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Authorities Threaten To Bury Kremlin Critic On Prison Grounds, Says Navalny Ally

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Authorities Threaten To Bury Kremlin Critic On Prison Grounds, Says Navalny Ally

According to an ally of the late opposition leader Alexei Navalny, his mother has been given a deadline by Russian authorities to decide whether to bury him on prison grounds or forego a public funeral.

Ivan Zhdanov, a close associate of Mr. Navalny, posted on social media that Lyudmila Navalnaya was given three hours to accept a proposal for a private funeral away from the public eye. This seems to be another troubling development in the nearly week-long standoff with the authorities over the politician’s body.

According to Mr. Zhdanov, Ms. Navalnaya is refusing to engage in further talks and is insistent that the authorities obey the law and turn over the body within 48 hours of establishing the cause of death, which would be on Saturday.

According to him, she has also lodged a complaint alleging that the authorities have desecrated the remains.

Mr. Zhdanov stated, “She insists that the authorities permit a funeral and a memorial service to be held in accordance with traditions.”

Following the sudden death of Mr. Navalny, 47, the most well-known opposition politician in Russia, last Friday in an Arctic prison colony, hundreds of Russians flocked to makeshift shrines decorated with flowers and candles across the nation.

Numerous people have been detained by the Russian government in an attempt to quell any significant show of support for President Vladimir Putin’s most formidable opponent before the election, which he is practically guaranteed to win.

Prominent Russians have supported Mr. Navalny’s mother and attorneys in their attempts to recover his body since late last week, but the authorities have resisted them.

Ms. Navalnaya stated on Thursday that she was permitted by the investigators to view her son’s body in the Salekhard, an Arctic city, morgue. She added that she protested against what she perceived as attempts by officials to coerce her into agreeing to a secret burial and reiterated her demand that Mr. Navalny’s remains be returned to her.

“They want to do it secretly without a mourning ceremony,” she said.

Speaking on X, previously Twitter, Mr. Navalny’s spokesperson Kira Yarmysh stated that his mother had also seen a medical certificate indicating that the 47-year-old lawmaker had passed away from “natural causes.”

Prominent Russians have taken to social media to personally plead with President Putin, urging him to release Mr. Navalny’s body back to his family.

Journalist Dmitry Muratov, who won the Nobel Prize, remarked, “Just give Lyudmila her son.” “Discussing this in a nation that still identifies as Christian is awkward.”

A video was also uploaded by Nadya Tolokonnikova, who gained notoriety after serving almost two years in jail for her involvement in a 2012 protest inside Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral alongside the band Pussy Riot.

“We were imprisoned for allegedly trampling on traditional values. But no one tramples on traditional Russian values more than you, Putin, your officials, and your priests who pray for all the murder that you do, year after year, day after day,” Ms Tolokonnikova said.

“Putin, have a conscience, give his mother the body of her son,” she added.

Ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov declared that he “firmly requests” that the slain Alexei Navalny’s remains be returned to his mother by the authorities.

The mother of Mr. Navalny has sued in a Salekhard court, arguing that the authorities should not have allowed her son’s remains to be released.

March 4 is set aside for a hearing behind closed doors. She pleaded with Mr. Putin on Tuesday to allow her to bury her son in a dignified manner.

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