16 Feb 2024

Alexei Navalny, Russia's most prominent Opposition leader and critic of Vladimir Putin, dies in prison

Alexei Navalny, Russia's most important opposition leader for the past decade, has died in prison. Jail department officials gave this information.

Alexei Navalny was counted among the vocal opponents of President Vladimir Putin. He was serving a 19-year jail sentence.

The case in which he was given this punishment was said to be politically motivated.

Last year Alexei Navalny was transferred to the Arctic Circle prison. It is counted among the harshest prisons in Russia.

Prison department officials said that Alexei Navalny was feeling unwell after taking a walk on Friday.

The prison department issued a statement saying that Navalny had lost consciousness almost immediately. The emergency medical team was called immediately. The medical team tried its best to resuscitate but could not succeed.

Russia's Investigative Committee said it had opened an investigation into his death.

Navalny's press secretary Kira Yarmysh said his team had not been informed of his death.

"Alexei's lawyer is now flying to Kharp," where his prison colony is, she said in a post on social media.

Russian news agencies reported that President Vladimir Putin had been informed of Navalny's death.

Navalny won a huge following with his criticism of corruption in Russia

Navalny, 47, Russia's most prominent opposition leader, won a huge following with his criticism of corruption in Vladimir Putin's Russia.

His exposes, posted on his YouTube channel racked up millions of views and brought tens of thousands of Russians to the streets, despite Russia's harsh anti-protests laws.

He was jailed in early 2021 after returning to Russia from Germany, where he was recuperating from a near-fatal poisoning attack with Novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent.

In a string of cases he was sentenced to 19 years in prison on charges widely condemned by independent rights groups and in the West as retribution for his opposition to the Kremlin.

Late last year he was moved to a remove Arctic prison colony in Russia's Yamalo-Nenets region in northern Siberia.

The last post on Navalny's Telegram channel, which he managed through his lawyers and team in exile, was a tribute to his wife, Yulia Navalnaya, posted on Valentine's Day.

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