Video of Navalny shows him joking and smiling Thursday

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Just one day before officials announced his death, Russian dissident Alexei Navalny appeared in court via video link from a Russian penal colony, making jokes and smiling.

In a video released by the Russian news outlet Sota, Navalny, known for his humor and charisma, teased the judge overseeing his case Thursday.

“Your Honor, I’m waiting — I will send you my personal account number, so that you can use your huge federal judge’s salary to fuel my personal account,” he said, laughing.

The Russian opposition leader and President Vladimir Putin’s greatest challenger, had been serving a combined decades-long prison sentence in a grueling penal colony above the Arctic Circle for charges including “extremism” and “embezzlement.”


Navalny’s last

prison colony

Navalny’s last prison colony

“I am running out of money,” a grinning Navalny said in the video. “And thanks to your decisions, it will run out even faster. So please send me something. And you guys in the detention centers pitch in as well.”

Prison authorities reported Friday that Navalny “felt unwell” after a walk, “almost immediately losing consciousness.” They said a medical team failed to resuscitate him.

In the days leading up to the announcement of his death, reports indicated Navalny appeared relatively healthy.

The court told the Russian news outlet RBC that during the hearing Thursday, Navalny “seemed fine.” The outlet reported that he “did not express any complaints about his health, actively spoke, and presented arguments in defense of his position.”

Navalny’s lawyer, Leonid Solovyov, told the outlet Novaya Gazeta shortly after the news broke that a lawyer had visited the activist on Wednesday. “Everything was fine then.”

Navalny has been detained in Russia since 2021, when he returned home after surviving a 2020 poisoning attempt the State Department said was carried out by agents of the Russian state. Throughout his detention, he has gone on hunger strikes, was placed in solitary confinement, had limited contact with his family.

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