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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Navalny’s widow vows to continue his Kremlin fight, blaming Putin for his death

On Monday, the widow of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny declared her determination to carry on his fight against the Kremlin. Simultaneously, authorities denied access to Navalny’s mother, who seeks to retrieve his body from a morgue believed to be holding it after his recent demise at an Arctic penal colony.

Yulia Navalnaya, fighting back tears, accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of orchestrating her husband’s death in the remote prison. She pledged to hold him and others accountable for the alleged act. Navalnaya criticized authorities for withholding the body from Navalny’s mother, suggesting a cover-up of the purported killing, and referencing his earlier poisoning with a Soviet-era Novichok nerve agent.

Russian authorities asserted that the cause of Navalny’s death at age 47 on Friday is still unknown. Navalny had been incarcerated since January 2021, following his return to Moscow from Germany, where he had recovered from poisoning that he attributed to the Kremlin. Yulia Navalnaya accused the authorities of cowardice and deceit in handling Navalny’s body, and she urged Russians to unite in fulfilling his dream of a better Russia.

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Navalny’s spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh, criticized the Investigative Committee for providing unclear information to Navalny’s mother and accused them of buying time. World leaders, including EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, blamed Putin for Navalny’s death, with discussions about potential sanctions against Russia. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov condemned these statements as “boorish” and “inadmissible.”

Navalny’s mother and lawyers were denied access to the morgue, and Peskov stated that the Kremlin was not involved in the proceedings. Navalny’s ally, Ivan Zhdanov, accused Russian authorities of covering up their crime. Navalny’s death dealt a severe blow to the Russian opposition, and protests erupted across the country.

Authorities detained nearly 300 people attending memorials for Navalny, while over 50,000 individuals submitted requests for Navalny’s remains to be handed over to his relatives. Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service reported that Navalny felt sick and became unconscious after a walk, with the cause of death still under investigation. Navalny’s widow met with EU officials in Brussels, pledging to continue his work despite the personal loss.

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