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Alexei Navalny was killed by a ‘KGB trademark’ single punch to the heart, human rights campaigner claims


Alexei Navalny was likely killed by a single punch to the heart, a technique used by the KGB, a source inside the prison where the Putin critic was being held has reportedly claimed.

Bruising found on the opposition leader’s body was consistent with the ‘one-punch’ execution method, according to Russian exile and human rights campaigner Vladimir Osechkin.

‘It is an old method of the KGB’s special forces divisions,’ he told The Times. ‘They trained their operatives to kill a man with one punch in the heart, in the centre of the body. It was a hallmark of the KGB.’ 

Osechkin, founder of the Gulagu.net group which gathers testimony from prisoners and workers in Russia‘s notorious jails, says his information came from a source working in the arctic penal colony where Navalny died on Friday.

His widow has accused Putin of murdering her husband, claiming he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok and that Russian authorities are trying to cover up the assassination by refusing to release his body.

Alexei Navalny was likely killed by a single punch to the heart, a technique used by the KGB, it has been claimed

Alexei Navalny was likely killed by a single punch to the heart, a technique used by the KGB, it has been claimed

Osechkin is founder of the Gulagu.net group which gathers testimony from prisoners and workers in Russia 's notorious jails

Osechkin is founder of the Gulagu.net group which gathers testimony from prisoners and workers in Russia ‘s notorious jails

Before becoming Russian leader, Putin famously served for some 15 years in the KGB as a foreign intelligence officer

Before becoming Russian leader, Putin famously served for some 15 years in the KGB as a foreign intelligence officer

Osechkin, however, is not convinced and says that authorities would have been able to kill Navalny in any way they desired, and would not have wanted to ‘leave a trace in his body and would lead directly back to Putin’.

He claims that Navalny had been forced to spend between two and a half to four hours in an open-air solitary confinement space where temperatures could dip to minus 27C the day before his death.

Prisoners are normally kept outdoors for no more than an hour and in far less extreme conditions.

‘I think that they first destroyed his body by keeping him out in the cold for a long time and slowing the blood circulation down to a minimum,’ Osechkin explained.

‘And then it becomes very easy to kill someone, within seconds, if the operative has some experience in this.’

The single punch, a stealth assassination technique reputedly used by KGB special forces to avoid leaving any indication of cause of death, is then said to have been used.

Before becoming Russian leader, Putin famously served for some 15 years in the KGB as a foreign intelligence officer, retiring in 1990 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Russian authorities have so far failed to give a convincing explanation for the death of Navalny, the Russian president’s most prominent critic.

According to the national penitentiary service, the 47-year-old died after taking a walk and feeling unwell.

A state-controlled channel on the Telegram messaging site later claimed the cause of death was a blood clot, however.

Vladimir Putin pictured in his KGB uniform in the 1980s

Vladimir Putin pictured in his KGB uniform in the 1980s

Mr Navalny’s family has been told that they cannot have access to his body for another two weeks.

Osechkin said that he believes the presence of FSB officers at the prison to be evidence that Mr Navalny was murdered by the Kremlin.

He added: ‘From what I know from my sources, it was a special operation that had been prepared several days in advance.’

‘It was a command from Moscow because without Moscow it would not have been possible to dismantle the cameras in the way that they did.’

The development came after the Twitter account of Alexei Navalny’s widow was briefly suspended yesterday for allegedly ‘violating [its] rules’ amid rising concern over the platform’s political impartiality.

Yulia Navalnaya’s account on X, formerly known as Twitter, was quickly reinstated following a wave of online criticism.

The social network – owned by Elon Musk – later claimed its anti-spam and manipulation defence mechanism had ‘mistakenly flagged’ her page.

The account was suspended just one day after Ms Navalnaya accused Russian president Vladimir Putin of killing her husband and vowed to take over his work as an anti-corruption activist.

Mr Musk, meanwhile, recently said that there is ‘no way in hell’ that Mr Putin will lose the war in Ukraine.

In a video published on Monday, including part of it on X, Ms Navalnaya called on Russians to rally around her as Mr Navalny’s family were told they would not be able to access his body for another two weeks.

The Russian opposition leader was reported dead by the Russian prison service on February 16 after reportedly taking a walk and feeling unwell.

An outspoken critic of Putin, Navalny had been serving a 19-year prison term in an Arctic penal colony.

Navalnaya, however, accused the Russian authorities of murdering her husband with Novichok – and obfuscating the return of his body until all traces of the nerve agent had disappeared.

‘I shouldn’t have been in this place, I shouldn’t be recording this video,’ she explained in an emotional clip, which was posted to social media.

Lyudmila Navalnya (pictured) has been fighting to get her son's body back from prison authorities

Lyudmila Navalnya (pictured) has been fighting to get her son’s body back from prison authorities 

‘There should have been another person in my place. But that person was killed by Vladimir Putin.’

Ms Navalnaya went on to say that by ‘killing Alexei’, Putin had ‘killed half of me, half of my heart and my soul’.

The former economist and reluctant ‘first lady’ of the Russian opposition has long avoided the spotlight, rarely giving interviews to the media in an effort to protect their two children from the fallout of Mr Navalny’s political career.

The family currently lives in an undisclosed location and is unlikely to return to Russia, where they could face persecution.

Since her husband’s death, however, Ms Navalnaya has seemed more keen to take a public stance – addressing EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Friday as Germany proposed a new round of retaliatory sanctions.

Her Twitter account was suspended just one day after it was created and four days after Mr Navalny died.

A message on the account page read: ‘Account suspended. X suspends accounts which violate the X rules.’

As outrage over the suspension rose on the platform, Mr Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation tagged Mr Musk himself in a post on X, asking him to ‘please explain exactly which rules were violated’ by Ms Navalnaya.

Less than an hour later, Ms Navalnaya’s page was restored.

Twitter’s moderation account said: ‘We unsuspended the account as soon as we became aware of the error and will be updating the defence.’

Prior to her account being suspended, Ms Navalnaya had taken to X to urge the Kremlin to ‘give back Alexei’s body and let him be buried with dignity.’

She also posted a clip from the nine-minute video alleging Mr Putin’s murder of her husband.

Since buying the social media platform in 2022, Mr Musk has moved to reinstate a number of previously banned accounts – including that of former US president Donald Trump.

The Tesla founder has previously referred to himself as a ‘free speech absolutist’ and claimed that he intended X to be a space for a wide range of beliefs to be debated in a healthy manner.

In recent months, however, a series of prominent accounts – including eight journalists and others who had criticised the Israeli government – have been suspended.

Suspensions on X remain shrouded in mystery and Mr Musk has promised to investigate the recent trend, which draws into question which political views are and are not considered acceptable on the platform.



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