(Reuters) – Jailed Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny on Wednesday dedicated his part in an Oscar-winning film about him to those fighting against dictatorship and war.
Director Daniel Roher’s film “Navalny”, about the poisoning that nearly killed Russia’s most prominent opposition figure and his detention upon returning to Moscow in 2021, won the Oscar for best feature documentary on Sunday.
In a series of tweets released by his supporters, Navalny said the early morning radio news bulletin in the penal colony where he is serving an 11-1/2-year sentence had omitted the documentary category from its report on the Oscar ceremony.
“A good sign,” Navalny said he had thought to himself.
But he only received confirmation that the film had won when he attended a court session by video-link and his lawyer gave him the news.
“Of course I’m terribly happy and, as I rejoice, I try not to forget that it wasn’t me who got the Oscar,” he said, praising Roher, his own close aide Maria Pevchikh, and Bulgarian investigative journalist Christo Grozev – “the true star of this film”.
He thanked his wife Yulia for supporting him “and a couple of times stopping me from killing the film crew”.
Navalny finished by saying: “I dedicate all my contribution to honest and courageous people, wherever they live, who find the strength day after day to resist the monster of dictatorship and its constant companion – war.”
In the film, Navalny and Grozev pinned responsibility for the poisoning episode on a team of agents from the FSB state security service.
Russia has denied attempting to kill him. On Monday the Kremlin said that the award showed “a certain element of politicisation” in Hollywood.
After returning from Germany, where he recovered from the poisoning, Navalny was immediately detained. He is now serving time on charges of fraud and contempt of court that he says were trumped up to silence him.
(Writing by Kevin Liffey; Editing by Nick Macfie)