Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny dies in prison

By 37ci3 Feb16,2024

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny The country’s state media died in prison on Friday, ending a years-long battle against corruption and the Kremlin.

He was 47 years old.

A well-known critic of the president Vladimir PutinNavalny has spent his last months behind bars as the Russian leader reshapes the country to get behind the war in Ukraine.

“On February 16, 2024, AANavalny, a convict, felt ill after a walk in the penitentiary No. 3, and almost immediately lost consciousness,” the “Interfax” agency writes, referring to the country’s orison service.

“The medical personnel of the institution immediately arrived at the scene and the emergency medical team was involved. Although all necessary resuscitation measures were taken, they did not give positive results. The emergency medical workers confirmed the death of the convict,” the information added.

His death deprives the Russian opposition of an outspoken figure, hampered by years of harassment and persecution. All of Putin’s most high-profile critics are now either dead, in prison or in exile.

But Navalny was undoubtedly the greatest thorn On the side of the Kremlin.

For more than a decade, he led nationwide protests against the authorities, ran to challenge members of the Russian establishment and set up a network of campaign offices across the country that have since been disbanded.

Russian Navalny in the first video link from the new prison
Navalny was last seen on January 10 via a video link from one of the penal colonies in the Arctic.Reuters

Born in 1976 in the small town of Bityn near Moscow, Navalny trained as a lawyer and economist, but entered politics in 2008 and three years later founded the anti-corruption fund FBK.

In addition to his oratory skills, he was known for using the online space to promote the results of his research and spread the ideal of what he called “the beautiful Russia of tomorrow”. His digital savvy made him particularly popular among Russia’s more democratically minded teenagers and young adults.

Navalny has become known as Russia’s most outspoken critic of the Kremlin after leading a series of anti-corruption investigations into senior members of the Russian elite.

In 2017, his exposure of the luxurious lifestyle of former president and prime minister Dmitry Medvedev caused mass protests. And an investigation into a luxury “secret palace” allegedly owned by Putin on Russia’s Black Sea coast sparked outrage across Russia in 2021.

Although Navalny tried to fight against Putin in the 2018 presidential elections, he was not allowed to participate in the elections. Accused of embezzlement in 2014, flatly denied it was a fabrication to keep him out of politics. Russian officials tried not to mention Navalny’s name in public to avoid raising his profile.

While Navalny was on a business trip to Russia in August 2020 poisoned with a military nerve agent took his own life and directly blamed Putin.

Navalny survived the ordeal thanks to his family’s insistence that he be flown to Germany for treatment and a lengthy rehabilitation process.

The Kremlin he denied Any involvement in her poisoning, which has been condemned by Western governments and further strained relations with Russia.

Navalny nevertheless decided to return to Russia in early 2021 and was arrested on landing in 2014 on embezzlement charges. He was was convicted up to 2 ½ years in prison for a parole violation related to that conviction. The decision came days later More than 5000 people They were detained in support actions for Navalny all over Russia.

His allies were also prosecuted and his anti-corruption fund was declared extremist organization a few months after his verdict, it forced him to close and many of his senior staff to flee abroad.

He was convicted on new charges of fraud and contempt of court and sentenced to another 9 years in prison. In August, he was sentenced to another 19 years in a maximum-security penitentiary on extremism charges, in what allies and the international community called a Kremlin campaign to keep him in prison forever. Navalny denied all the accusations brought against him, saying they were politically motivated.

His supporters have expressed concern about his treatment in prison and detention, including access to proper medical care and frequent isolation in a small punishment cell.

Putin said in an interview with NBC News in 2021 could not guarantee Navalny would survive imprisonment.

But even in prison, Navalny continued to defy Putin.

Alexei Navalny died in the Arctic Penal Colony
The penal colony where Navalny is being held in Kharp, Russia, about 1,200 miles northeast of Moscow, on January 23, 2024.AP

In his signature but ironic style, Navalny detailed the realities of the Russian penitentiary system and promoted new anti-corruption investigations his team is working on in exile. Through his lawyers, he made statements against the Kremlin and spoke openly against the actions of the Russian government in Ukraine.

He was ordained prisoner of conscience with the US and other governments in 2021 by Amnesty International calls for freedom.

The film about his life won the Oscar for best documentary last year.

But the victory sparked controversy in Ukraine, where some critics have labeled Navalny a Russian nationalist and pointed to comments in 2014 in which he said he saw no difference between Ukrainians and Russians — which Putin used as one of the arguments behind his eight-year war. after. However, Navalny criticized the Russian-backed uprising in eastern Ukraine and later described the large-scale invasion as both unjust and self-defeating.

Navalny is survived by his wife Yulia, daughter Daria and son Zahar.

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