Navalny’s Body Finally Released To Mother Amid Controversy Over Public Moscow Funeral

Anti-Putin activist Alexei Navalny died in a far norther arctic Russian prison on February 16, but since then his family has complained that authorities would not release his body in a timely manner. Russian authorities have listed his death as from “natural causes” – but few other details were given.

His mother starting early last week traveled to the remote IK-3 penal in Kharp, which lies some 1,900 km (1200 miles) northeast of Moscow. She said that prison officials were refusing to hand over her deceased son. But on Saturday Kira Yarmysh, a longtime representative of Navalny, announced in a statement on X, “Alexei’s body was given to his mother. Thank you very much to everyone who demanded this with us.”

Via Reuters

Referencing the opposition leader’s mother, she said: “While Lyudmila Ivanovna is in Salekhard. The funeral is yet to come. We don’t know whether the authorities will intervene with carrying them out the way the family wants and as Alexey deserves. We will provide information as it becomes available.”

Last Monday prison officials offered as the reason for the delayed transfer an apparent ongoing autopsy procedure which involved a “chemical examination” for up to 14 days, but the statement was unclear and ambiguous as to the purpose.

The listed cause of death has since been revealed as “sudden death syndrome” – a term generally used in Russian prisons to describe cardiac-related issues including heart attack.

Both his widow and legal team have laid blame ultimately on President Putin and Kremlin authorities for his untimely death in the high-secure Russian prison, which lies in an Arctic Circle area of harsh conditions. Western media such as CNN have been calling the place of his prior confinement a “gulag” – in order to conjure images of brutal Soviet times.

Several European countries including Poland have summoned the resident Russian ambassadors to demand an explanation and condemn his arrest, trial and death.

Navalny’s team has accused Russian authorities of intentionally delaying the release of his body in order to block a public funeral and burial, fearing it would become a large anti-Putin event and trigger broader protests. We’ve previously noted the curious timing of Navalny’s death, global media coverage, and controversy in the aftermath.

On Friday the US and EU slapped some of the biggest single wave of sanctions on Russian entities connected with the defense industry since the start of the war. They explained the punitive measures are in part due to Navalny’s imprisonment and death.

Saturday marks the two-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and so likely his funeral will coincide with the grim reminder of the war’s start. His widow, Yulia Navalnaya, is already being hailed by Western officials and in media as Russia’s new opposition leader. President Biden also met with her Thursday

President Joe Biden met with the widow of Alexei Navalny, Yulia Navalnaya, and their daughter, Dasha, in California on Thursday, less than a week after her husband died in a Russian prison.

“I had the honor of meeting with Alexei Navalny’s wife and daughter and to state the obvious: He was a man of incredible courage and it’s amazing how his wife and daughter are emulating that,” he told reporters. “We’re going to be announcing sanctions against Putin, who is responsible for his death, tomorrow.”

Earlier last week Navalny’s mother addressed the situation in a video put out by his legal team…

Likely his funeral will be held in Moscow, but no date has been set. His mother days ago said that Russian authorities were pressuring her into having a “secret funeral”. She said they wanted her to agree to this before receiving his body, however, she’s remained resistant to giving into what his supporters have condemned as ‘blackmail’ by the Russian government.


This post was originally published on this site