More than 400 Detained in Russia as Country Grieves the Death of Alexei Navalny

Credits: BNN Breaking

Over 400 individuals were detained across Russia while honoring the memory of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who died at a remote Arctic penal colony, according to a prominent rights group.

Navalny’s sudden death at the age of 47 was deeply felt by many Russians, who had seen him as a key figure challenging President Vladimir Putin’s leadership. Despite surviving a nerve agent poisoning and facing multiple imprisonments, Navalny continued to voice staunch criticism of the Kremlin.

Following the news of Navalny’s passing, hundreds of people in numerous Russian cities gathered at impromptu memorials and monuments dedicated to victims of political repressions. They laid flowers and candles as a tribute to the late politician.

Navalny’s Death Suspect (Credits: Yahoo News Canada)

By Saturday night, police had detained 401 individuals in over a dozen cities, as reported by OVD-Info, an organization that monitors political arrests and provides legal assistance.

In St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city, more than 200 arrests were made. Among those detained was Grigory Mikhnov-Voitenko, a priest of the Apostolic Orthodox Church, who had planned to hold a memorial service for Navalny.

He was arrested outside his home and charged with organizing a rally. Subsequently, he was placed in a holding cell in a police precinct but was later hospitalized due to a stroke.

In response to the detentions, courts in St. Petersburg sentenced 42 individuals to serve from one to six days in jail, while nine others received fines. In Moscow, at least six people were sentenced to 15 days in jail. Additionally, one person was jailed in Krasnodar, and two more were imprisoned in Bryansk.

Questions surrounding the cause of Navalny’s death persisted on Sunday, with uncertainty regarding when the authorities would release his body to his family.

Navalny’s team asserted that he was “murdered” and accused the authorities of deliberately delaying the release of his body. They claimed to have received conflicting information from various institutions.

Despite the official statement from Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service that Navalny died from “sudden death syndrome,” his team remains skeptical.

They pointed out the extensive surveillance in the penal colony and the absence of leaked videos showing his condition. Navalny’s closest ally, Leonid Volkov, emphasized the lack of room for uncertainty in this matter.

Navalny’s mother was informed that he died at 2:17 p.m. on Friday. The Federal Penitentiary Service reported that Navalny fell ill after a walk on Friday and lost consciousness. Despite efforts to revive him, he could not be resuscitated.

Navalny had been in custody since January 2021, following his return to Moscow from Germany, where he had been recovering from nerve agent poisoning that he attributed to the Kremlin. He had received three prison terms since his arrest, all of which he deemed politically motivated.

Hours after Navalny’s death was confirmed, his wife, Yulia Navalnaya, made a passionate statement at the Munich Security Conference, expressing doubt about the news from official Russian sources. She warned Putin and his allies that they would be held accountable for their actions.

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