said, “Thank you, you were so good”. I have this is surprising: not very clear what I have done? That I’m in prison? Such young men one million in every moment of time in Russia.

– But you was not an ordinary prisoner. You was a popular prisoner.

– Actually, I’ll tell you, popularity does not add to the quality of life. Now I, fortunately, have less to learn – I became Zagoreloe, more hairy and a little less mustache. But still, you know, they begin to shake hands, and simply unclear what to say. They’re not me saying thanks, they Express their protest against the government. Letters to the zone, which I also received, needed not only to prisoners, many of those who write them. Do you understand what is happening in the country something not – nice people go to jail. You have to do something. Write a letter, you’ll feel better.