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National Review
National Review
24 Feb 2024
David Zimmermann

NextImg:Navalny’s Body Handed over to Mother, Aide Confirms

The body of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny has now been handed over to his mother, one of the deceased politician’s aides confirmed Saturday.

In the week since Navalny’s death last Friday, his mother and widow have been pleading with Russian president Vladimir Putin to release his body to them for a dignified burial. Their appeal was finally answered Saturday morning.

“Alexey’s body was handed over to his mother. Many thanks to all those who demanded this with us,” Navalny spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh posted on X.

She said his mother, “Lyudmila Ivanovna is still in Salekhard,” the Arctic town where Russian authorities held his body for eight days.

Navalny died on February 16 while imprisoned in a nearby penal colony, where he was detained for opposing Putin’s regime. The 47-year-old was said to have lost consciousness after a walk, and passed away shortly thereafter. His death arrived a month ahead of the Russian presidential election, which will take place over the weekend of March 15-17.

No plans for the funeral have been made yet, according to the spokeswoman.

“The funeral is still pending. We do not know if the authorities will interfere to carry it out as the family wants and as Alexey deserves. We will inform you as soon as there is news,” Yarmysh added.

In a video message released Tuesday, Navalny’s mother asked Putin to return her son’s body.

“I have not been able to see his body for five days, they have not even handed it over to me and have not even told me where it is,” she said.

“I appeal to you, Vladimir Putin, the resolution to the issue depends solely on you,” she added. “Let me finally see my son. I demand that Alexei’s body be immediately handed over so that I can humanely bury him.”

Yulia Navalnaya, the Russian opposition leader’s widow, similarly called for the release of her late husband’s body, but took it one step further by accusing Putin of withholding the body in order to conceal evidence of poisoning. In a separate video, she claimed the Russian government poisoned Navalny with Novichok — a powerful nerve agent that’s been used by the Putin regime to murder other dissidents. She also vowed to continue Navalny’s work in fighting for her country.

Transfer of the body was made shortly after Navalnaya accused Putin, an Orthodox Christian, of mocking Christianity by trying to force his mother to agree to a secret burial.

“Give us the body of my husband,” Navalnaya said in a video earlier Saturday. “You tortured him alive, and now you keep torturing him dead. You mock the remains of the dead.”

“No true Christian could ever do what Putin is now doing with the body of Alexei,” she added. “What will you do with his corpse? How low will you sink to mock the man you murdered?”