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Russia threatens Alexei Navalny’s mother: Officials blackmail grieving parent and say they will ‘do something’ to her son’s corpse if she does not agree to private funeral with no mourners


Alexei Navalny‘s mother has accused Russian investigators of ‘blackmailing’ her over the funeral of her son.

Speaking on Thursday, Lyudmila Navalnaya said officials were trying to force her to hold a private burial ceremony without mourners.

She made the allegation in a video published on YouTube, in which she accused an investigator of telling her that ‘time is not on your side, corpses decompose.’

Lyudmila also said that officials threatened that they would do ‘something’ with Navalny’s body if she does not agree to a secret funeral with no mourners.

There was no immediate response from Russian investigators.

Alexei Navalny's mother (pictured in a video released today) has accused Russian investigators of 'blackmailing' her over the funeral of her son

Alexei Navalny’s mother (pictured in a video released today) has accused Russian investigators of ‘blackmailing’ her over the funeral of her son

Navalny, Putin’s strongest domestic critic, fell unconscious and died suddenly aged 47 on Friday after a walk at the ‘Polar Wolf’ penal colony above the Arctic Circle where he was serving a three-decade sentence, the prison service said.

The West and Navalny’s supporters say Putin is responsible for Navalny’s death.

The Kremlin has denied involvement and said that Western claims that Putin was responsible were unacceptable.

Putin himself has made no public comment on Navalny’s death but it has further deepened a gaping schism in relations between Moscow and the West caused by the nearly two-year Ukraine war.

Since Putin’s forces invaded Ukraine, the scope for dissent in Russia has narrowed even further. Russian authorities have tightened speech restrictions and jailed critics, often ordinary people, sometimes for decades. 

Hundreds of people who laid flowers in Navalny’s memory across Russia were detained.

Lyudmila appeared in a video earlier this week and appealed to Putin to turn her son’s body over to her so she can bury him with dignity.

Standing outside the Arctic penal colony where Mr Navalny died on Friday, she spoke to camera: ‘For the fifth day, I have been unable to see him. 

They wouldn’t release his body to me,’ she said.

‘And they’re not even telling me where he is,’ a black-clad Navalnaya said in the video, with the barbed wire of Penal Colony No. 3 in Kharp, about 1,200 miles northeast of Moscow.

‘I’m reaching out to you, Vladimir Putin,’ she said. ‘The resolution of this matter depends solely on you. Let me finally see my son.

Navalny, 47, fell unconscious and died suddenly on Friday after a walk at the 'Polar Wolf' penal colony above the Arctic Circle where he was serving a three-decade sentence, the prison service said

Navalny, 47, fell unconscious and died suddenly on Friday after a walk at the ‘Polar Wolf’ penal colony above the Arctic Circle where he was serving a three-decade sentence, the prison service said

‘I demand that Alexei’s body is released immediately, so that I can bury him like a human being,’ she said in the video, which was posted to social media by Mr Navalny’s team.

Russian authorities have said the cause of Mr 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.

They accused the government of stalling to try to hide evidence.

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

Mr Navalny’s death has deprived the Russian opposition of its best-known and inspiring politician less than a month before an election that is all but certain to give Mr Putin another six years in power.

Many Russians had seen Mr Navalny as a rare hope for political change amid Mr Putin’s unrelenting crackdown on the opposition.

Mr Navalny, 47, was imprisoned since January 2021, when he returned to Moscow after recuperating in Germany from a nerve agent poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin. He received three prison terms since then, on charges he rejected as politically motivated.

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

Authorities cordoned off some of the memorials to victims of Soviet repression across the country that were being used as sites to leave makeshift tributes to Mr Navalny.

Police removed the flowers at night, but more keep appearing.

Mr Peskov said police were acting ‘in accordance with the law’ by detaining people paying tribute to Mr Navalny.

Over 60,000 people have submitted requests to the government asking for Mr Navalny’s remains to be handed over to his relatives, OVD-Info said.

The West and Navalny's supporters say Vladimir Putin is responsible for Navalny's death

The West and Navalny’s supporters say Vladimir Putin is responsible for Navalny’s death

After the last verdict that resulted in a 19-year term, Mr Navalny said he understood he was ‘serving a life sentence, which is measured by the length of my life or the length of life of this regime.’

In a video on Monday’s, his widow Yulia Navalnaya said: ‘By killing Alexei, Putin killed half of me, half of my heart and half of my soul.’

‘But I still have the other half, and it tells me that I have no right to give up.

‘I will continue the work of Alexei Navalny,’ Navalnaya said.

This is a breaking news story. More to follow… 



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