Alexei Navalny's body handed over to his mother, aide says | World News - Hindustan Times
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Alexei Navalny's body handed over to his mother, aide says

Feb 25, 2024 01:44 AM IST

Alexei Navalny's mother had alleged that Russian authorities were planning a secret burial for her son.

The body of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been handed over to his mother, the Associated Press reported, citing one of his top aides.

A protester holds candles and a picture of the late opposition leader Alexei Navalny during a demonstration in Paris on February 22.(Ludovic MARIN / AFP)
A protester holds candles and a picture of the late opposition leader Alexei Navalny during a demonstration in Paris on February 22.(Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

Alexei Navalny, one of the fiercest critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin, died on February 16 in an Arctic penal colony where he was serving a 19-year sentence.

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Alexei Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, has been repeatedly demanding that her son’s body be handed over in accordance with the law. She alleged that Russian authorities were planning a secret burial for Alexei Navalny.

On Saturday, Ivan Zhdanov, the director of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, announced that Alexei Navalny's body has been handed over to his mother.

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He also thanked “everyone” who had called on Russian authorities to return Navalny’s body to his mother.

“Thank you very much. Thanks to everyone who wrote and recorded video messages. You all did what you needed to do. Thank you. Alexei Navalny's body has been given to his mother,” Zhdanov wrote, according to AP.

Navalny's spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said plans for the funeral were still unclear.

"Lyudmila Ivanovna is still in Salekhard. The funeral is still pending. We do not know if the authorities will interfere to carry it out as the family wants and as Alexei deserves," she said, according to AFP.

Earlier on Friday, Alexei Navalny's team said they had filed a lawsuit to obtain the body, alleging that local investigators had threatened to bury the Russian opposition leader on the prison grounds if his mother did not agree to a "secret" funeral.

His team also alleged that the Kremlin was trying to block a public funeral, which could turn into a show of support for Navalny's movement and his opposition to Putin.

Who was Alexei Navalny?

Alexei Navalny was a prominent figure in Russia's divided opposition, often likened to Nelson Mandela by his supporters who anticipated his eventual release from jail to lead the country.

He rose to fame through blogs exposing widespread corruption in Russia, accusing the country's leadership of being "crooks and thieves."

In the 2000s, he participated in Russian nationalist marches and expressed anti-immigrant views, leading to his expulsion from the liberal Yabloko opposition party in 2007.

Navalny survived a poisoning in August 2020, later identified as an attempt to use the nerve agent Novichok. Navalny gained global admiration in 2021 when he willingly returned to Russia from Germany, where he had received treatment for a nerve agent poisoning in Siberia. However, he was promptly arrested upon arrival.

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