Alexei Navalny, vocal critic of Vladimir Putin, dies in prison: Russian government


LONDON — Alexei Navalny, the longtime Russian opposition politician and critic of Vladimir Putin — often considered to be a vocal and prominent thorn in the side of the Russian government — has died in prison at age 47, according to the prison service.

“On 02/16/2024, in correctional colony No. 3, convicted Navalny A.A. felt ill after a walk, almost immediately losing consciousness. The medical staff of the institution immediately arrived, and an ambulance team was called. All necessary resuscitation measures were carried out, which did not give positive results. The doctors of the emergency medical service pronounced the convict dead,” the release says.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke about the reported death of Navalny during a meeting with the Indian Minister of External Affairs in Munich, Germany.

“if these reports are accurate, our hearts go out to his wife and to his family,” Blinken said. “Beyond that, his death in a Russian prison and the fixation and fear of one man only underscores the weakness and rot at the heart of the system that Putin has built.”

“Russia is responsible for this,” Blinken continued. “We’ll be talking to many other countries concerned about Alexei Navalny, especially if these reports bear out to be true.”

Not long after the Russian government said Navalny had died, Navalny’s spokeswoman said that — for now — they have no confirmation of his death and that they will address the public as soon as they have more information.

“For now we have no confirmation of that. Alexey’s lawyer is flying now. As soon as we will have any kind of information we will provide it,” Kyra Yarmysh, Navalny’s spokeswoman wrote on X.

Navalny was being held in an Arctic prison camp, after being transferred there in December.

According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been informed.

The White House is trying to confirm Navalny’s death on their side — but for now National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said, “If it’s confirmed, it is a terrible tragedy.”

“Given the Russian government’s long and sordid history of doing harm to its opponents, it raises real and obvious questions about what happened here,” Sullivan said on NPR this morning. “But I’ll withhold further comments on it until we learn more and we are actively seeking confirmation as I know, Mr. Navalny’s family is as well and we’ll determine from there what – what comes next.”

The news of Alexey Navalny’s death is sending shockwaves around the world.

(FILES) Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny stands inside a glass cell during a court hearing at the Babushkinsky district court in Moscow on February 20, 2021. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny died in prison, Russian agencies announced on February 16, 2024.

Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images

Navalny was a giant in Russian politics and has been referred to as Russia’s Nelson Mandela. He made his name with his extraordinary and fearless exposes of Vladimir Putin’s personal wealth and converted that into a movement for a free Russia without Putin.

He had come, for many Russians, to represent the hope of a democratic future for Russia. While he lived, despite the new depths of repression Russia has sunk to in the past two years, he represented hope, fueled by his indomitable optimism still broadcast from his prison cell.

Now, however, the anti-Kremlin opposition has just been all but extinguished.

While the cause of death is not yet known, there has been an immediate uproar of suspicions that he may have been murdered.

The suspicions are not unfounded.

In 2018, Russia’s FSB attempted to murder Navalny with a nerve agent and nearly succeeded.

But ever since he returned to Russia in 2021 and was immediately jailed, there have been fears for his safety. While in prison, he has been subjected to relentless pressure, spending hundreds of days in solitary confinement and, more recently, being moved to a prison camp in the Arctic.

The timing of Navalny’s death is also notable as it comes just a month before Russia’s elections, when he — again — was telling people to mobilize and to try to expose vote rigging, all to undermine Putin’s legitimacy through the vote.

Meanwhile, the pro-Kremlin propaganda channel RT is citing an anonymous source claiming Navalny died from a “blood clot”.

The Kremlin has worked consistently to dismantle Navalny’s peaceful movement, outlawing it as an “extremist organization” and arresting or driving into exile its leaders.


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