Alexei Navalny, Russia's opposition leader, is dead, authorities say

  16 February 2024    Read: 385
Alexei Navalny, Russia

Alexei Navalny, Russia's most famous opposition leader, died on Friday after collapsing and losing consciousness at the penal colony north of the Arctic Circle where he was serving a long jail term, the Russian prison service said.

Navalny, 47, rose to prominence more than a decade ago by lampooning President Vladimir Putin and the Russian elite whom he accused of vast corruption, avarice and opulence.

The Federal Penitentiary Service of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District said in a statement that Navalny "felt unwell" after a walk at the IK-3 penal colony in Kharp, about 1,900 km (1,200 miles) north east of Moscow.
He lost consciousness almost immediately, it said.

"All necessary resuscitation measures were carried out, which did not yield positive results. Doctors of the ambulance stated the death of the convict," the prison service said, adding that causes of death were being established.

Putin has been told about Navalny's death, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. Putin, who is running for re-election in a month, was shown on a television clip visiting a factory in the Urals.

Supporters of Navalny said they could not confirm he was dead, but that if he was then they believed he had been killed.

"Russian authorities publish a confession that they killed Alexei Navalny in prison," Navalny aide Leonid Volkov wrote on social media. "We do not have any way to confirm it or to prove this isn’t true."

Condemnation quickly poured in from Western governments.

"Dreadful news about Alexei Navalny... If the report about his death in Russian prison is true it represents another terrible crime by Putin’s regime," Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said on X.

"The ruthlessness against Navalny shows again why it is necessary to continue to fight against authoritarianism."



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