Russian Court Orders Arrest of Opposition Leader Navalny’s Widow, Who Lives Abroad

Russian Court Orders Arrest of Opposition Leader Navalny’s Widow, Who Lives Abroad
Yulia Navalnaya, widow of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, attends the 53rd St. Gallen Symposium, in St. Gallen, Switzerland, on May 3, 2024. (Gian Ehrenzeller/Keystone via AP, File)

A court in Russia ordered the arrest of the widow of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny during a hearing Tuesday that was conducted in absentia.

Yulia Navalnaya, who lives abroad, would face arrest if and when she returns to Russia.

Moscow’s Basmanny District Court ruled to arrest Ms. Navalnaya on charges of alleged involvement in an extremist group.

Navalny, the political foe of Russian President Vladimir Putin, died in February in an Arctic penal colony while serving a 19-year sentence on extremism charges that he had condemned as politically motivated. Authorities said he became ill after a walk but have otherwise given no details on Navalny’s death.

Navalny was imprisoned after returning to Moscow in January 2021 from Germany, where he had been recuperating from the 2020 nerve agent poisoning that he blamed on the Kremlin.

Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny is seen in a still image from video before the departure for Moscow at an airport in Berlin
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)

Ms. Navalnaya has accused Putin of her husband’s death and vowed to continue his activities. Russian officials have denied involvement in Navalny’s poisoning and death.

Ms. Navalnaya mocked the court’s order on social media platform X. Her spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh, described the court’s ruling as a recognition of her “merits.”

Russian authorities haven’t specified the charges against Ms. Navalnaya. They appear to relate to authorities designating Navalny’s Foundation for Fighting Corruption as an extremist organization. The 2021 court ruling that outlawed Navalny’s group forced his close associates and team members to leave Russia.