Alexei Navalny’s death in prison won’t go

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Alexei Navalny’s wife fights back tears as she calls on world to ‘punish’ Putin

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US president Joe Biden has blamed Vladimir Putin for the death in prison of the Russian leader’s fiercest critic, opposition leader Alexei Navalny, at the age of 47.

Paying tribute to the political activist’s bravery, Mr Biden said: “We don’t know exactly what happened to Navalny, but no doubt his death was the consequence of Putin and his thugs.”

Mr Navalny’s widow warned the Russian president her husband’s death would not go unpunished.

Yulia Navalnaya said: “To Putin and all those who work for him, his entire entourage, his friends, I want them to know that they will not go unpunished.

“They will be punished for what they have done to our country, for what they have done to my family, for what they have done to my husband. They will be held responsible and this day will come.”

Prison chiefs said medical staff were unable to resuscitate Mr Navalny, who last month was moved to an Arctic jail, after he lost consciousness. It said the reason of death was being established.

UK security minister Tom Tugendhat accused the Kremlin of having murdered Mr Navalny to silence him.

Key Points

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‘Putin is a killer’: Alexei Navalny’s friends warn of ‘cover up’ after Russian critic’s death in Arctic prison

Tom Watling17 February 2024 08:09

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No independent confirmation of Navalny’s death yet, associates say: ‘We cannot trust Putin’

Alexei Navalny’s associates have stressed they haven’t received independent confirmation of his death in the reports that came from Russia’s penitentiary officials.

His close ally Ivan Zhdanov said authorities “must notify the relatives” within 24 hours, but there have been no such notifications.

Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, appearing at the Munich conference, said she did not know whether to believe the official Russian announcement because “we cannot trust Putin and the Putin government. They always lie.”

“But if this is true, I want Putin and everyone around Putin, Putin’s friends, his government, to know that they will bear responsibility for what they did to our country, to my family and to my husband. And this day will come very soon,” she said.

Yulia Navalnaya, wife of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, speaking at the 60th Munich Security Conference (MSC) at the ‘Bayerischer Hof’ hotel in Munich, Germany on Friday

(EPA)

Stuti Mishra17 February 2024 06:50

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‘He was scared that day. You could see it in his eyes’

A documentarian who spent two months following Mr Navalny before his arrest has shed light on his fateful decision to return to Russia.

“It’s very easy with our 20-20 hindsight to criticize that decision, especially in [light] of today’s horrific news. But that was Navalny’s decision to make.

“It was incredibly brave, and courageous, and was motivated by his patriotism. And I think history will be litigating that decision for a very long time.”

Mr Roher also offered fascinating and sometimes comical memories from his time with the opposition leader such as when the politician questioned his habit of sketching while he worked.

When Mr Roher explained that he had ADHD and that it helped him focus, Mr Navalny turned to his wife and said: “Oh, it’s so nice that we hired a director with special needs.”

Mr Roher described his subject as savvy about filmmaking, with a keen knowledge of American TV shows such as Breaking Bad, who reflexively used humour to defuse his nervousness.

“He was scared that day,” said Mr Roher of the opposition leader’s final flight back to Moscow in January 2021. “You could see it in his eyes and I hope that the film captures that.

“He outwardly projects a resoluteness and an assuredness, but if you look into his eyes, it’s clear that he’s nervous. And that’s very human.”

Io Dodds17 February 2024 06:00

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Trump’s silence on Navalny’s death draws flak from Nikki Haley

While a flurry of reactions has come in from international leaders after Alexei Navalny’s death, former president Donald Trump has remained silent so far, prompting criticism from his Republican rival Nikki Haley.

Joe Biden has blamed “Putin and his thugs” for the death of Russia’s biggest opposition leader, but Mr Trump on Friday continued with his attack on Mr Biden without mentioning anything about Navalny.

In a post on Truth Social, Mr Trump wrote: “America is no longer respected because we have an incompetent president who is weak and doesn’t understand what the World is thinking.”

“I am the only one who can bring Peace, Prosperity, and Stability like I did during my first term.”

His rival for the presidential race, Nikki Haley slammed the former president for his amiable relationship with Vladimir Putin and remaining silent.

“Donald Trump continues to side with Vladimir Putin – a man who kills his political opponents, holds American journalists hostage, and has never hidden his desire to destroy America,” Ms Haley said in an official statement.

In a separate post on X (formerly Twitter), Mr Haley wrote: “Putin murdered his political opponent and Trump hasn’t said a word after he said he would encourage Putin to invade our allies. He has, however, posted 20+ times on social media about his legal drama and fake polls.”

