Jail Service has Announced Death of Alexei Navalny, a Putin Critic now Serving time in Prison

Alexei Navalny, known for his opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin, passed away in prison on Friday, as reported by Russia’s prison agency.

Navalny was 47 years old.

According to a statement from the federal prison service, Navalny started feeling unwell after a walk on Friday and then lost consciousness.

An ambulance arrived to provide assistance, but unfortunately, he passed away.

A Kremlin spokesperson mentioned that Putin was briefed on Navalny’s passing and that the prison service is investigating the situation following standard protocols.

According to Navalny’s spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, the politician’s team had no confirmation of his death so far and his lawyer was travelling to the town where he was held.

Navalny, serving a 19-year sentence on charges of extremism, was transferred in December from his previous prison in the Vladimir region of central Russia to a “special regime” penal colony – the highest security level of prisons in Russia – located above the Arctic Circle.

His supporters criticised the relocation to a colony in the town of Kharp, in the Yamalo-Nenets region about 1,200 miles north-east of Moscow, as another effort to silence Navalny.

This remote area is well-known for its extended and harsh winter seasons.

Kharp is located approximately 60 miles away from Vorkuta, where the coal mines were once part of the Soviet gulag prison-camp system.

Navalny had been imprisoned since January 2021, following his return to Moscow after recovering in Germany from nerve agent poisoning that he attributed to the Kremlin.

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Prior to being apprehended, he actively opposed government corruption, led significant protests against the Kremlin, and ran for political positions.

He has received three prison sentences, all of which he dismissed as politically driven.

In 2013, he was found guilty of embezzlement, which he claimed was a politically motivated case. He received a five-year prison sentence, but the prosecutor’s office unexpectedly requested his release while awaiting appeal. He was later given a suspended sentence by a higher court.

The day prior to the incident, Navalny had officially entered the race for Moscow mayor. The opposition viewed his release as a response to significant protests in the capital during his sentence, while many observers believed it was a move by authorities to enhance the credibility of the mayoral election.

Navalny came in second place, a remarkable achievement considering he was up against the incumbent supported by Putin’s political network and known for enhancing the city’s infrastructure and appearance.

Navalny’s popularity surged following the tragic assassination of charismatic politician Boris Nemtsov in 2015 on a bridge near the Kremlin.

Every time Putin discussed Navalny, he consistently avoided using the activist’s name, instead referring to him as “that person” or using similar language, seemingly trying to downplay his significance.

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