Putin’s main opponent Alexei Navalny dies in Siberian prison

Elizabeth Smith

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

Many in the West have pointed the finger at the Kremlin for the death of its main opponent, starting with Zelensky, according to whom Navalny “was killed”. However, his staff claims that they have not yet received confirmation of his death.

The official reconstruction

“On February 16 of this year, in correctional colony No. 3, prisoner Navalny A.A. felt ill after a walk, almost immediately losing consciousness. Medical workers from the institution immediately arrived and a medical team of emergency”, reads the statement.

“All the 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 to be ascertained”, adds the statement re-launched by the Russian agencies.

Putin informed of death

President Vladimir Putin has been informed of the death of his main opponent, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “It was reported to the president,” Peskov told reporters. Adding that “it is up to the doctors to clarify” the cause of death. “I don’t know. The doctors have to understand it somehow,” the spokesman told journalists who asked him if he knew the reasons for the opponent’s death.

“The Russian Federal Penitentiary Service in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region is spreading the news of the death of Alexsei Navalny in the penal colony IK-3. We have no confirmation yet. Alexsei’s lawyer is on his way to Kharp. As soon as we have information , we will give them”, is the message posted on X by Kira Yarmysh, Navalny’s spokesperson.

“We have no reason to believe Russian state propaganda. But if it’s true then you can’t say that ‘Navalny is dead’. But that ‘Putin killed Navalny’. I don’t trust them one bit,” says one of Alexsei Navalny’s closest collaborators, Leonid Volkov.

For an EU source he was “slowly killed”

“Alexei Navalny was slowly killed by Vladimir Putin. He was a person we admired and appreciated. We followed his battle for years. He had been poisoned, treated in Germany, and then wanted to return to Russia to continue his battle. It is was slowly killed in prison.” A senior EU official declared this.

“Putin kills all his opponents. Sometimes it is difficult to think that we are in the 21st century”, highlighted the source who spoke to the press ahead of the meeting of foreign ministers to be held on Monday. “The fact will certainly emerge at the meeting,” the official added.

Read also: Russia, who will challenge Putin in the March elections?

The international reactions

“Alexei Navalny fought for the values of freedom and democracy. For his ideals, he made the ultimate sacrifice. The EU holds the Russian regime solely responsible for this tragic death. I offer my deepest condolences to his family and to those who fight for democracy around the world in the darkest conditions. Fighters die. But the fight for freedom never ends”, writes the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, in X.

“Deeply troubled and saddened by the news of the death of Alexei Navalny. Putin fears nothing more than dissent from his own people. A sad reminder of what Putin and his regime represent. Let us unite in our fight to safeguard the freedom and security of those who dare to oppose autocracy”, writes the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in X.

Alexsei Navalny “paid for his courage with his life”, commented German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, saying he was “very saddened”.

“Navalny was killed” and Putin will have to “account for his crimes”, said the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, at a press conference in Berlin together with Scholz.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke of “terrible news, enormous tragedy for the Russians. As the main supporter of Russian democracy” – added the prime minister in a post on X – Navalny has demonstrated incredible courage throughout his life. My thoughts go to his wife and the Russian citizens.”

“We have no news now. This is why it is important to estabilish the facts. Russia has urgent questions to answer. […] He was in prison, he was a prisoner, and it is extremely important that Russia gives answers to all the questions about the causes of death,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg upon his arrival at the Munich Conference on safety.

Moscow: NATO countries already have the culprit

The spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, condemned what she called an “instant” reaction of the leaders of the NATO countries to the death in prison of the opponent Alexsei Navalny.

“We don’t have the results of the forensic examination yet, but the West’s conclusions (according to which the Russian authorities are responsible for the politician’s death) are already ready,” Zakharova wrote on Telegram.

Read also: Russia and China lead the “other world”: new countries in the anti-NATO front

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