Stuti Mishra17 February 2024 05:10

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‘With his death, this hope dies’

Muscovites attending a makeshift memorial for Mr Navalny have lauded him as a “symbol of hope” and a courageous figure.

In an interview with the French news agency AFP, Valeria, a tour guide, described Mr Navalny as “a symbol of opposition a symbol of hope for some brighter future for Russia”.

Now, she added, “there’s a feeling that with his death, this hope dies. If there had been still been any hope left, it is even less now than it was before.”

Vladimir, a retired psychologist whose voice appeared to falter with sorrow as he spoke, said that Mr Navalny had been “a fundamental aspect of life for us”.

“His courage was seen under many different circumstances. Of course, it’s very tough,” he said.

Other Moscow residents were more sanguine. “Anything can happen in life. I think it’s fate, honestly,” a woman named Tatania said, as quoted by CNN.

A man named Mikhail expressed happiness at Mr Navalny’s death, saying that “enemies” of Russia “should be dealt with, the sooner the better.”

Io Dodds17 February 2024 04:49

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German chancellor says Navalny’s death shows ‘what kind of regime is in power in Moscow’

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, whose country temporarily took in Alexei Navalny in 2020 after he was poisoned with a nerve agent, praised the Kremlin critic’s bravery and said his death makes it clear “what kind of regime this [Russia] is”.

“I am deeply saddened by the death of Alexei Navalny,” Mr Scholz wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“He stood up for democracy and freedom in Russia – and apparently paid for his courage, with his life.

“This terrible news shows once again how Russia has changed and what kind of regime is in power in Moscow.”

Mr Scholz addressed the media earlier along with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy after signing a bilateral security agreement, where he said he met Navalny in Berlin during his convalescence and discussed with him there “the great courage it takes to return” to his country.

German chancellor Olaf Scholz (R) addresses reporters with Volodymyr Zelensky at the Chancellery on Friday in Berlin

(AFP/Getty)

Stuti Mishra17 February 2024 04:10

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Former Fox News host criticised for soft-soap Putin interview

“Don’t forget that Putin;s favorite useful idiot Kremlin propagandist Tucker Carlson didn’t give a s*** about Navalny’s life when asked about him a few days ago,” said broadcast personality Meghan McCain.

Former Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney, who was forced out of her post by her party due to her opposition to Donald Trump, likewise told Mr Carlson: “This is what Putin’s Russia is.”

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Russian opposition leader and former oligarch living in exile in London, also publicly demanded Mr Carlson account for himself.

In a statement to The New York Times on Friday, Mr Carlson said: “It’s horrifying what happened to Navalny. The whole thing is barbaric and awful. No decent person would defend it.”

He claimed that his exculpatory remarks about Mr Putin at a conference on Monday – “every leader kills people” – were not referring to Mr Navalny and “had zero” to do with his death.

Io Dodds17 February 2024 03:40

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The mysterious fates of Vladimir Putin’s critics and rivals

But his death is only the most recent of a long line of Vladimir Putin’s critics who have been jailed, silenced or met brutal ends over the years.

From poisonings, mysterious falls from windows and plane crashes, many of the Russian president’s foes appear to have been targeted.

Below, Alexander Butler and Gustaf Kilander look at some of the high-profile deaths and mysterious incidents involving those who have defied the Russian leader over the years.

Stuti Mishra17 February 2024 03:08

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‘You can’t make a deal with Putin’

Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has called the death a wake-up call for [people in the US and Europe who think they can “somehow make a deal” with Vladimir Putin.

“A dictator, as he s, intends only to dominate – and if that means killing your opposition, as he’s done with so many people over so many years, or invading a peaceful neighbor and trying to bend it to his will, that’s what he will do,” the former presidential candidate told CNN.

Io Dodds17 February 2024 02:36

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‘Navalny’s death has exposed US speaker’s cowardice’

Mr Navalny’s death exposes the hypocrisy of American politicians who speak out against Vladimir Putin but refuse to materially oppose his war in Ukraine, our Washington DC bureau chief Eric Garcia writes.

Mike Johnson, the Republican speaker of the US House of Representatives, joined President Biden on Friday in claiming that Mr Putin is “likely directly responsible” for the death of Mr Navalny.

“As Congress debates the best path forward to support Ukraine, the United States and our partners must be using every means available to cut off Putin’s ability to fund his unprovoked war in Ukraine and aggression against the Baltic states,” Mr Johnson said.

But, as Eric points out, Mr Johnson has done more than almost anyone to torpedo Ukraine’s war funding in deference to his party’s right wing, even rejecting a bipartisan agreement that offered sweeping new restrictions on immigration in exchange.

Io Dodds17 February 2024 01:33

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