Russia: oppositionist Alexei Navalny dies in prison. His wife: “Putin is responsible, he will be punished”


By John

The Russian opponent, Aleksei Navalny, 47, died in penal colony no. 3 of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, the regional department of the Federal Penitentiary Service reported.

«On February 16 this year, in correctional colony no. 3, prisoner Navalny AA felt ill after a walk, losing consciousness almost immediately. Medical workers from the institute immediately arrived and an emergency medical team was called,” the statement read.

«All necessary resuscitation measures were carried out, but they did not give positive results. The emergency room doctors confirmed the death of the condemned man. The causes of death are being ascertained”, adds the statement re-launched by the Russian agencies.

In Russia he has always been unmentionable, but today his name stands out in large letters even in the state media: Aleksei Navalny, the Kremlin’s number one opponent, died at the age of 47 in prison beyond the Arctic Circle where he had been transferred in recent monthsas announced by the Federal Penitentiary Service but not yet confirmed by lawyers and family.

Navalny, among other things winner of the Sakharov Prize in 2021, he was not only a political opponent, but also one of the most prominent investigative journalists in Russia. In this capacity, with his Anti-Corruption Foundation – declared “extremist” by the Russian authorities, like Al Qaeda-Navalny and his team – they have for years denounced the corruption and cronyism that spreads from local administrations to the most high echelons of the state.

On Navalny’s popular YouTube channel – in prison since January 2021 after being the subject of a daring poisoning attempt – his collaborators continued to publish massive video investigations, which have become a real genre in Russia, with millions of views. Also for this reason, the opponent – who never had access to the mainstream media and whose name President Putin practically always refused to pronounce – had made many enemies in various sectors: from state enterprises to regional governments, through for law enforcement, up to Parliament, the government and the Kremlin.

The Anti-Corruption Foundation follows the money, traces it, sheds light on undeclared or suspiciously accumulated wealth and explains how corruption proliferates in the system created by Putin in almost 25 years of power. Precisely a major investigation into the then prime minister Dmitri Medvedev – which started from the photo of a pair of sports shoes and went on to reveal a real estate empire through a corrupt network of charitable foundations – had triggered, in 2017, widespread street protests in Moscow, which spread then also in the provinces. Navalny, who did not hesitate to define Medvedev as “among the richest and most corrupt men in the country”, had been arrested during an unauthorized demonstration in the capital and hundreds of people with him.

His wife: “Putin should know that he will be punished”

Alexei Navalny’s wife, Julia Borisovnaspoke from the podium of the Munich Security Conference, saying among other things that, if the news of her husband’s death were true, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials must know that “they will be punished” for what they did

The reactions

«Russia is responsible for Navalny’s death» said the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a note underlining that the death of the opponent is proof that “Putin’s system is weak and rotten”. “Navalny’s death is another sign of Putin’s brutality” said the American vice president Kamal Harris in Munich. “No matter what Moscow says, Russia is responsible for her death,” she added. «The death of Alexei Navalny, during his detention, is another sad page that warns the international community. We express our heartfelt condolences and hope that this disturbing event will be fully clarified.” This is what he states the Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.