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National Review
National Review
17 Feb 2024
Brittany Bernstein


NextImg:Alexei Navalny’s Family Confirms His Death, Asks for His Body’s Immediate Return

Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny’s family has been officially notified of his death and is calling for his body to be handed over to his family “immediately,” his spokesperson said Saturday. 

“Alexey Navalny was murdered. His death occurred on February 16 at 2:17 p.m. local time, according to the official message to Alexey’s mother,” spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said in a post on social-media.

“An employee of the colony said that the body of Navalny is now in Salekhard. It was picked up by investigators from the IC [Investigative Committee]. Now they are conducting ‘investigations’ with him,” she said.

“We demand that Alexey Navalny’s body be handed over to his family immediately,” Yarmysh said.

His family’s confirmation of his death in an Arctic penal colony where he was serving his extended prison sentence comes one day after the Russian prison service said 47-year-old Nalavny had passed away after feeling uneasy after a walk.

“On February 16, 2024, in penal colony No. 3, convict A.A. Navalny felt unwell after a walk, almost immediately losing consciousness,” the prison service for the Yamalo-Nenets region said on its website, according to NBC News.

“The facility’s medical workers immediately arrived at the scene and an emergency medical team was called in. All necessary resuscitation measures have been carried out, but they did not yield positive results. Emergency medics confirmed the death of the convict,” the statement added.

Navalny was poisoned with Novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent, in August 2020 and later returned to Russia after recovering in Germany. Russian authorities arrested Navalny in January 2021 and sentenced him to two-and-a-half years in prison for violating probation on politically-motivated embezzlement charges.

Russian authorities then sentenced Navalny to a 19-year prison term for extremism charges related to his anti-corruption activism.

Navalny’s team had expressed concern about the dissident’s health in the brutal prison conditions. He previously said he slept under a newspaper for warmth.

He went missing in December after a serious health incident, his team said. His allies were not given access to a video feed to watch the court hearings inside the prison where Navalny was being held, his spokesperson said.

In a speech on Friday afternoon, President Biden said Russian president Vladimir Putin is “responsible for Navalny’s death.”

“His death in a Russian prison and the fixation and fear of one man only underscores the weakness and rot at the hear of the system Putin has built,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday. “Russia is responsible for this,” Blinken added.

“Putin does not only target the citizens of other countries, as we’ve seen with what’s happening in Ukraine right now, he also inflicts terrible crimes on his own people,” he added.

“As people in Russia and around the world are mourning Navalny today, because he was so many things that Putin was not. He was brave, he was principled, he was dedicated to building a Russia where the rule of law existed and it applied to everybody,” Biden said.

“He knew it was a cause worth fighting for, and obviously even dying for it,” he added.