Navalny's mother appeals to Putin to release her son's body so she can bury him with dignity

Russian Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny's mother Lyudmila Navalnaya speaks, near the prison colony where her son died.
Russian Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny's mother Lyudmila Navalnaya speaks, near the prison colony where her son died. Copyright AP/AP
By Euronews with AP
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button
Copy/paste the article video embed link below:Copy to clipboardCopied

Dissident's family and supporters have spoken out since his death despite open repression of public support.

ADVERTISEMENT

The mother of Alexei Navalny has appealed directly to Vladimir Putin for the return of her son's body.

Lyudmila Navalnya and supporters of the late Russian opposition leader say authorities have given no information about his death or whereabouts of his remains.

Navalnya recorded an address to the Russian president outside the Arctic prison where her son met his end.

"Behind me is the IK-3 'Polar Wolf' penal colony, where my son Alexei Navalny died on 16 February," she says in the clip, which was posted to social media by Navalny's team. "I haven’t been able to see him for five days, they (authorities) don't give me his body, and they don't even tell me where it is.

"I’m reaching out to you, Vladimir Putin. The resolution of this matter depends solely on you. Let me finally see my son. I demand that Alexei’s body is released immediately, so that I can bury him like a human being,” she says.

Russian authorities have said the cause of Navalny’s death is still unknown and refused to release his body for the next two weeks as the preliminary inquest continues, members of his team said.

Despite the risk of arrest, people have continued to lay flowers at memorials in Russia to Putin's most vocal critic. In a further sign of the crackdown on his followers, his widow's account on X, formerly Twitter, was briefly shut down on Tuesday.

Yulia Navalnaya, widow of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny gives a video message after her husband's death.
Yulia Navalnaya, widow of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny gives a video message after her husband's death.AP/Navalny Team

The social platform gave no explanation as to why Yulia Navalnaya's account was temporarily suspended.

On Monday, she released a video accusing Putin of killing her husband and alleged the refusal to release his body was part of a cover-up.

“They are cowardly and meanly hiding his body, refusing to give it to his mother and lying miserably,” she said.

In a speech Monday to the European Union's Foreign Affairs Council, she urged EU leaders not to recognise the results of next month's election, to sanction more Putin allies and to help Russians who flee the country. A copy of her remarks was released Tuesday by Navalny spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected the allegations of a cover-up, telling reporters that “these are absolutely unfounded, insolent accusations about the head of the Russian state.”

Josep Borrell, the European Union's foreign policy chief, has called for an international investigation of Navalny's death, but Peskov said the Kremlin would not agree to such a demand.

Mourning under pressure

Many Russians had seen Navalny as a rare hope for political change amid Putin’s unrelenting crackdown on the opposition. His death has now deprived the Russian opposition of its best-known and most inspiring politician less than a month before an election that is all but certain to give Putin another six years in power.

Since Navalny’s death, about 400 people have been detained across in Russia while trying to pay tribute to him with flowers and candles, according to OVD-Info, a group that monitors political arrests.  

Authorities cordoned off memorials to victims of Soviet repression across the country which were being used as sites to leave makeshift tributes. Police removed the flowers at night, but more are still appearing.

Peskov said police were acting “in accordance with the law" by detaining people paying tribute to Navalny.

Women embrace after laying flowers at the Memorial to Victims of Political Repression to pay respect to Alexei Navalny in St Petersburg.
Women embrace after laying flowers at the Memorial to Victims of Political Repression to pay respect to Alexei Navalny in St Petersburg.Dmitri Lovetsky/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved

Meanwhile, a new criminal case has been opened against Oleg Navalny, making him a wanted man in Russia.

ADVERTISEMENT

In 2021 he was handed a one-year suspended sentence for breaking COVID restrictions after he was accused of calling for Russians to attend a rally for his brother.

He was sentenced in absentia in February 2022 to one year in prison for violating the terms of the suspended sentence.

His whereabouts are unknown. He travelled to Cyprus in 2021 and did not return to Russia, according to court documents cited by news agencies.

Share this articleComments

You might also like

How Yulia Navalnaya, widow of late Alexei Navalny, became the target of a disinformation campaign

EU candidate Moldova takes action to prevent Russian influence in referendum

More than 100,000 evacuated after flooding hits Russia and Kazakhstan