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  • Leopold Huber

Putin Critic and Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny Dies in Russian Penal Colony

Alexei Navalny, a critic of Putin and Russian opposition leader, has died in a Russian penitentiary in western Siberia. His unexpected demise has created headlines worldwide, but who is Navalny and why is his passing so controversial? 

 

Who is Alexei Navalny? 

Early Life 

Alexei Navalny was born in 1976 in a Ukrainian village called Zalissa, where he lived for ten years before being relocated to Kyiv due to the Chernobyl disaster of 1986. His family then moved to southern Moscow. Once he finished school, he studied law in the ‘People’s Friendship University of Russia’ and graduated in 1998. He then studied securities and exchanges at the ‘Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation’ and graduated in 2001. 

After graduating, he started working as a lawyer for many Russian companies and began to get into politics in the year 2000, when he joined the Russian United Democratic Party, Yabloko. In his time in the party, he filled many party positions and started his own youth organization, but was expelled in 2007.  

 

Political Career 

Navalny continued his political career in the following years, forming his own party, running for multiple public offices and becoming known as one of Putin's most prominent and vocal critics. He denounced the corruption and the increasingly authoritarian nature of the Russian government.  

On August 20, 2020, Navalny was poisoned on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow and was hospitalized, barely recovering. Even though the act was perpetrated by unknown assailants, the poisoners are presumed to be Russian agents due to Navalny's political opposition in Russia and due to the type of poison, Novichok, used. Novichok is a nerve agent and a favourite of Russian operatives. 

On January 17, 2021, Navalny was arrested in Vnukovo airport after returning from Germany and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison due to the violation of his probation from a 2014 embezzlement trial. Since his detention, his sentence has been elongated for many different reasons, including embezzlement and contempt of court. 

What happened to Alexei Navalny and how did the world react? 

What happened? 

On February 16, 2024, the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service declared that Navalny had died at 14:17 local time in prison at Yamalo-Nenets, age 47. The prison where he was held announced that he died from "sudden death syndrome”, but an independent autopsy has not yet been performed on his cadaver. His body was returned to his family on February 24, 2024. 

Due his death being highly unexpected and sudden, the Russian governments antagonistic response to the subject, and previous attempts at his life, many believe Navalny's death to be purposefully perpetrated by Russian assets.  

The situation is currently (27.2.24) developing. 

 

How did the world react? 

The UK has sanctioned the leaders of the brutal prison camp where Alexei Navalny passed away.  It imposed sanctions and travel bans onto six individuals who lead the camp. 

President Joe Biden from the American administration announced a set of more than 500 sanctions targeting Russian assets in response to the death of opposition leader Alexey Navalny.  

“You can expect more from the administration with respect to holding the Kremlin accountable for Mr. Navalny’s death. Today was just the start,” John Kirby, a White House National Security Council spokesperson, told reporters.  

In Russian state news networks, there have been few reports about Navalny's death. The stations that did cover his death gave little information on him and excluded details such as his full name, his reason for imprisonment and his political and personal history. 

 

 

Sources: 

 

 

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