Alexei Navalny’s Letter Written Five Days Before his Death
February 19, 2024
Source: Facebook
Alexei Navalny found the strength to correspond with many dozens, hundreds of people. He had enough love for life and fortitude for that too. And one can imagine what each of these letters cost him – in the tortured conditions of a punishment cell, when both a pen and paper are grounds for a brutal fight with the administration, while prohibiting writing is a convenient way for the torturers to inflict another blow, another wound on a prisoner.

And still he wrote. Not about how hard it is for him, how scared or how hungry he is. He wrote about life, about impressions, about hopes, and sometimes about books.

Here is the last letter I received from Alexei Navalny – five days ago. Read it, I think it is an incredibly important and powerful letter. This is the voice of a living person, coming to us from hell on earth.

You won't believe it – the letter is about Chekhov. About Chekhov, whom he read there, in a cell beyond the Arctic Circle, in the last days of his life, and whom he considered important to tell people about.

Yes, I have permission to show you this letter.

Sergey Parkhomenko, journalist

To Yulia. For Sergey

Sergey, hi

I wrote to Varya about Sorokin, and I’m writing to you about Chekhov!
After all, I left the colony without almost any books. Those that were there I read when I was being transported.

I arrived and told them in quarantine: bring me something to read from the library. The assortment was on point: Sunday, Crime and Punishment and… stories and plays by Chekhov. Well, I thought, right on cue. You’d written to me about the plays, and here they were. From the first one I learned where the phrase “Greece has everything” came from; it was often said in my house – that is, at my parents’. From The Wedding. But then I was in for a shock: the special regime prisoners were not so reverent toward APC [Anton Pavlovich Chekhov] and tore out half the pages from all the other plays. So, the plays remain on my waiting list, alas. But a lot of stories made it. And, you know, I was reading and kept thinking that I should share [with you], write to you. From school we (well, at least I) have had the impression that Chekhov’s stories are simple, light things. Kind of funny, but not so much. “Whitebrow,” “Gooseberries.” What else do they read at school? "The Man in aCase."

And then I read this whole damn “Cargo 200” from the end of the 19th century. My Life, Three Years, In the Ravine, etc. I don’t find the same gloom even in FMD’s [Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky’s] descriptions of hopelessness and poverty. Really, when I finished reading In the Ravine, I just stared at the wall for another five minutes. Just like after watching Cargo 200. Who could have told me that the darkest Russian writer is Chekhov. So, you were right, of course. You need to read the classics! We don't know them! Hugs, A.
Share this article
Read More
You consent to processing your personal data and accept our privacy policy