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Kremlin critic and opposition figure Navalny dies, State Duma says it is beneficial to West

16 February, 2024 Friday
19:15

On Friday, February 16, the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Russian Federation announced the death of the opposition leader Alexei Navalny in jail

The corresponding message was published by the Office of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District.

"On February 16, 2024, in penal colony No. 3, convicted opposition activist Alexei Navalny began to feel unwell after a walk, almost immediately fainting. The medical staff of the institution immediately arrived, and an ambulance was called. All the necessary resuscitation measures were taken, but they did not give positive results. Paramedics pronounced the convict dead," the statement reads.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Federal Penitentiary Service "is carrying out all checks" and that the cause of Navalny's death "should be determined by doctors."

The Regional Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation reported that a procedural check was being conducted to establish the circumstances of the prisoner's death.

The Public Observation Commission for the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District stated that it had not received any health complaints from Alexei Navalny.

Navalny's spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said she had no information about the politician's death.

"The Federal Penitentiary Service in the Yamalo-Nenets District is spreading the news about the death of Alexei Navalny in the penal colony No.3. We have no confirmation of this yet. Alexei's lawyer is now flying to Kharp. As soon as we have any information, we will report it," Yarmysh said.

During a visit to Germany, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Navalny was killed by Putin.

The head of the European Council, Charles Michel, said that the EU holds the Russian authorities responsible for Navalny's death. Latvian President Edgars Rinkēvičs also blamed the Russian authorities for Navalny's death.

Read more about the West's reaction to Navalny's death

Russian State Duma says the West is "to blame" for Navalny's death

Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin blamed the West for Navalny's death.

Volodin was quoted in the telegram channel of The Moscow Time media outlet.

"All of them, their names are well known: from the NATO secretary general and the US leadership to Scholz, Sunak and Zelenskyy, are responsible for Navalny's death. It is they who have made a huge number of failed decisions and clung to their positions who benefit from his death," Volodin said.

The leader of the Just Russia - For Truth party, Sergei Mironov, said that Navalny's death is beneficial to "Russia's enemies.”

"The death of Alexei Navalny, previously convicted of extremism, is beneficial to many of Russia's enemies, including those who tried to poison him earlier," he wrote on his Telegram channel.

According to him, the cause of Navalny's death needs to be investigated thoroughly to reflect the "inevitable information attacks of the West.”

Who is Alexei Navalny?

Alexei Navalny was born on June 4, 1976, in the village of Butyn, Moscow region. Navalny has organized protests against corruption in Russia and against President Vladimir Putin and his government. He is the recipient of the 2021 Sakharov Prize.

In January 2014, the People's Alliance party led by Navalny supported the participants of the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity, condemning the government's violent suppression of the protests.

In 2014, Navalny called the occupation of Crimea illegal but opposed the return of the peninsula to Ukraine. In an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio station, answering the question "Whose Crimea?", Navalny said that "Crimea belongs to the people who live in Crimea" and added that "Crimea will remain part of Russia and will never again become part of Ukraine in the foreseeable future".

At the same time, Navalny said a phrase with which his position on Crimea was later associated." "Is Crimea a sandwich, or what, to return it back and forth?”

Subsequently, he allegedly changed his position. In particular, Navalny condemned Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and while in prison, he made public the thesis that Russia must return all occupied territories to Ukraine and pay reparations.

The Anti-Corruption Foundation, created by Navalny, published anti-corruption investigations into former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and other Russian government officials and businessmen.

On December 30, 2014, Navalny was sentenced in Russia to 3.5 years of probation on charges of embezzlement and money laundering from the French company Yves Rocher Vostok. His brother Oleg received the same, but realistic, sentence in the same case.

On August 20, 2020, Navalny was poisoned. He fell into a coma on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow. On August 24, he was transported to the Charité clinic in Berlin for treatment. On September 23, he was discharged from the hospital. Navalny accused the Russian authorities of the poisoning. In December, he published a video with the results of an investigation by the Bellingcat community and a number of publications about the perpetrators, managers and customer of the attempted assassination and previous attempts to poison him with the Russian military poison Novichok.

On January 17, 2021, he returned to Russia, where he was detained at the airport. In February, Navalny was sentenced to 2 years and 8 months in prison in the Yves Rocher case.

On December 22, 2021, Navalny's team published an investigation into the leader of the DPR terrorists, Alexander Boroday, calling on Russians not to fight against Ukraine.

On March 22, 2022, the Lefortovo Court of Moscow sentenced Navalny to 9 years in a maximum security prison and a fine of RUB 1.2 million on charges of fraud and contempt of court.

On August 4, 2023, the Moscow City Court sentenced Navalny to 19 years in a special regime colony on charges of extremism.

At the end of December, it became known that Navalny was being held in a colony in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District of the Russian Federation.

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