Russia: More than 400 people are held as they honor longstanding opponent of Putin, Alexei Navalny

Moscow: According to a well-known rights organization, over 400 individuals were imprisoned in Russia as they paid their condolences to opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who passed away at a remote Arctic prison camp. A priest from the Apostolic Orthodox Church was among those detained; he was taken into custody on Saturday outside his residence and might face prison time and fines.

A longtime adversary of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Navalny has been imprisoned since 2021 after returning to his home country after suffering a nearly fatal nerve agent poisoning, which he attributed to the Kremlin. His unexpected death dealt a fatal blow to Putin’s detractors and provoked fury throughout the world. Western politicians, among them US President Joe Biden, accused Putin of being to blame.

On Friday and Saturday, hundreds of people showed their support for Navalny by swarming impromptu memorials and monuments honoring victims of political persecution with flowers and candles. These events took place in dozens of Russian towns. Over 401 people had been arrested by police by Saturday night, according to the rights organization OVD-Info, which keeps tabs on political arrests and offers legal assistance. Russia’s second-largest city, St. Petersburg, was the source of more than half of the arrests.

After announcing on social media that he would be hosting a memorial service for Navalny, Apostolic Orthodox Church priest Grigory Mikhnov-Voitenko was detained outside of his residence. He was arrested for planning a protest and put in a holding cell at a police precinct; however, OVD-Info said that he subsequently had a stroke and had to be hospitalized.

Court authorities said late on Saturday that 42 of the people seized on Friday had been sentenced to spend one to six days in prison by St. Petersburg courts, while nine others had been fined. OVD-Info reports that at least six individuals in Moscow received orders to spend fifteen days in prison. According to the organization, two additional people were imprisoned in the city of Bryansk and one more in the southern city of Krasnodar.

Concerns surround Navalny’s death still.
On Friday, Russian jail officials said that Navalny had been ill on a stroll at a detention facility. He almost passed out almost instantly, and all efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful. Serving a 30-year sentence in a “special regime” prisoner colony above the Arctic Circle—the highest security category of prisons in the nation—Navansky has been a lifelong and ferocious opponent of Putin and the Kremlin. After his return to Russia, he was sentenced to three years in jail.

Less than a month before an election that would extend Putin’s six-year term in office, the shocking discovery incited additional fury and condemnation against the head of the Kremlin, who has clamped down on domestic dissent. The politician was “murdered,” according to Navalny’s team on Saturday, and they accused the government of purposefully delaying the corpse’s release. Navalny’s mother and attorneys received conflicting information from the many institutions they visited in their search for the body.

According to Navalny’s representative, Kira Yarmysh, a message sent to Navalny’s mother said that he passed away on Friday at 2:17 p.m. As his mother came to the prison colony on Saturday, authorities informed her that her son had died from “sudden death syndrome,” according to Ivan Zhdanov, the head of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, who posted on X, the previous name for Twitter. Through a video hookup to the court, Navalny was seen laughing only the day before he passed away. He laughed and asked a judge to top up his own account with a portion of his enormous income.

Yulia Navalnaya, the late politician’s widow, made her first Instagram post after her husband’s unexplained death in jail. She shared a heartfelt moment with Navalny and captioned it, “I Love You.”. She had already delivered a stirring address at the Munich Security Conference in which she warned that Putin and his supporters would face consequences for the killing of Navalny.

Alexei Navalny: Who was he?
One of Putin’s most ferocious opponents, Navalny, turned his criticism of the latter’s party into a catchphrase for his followers and a source of great frustration for the Kremlin. He also made an effort to run against Putin in the Russian presidential election, but he was disqualified from running because of a previous conviction for fraud, which he described as “politically motivated.”.

Navalny was raised in a community around 60 miles from Moscow, having been born in the village of Butyn, which is west of Moscow, in 1976. He completed his legal studies at the People’s Friendship University of Russia in Moscow in 1997, and in 2010, he was a fellow at Yale University in the United States for a year. His emphasis on corruption in Russia’s shady political-business landscape helped him get recognition.

His research shifted from concentrating on corruption to criticizing the political system as it is now implemented in Russia, where Putin has ruled for more than 20 years. He played a pivotal role in the historic wave of demonstrations against the marginalization of independent candidates and the questionable outcomes of the national election. Over the years, he was found guilty of many crimes, including fraud, contempt of court, and violating his parole.

During a journey to Moscow in 2020, the anti-corruption crusader became ill and experienced excruciating pain. Tests revealed that novichok, a nerve toxin, was used to poison him before he went into a coma. The former Soviet Union created the very poisonous toxin known as Novichok. Despite reservations, Navalny received treatment in Germany and returned to Russia in 2021, when he was detained without delay.

Navalny has been imprisoned three times since 2021; he has contested each conviction on the grounds that it was politically motivated. Any organization associated with Navalny, according to Russian officials, would be labeled as an “extremist organization” and prohibited from running for public office. Over 10,000 people were arrested by police as a result of the events, which set off widespread demonstrations that spread to even the most remote parts of Russia.

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