Alexei Navalny is Dead

Published: 16 February 2024

Navalny Digital WikiAlexei Navalny, 1976-2024. (Photo: Алексей Юшенков, Wikimedia, License)

By Zdravko Ljubas

Alexei Navalny, 47, the loudest critic of the Russian President Vladimir Putin and his regime, died in jail, the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service announced on Friday.

“The inmate Navalny,” according to the statement from the Yamal-Nenets autonomous district prison, placed in the vicinity of the Arctic Circle, “felt unwell after a walk, almost immediately losing consciousness.”

The prison officials stated that medical personnel were promptly called and arrived at the scene, and that “all necessary resuscitation measures were taken,” albeit without success.

“The emergency medical personnel pronounced the inmate dead. The cause of death is under investigation,” the statement concludes.

Navalny’s close associate and spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh did not confirm the news.

“We have no confirmation of this yet. Alexey’s lawyer is currently on his way to Kharp. As soon as we have some information, we will report on it,” she wrote on her X profile.

Navalny has been a thorn in the side of President Putin and his associates, as through his Anti-Corruption Foundation, established in 2011, he persistently shed light on deep-seated criminality and corruption allegedly rooted in the Kremlin.

Through numerous investigations, he revealed strong connections between the highest echelons of Russian authority and a circle of extraordinarily wealthy and powerful individuals.

As a result, Navalny, his foundation, colleagues, and all like-minded individuals have been persecuted and many of them imprisoned. Despite various criminal charges, the West has recognized this as blatant political persecution.

Russian authorities detained Navalny in January 2021 after his return from Berlin, where he had received treatment following a poisoning attack in Russia.

Less than a year ago, in March last year, the U.S. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded the Oscar to the documentary “Navalny”, directed by Daniel Roher, which follows an investigation by the outlet Bellingcat and CNN into the poisoning of Alexei Navalny with the deadly Novichok nerve agent in August 2020.

A month later, he was found guilty by Moscow's Simonovsky District Court of violating the terms of his 2014 suspended sentence in the Yves Rocher case, resulting in a two-and-a-half-year jail sentence. A year later, he received an additional nine-year prison sentence on fraud charges.

Navalny was sent to the IK-6 Federal Penitentiary Colony in the village of Melekhovo in June 2022, a facility often described as Russia's most intimidating prison, to serve an 11-year sentence.

In addition to that sentence, in August 2023 Navalny received a 19-year sentence on charges of “extremism.”

In December of last year, Russian authorities opted to relocate Navalny from Melekhovo to a prison in the Yamal-Nenets region, situated north of the Arctic Circle. The transfer was not publicly announced, and Navalny's whereabouts remained unknown for several days until he disclosed that he had been sent to the far north.

Navalny was jailed for 1,124 days in Russia’s scariest prisons.