Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : UK sanctions heads of Arctic penal colony where Alexei Navalny was killed [February 2024]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 21 February 2024.

  • the UK has sanctioned 6 individuals heading up the penal colony where Alexei Navalny died on Friday after years of mistreatment by the Russian authorities
  • sanctioned individuals will be subject to asset freezes and travel bans
  • the UK calls for Mr Navalny’s body to be released to his family immediately and for a full and transparent investigation to take place

Those in charge of the Arctic penal colony where Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny was detained and killed will be banned from the UK and see their assets frozen under new sanctions announced by the Foreign Secretary today.

The sanctioned individuals include Vadim Konstantinovich Kalinin, who oversaw the brutal prison camp where Mr Navalny was kept in solitary confinement for up to 2 weeks at a time. Mr Navalny’s condition had deteriorated in his 3 years in prison. Mr Navalny suffered from being denied medical treatment, as well as having to walk in –32C weather while being held in the prison.

The UK is the first country to impose sanctions in response to the death of Mr Navalny, a political prisoner who dedicated his life to exposing the corruption of the Russian system, calling for free and open politics, and holding the Kremlin to account.

Foreign Secretary David Cameron said:

It’s clear that the Russian authorities saw Navalny as a threat and they tried repeatedly to silence him. FSB operatives poisoned him with Novichok in 2020, they imprisoned him for peaceful political activities, and they sent him to an Arctic penal colony. No-one should doubt the oppressive nature of the Russian system.

That’s why we’re today sanctioning the most senior prison officials responsible for his custody in the penal colony where he spent his final months. Those responsible for Navalny’s brutal treatment should be under no illusion – we will hold them accountable.

The following individuals are being sanctioned under the UK’s Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations for their responsibility for activity that violates the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and the right to life. Namely, they are responsible for the custody of Alexei Navalny in their positions as Head or Deputy Head of Arctic Penal Colony IK-3:

  • Colonel Vadim Konstantinovich Kalinin: Head of IK-3 Arctic Penal Colony ‘Polar Wolf’
  • Lieutenant Colonel Sergey Nikolaevich Korzhov: Deputy Head
  • Lieutenant Colonel Vasily Alexandrovich Vydrin: Deputy Head
  • Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Ivanovich Pilipchik: Deputy Head
  • Lieutenant Colonel Aleksandr Vladimirovich Golyakov: Deputy Head
  • Colonel Aleksandr Valerievich Obraztsov: Deputy Head

Following Mr Navalny’s death on Friday, the FCDO summoned a representative of the Russian government to make clear that Alexei Navalny’s death must be investigated fully and transparently, and those in the Russian regime responsible held to account.

Following news that Mr Navalny’s family is being denied access to his body, the UK is also calling for the Russian authorities to release his body to them immediately.

The Foreign Secretary will attend the G20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Brazil today, where he will use the opportunity to call out Russia’s aggression and its global impact directly to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.