Navalny’s Widow Accuses Kremlin of Hiding Body to Cover up Poisoning, Vows to Continue Fight Against Putin

Wim De Gent
By Wim De Gent
February 19, 2024Europe
Navalny’s Widow Accuses Kremlin of Hiding Body to Cover up Poisoning, Vows to Continue Fight Against Putin
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his wife Yulia Navalnaya are seen on board a plane before the departure for the Russian capital Moscow at an airport in Berlin, Germany, on Jan. 17, 2021. (Maria Vasilyeva/Reuters)

Yulia Navalnaya, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s widow, vowed to continue her husband’s fight against President Vladimir Putin, after the family was denied access to his body.

“I shouldn’t have to be here recording this video,” Ms. Navalnaya said in a video posted on a freshly instated X account.

“Another person should have been here in my place. But this person was killed by Vladimir Putin.”

Ms. Navalnaya vowed to continue her husband’s activism against the Russian president, calling upon all Russians to rally around her and share in her “anger.”

“Anger, rage, hatred for those who dare to destroy our future.”

The video was posted a few hours before Ms. Navalnaya arrived in Brussels to meet with the European Council, which is eyeing new sanctions in the wake of Mr. Navalny’s demise in a Russian prison.

“We know exactly why Putin killed Alexei three days ago,” Ms. Navalnaya’s asserted in her video.

“We will tell you about it soon,” she added, vowing to “definitely find out” who committed the alleged murder. “We will tell you their names and show you their faces,” she said, before proudly stating to continue the work of her husband.

“I will continue to fight for our country.”

The video message comes shortly after Mr. Navalny’s mother and his lawyers were denied the ability to claim, or even see the Russian activist’s body, as Kyra Yarmysh, spokesperson to the late Mr. Navalny, announced on Monday.

“Alexey’s mother and his lawyers arrived at the morgue early in the morning. They were not allowed to go in. One of the lawyers was literally pushed out. When the staff was asked if Alexey’s body was there, they did not answer.”

One hour later, Ms. Yarmysh posted a follow-up.

“The Investigative Committee informed the mother and the lawyers that the investigation of the death of Navalny has been extended. They don’t say how long it will take. The cause of death is still ‘unknown,’” she wrote.

“They lie, buy time for themselves and do not even hide it.”

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov confirmed that the investigation into the cause of death was ongoing, but dismissed what he called “frankly boorish” accusations of a Kremlin-ordered assassination as “unacceptable” and premature.

No date has been announced when Mr. Navalny’s body will be handed over.

NTD Photo
People light candles during a vigil for Alexiei Navalny in front of the Russian Embassy in Munich, Germany, on Feb. 16, 2024. (Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

According to Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service, Mr. Navalny felt unwell after a walk and lost consciousness almost immediately; emergency personnel were unable to resuscitate him.

Mr. Navalny’s supporters have explained the 47-year-old lawyer’s death as a poisoning.

The Russian activist had been poisoned before, during a visit to Siberia in 2020. He was rushed to Germany for treatment, where it was determined Mr. Navalny had been poisoned with Novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent.

Mr. Navalny blamed Mr. Putin for the attack, which the Kremlin denied.

Upon his return to Russia in 2021, Mr. Navalny was arrested over an ongoing lawsuit. When he died, he was serving a 30-plus year jail sentence for “inciting extremist activity” and “rehabilitating Nazi ideology,” and other charges. He had just recently been transferred to a remote penal colony, 1,900 kilometers (1,181 miles) northeast of Moscow, inside the Arctic circle.

Mr. Navalny, an unapologetic Russian nationalist who once vowed to deport all non-white immigrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus, owes his political fame inside Russia primarily to his anti-corruption efforts, and internationally as a fierce Kremlin critic who managed to organize massive protests against Mr. Putin.

The Kremlin has labeled Mr. Navalny and his supporters as extremists linked to a CIA intent on destabilizing Russia from within.

In recent days, Russian media outlets have been reporting that, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to draw ire from the Western world, Mr. Navalny’s death comes at a politically convenient time for the West, with some Kremlin hawks suggesting that the West could be behind his death.

Meanwhile, all across Russia people have been leaving flowers, candles, and photos of Mr. Navalny at local memorials for victims of communism, in an unambiguous expression of their feelings towards their government and Mr. Navalny.

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