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Alexei Navalny, Putin Foe, Dies in Jail; West Holds Russia Responsible

Alexei Navalny

Alexei Navalny, the prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, tragically passed away on Friday after collapsing during a walk at the “Polar Wolf” Arctic penal colony, where he was serving a three-decade jail term. Navalny’s death leaves the Russian opposition without its most fearless leader as Putin gears up for an election that could extend his rule until at least 2030.

The Russian prison service reported that Navalny felt unwell after the walk at the IK-3 penal colony in Kharp, approximately 1,900 kilometers northeast of Moscow. Despite efforts by the prison’s medical team and ambulance staff, attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

Navalny’s wife, Yulia, expressed doubt about her husband’s death, citing the continuous misinformation from the Russian government. She stated, “Putin and his government… lie incessantly.” If confirmed, she held Putin and his government responsible for the impact on their country and family.

Western leaders paid tribute to Navalny’s courage as a freedom fighter, with some accusing the Kremlin of murder and calling for accountability. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken asserted, “Russia is responsible for this.”

Navalny’s movement had been outlawed, and most of his senior allies reside in exile in Europe. His team characterized the prison service’s statement as a murder confession and declared, “If this is true, then it’s not ‘Navalny died,’ but ‘Putin killed Navalny.'”

Navalny, who returned to Russia voluntarily in 2021 after treatment in Germany for poisoning with a nerve agent, had long predicted potential political upheaval in Russia due to Putin’s brittle system of personal rule and corruption. The Kremlin dismissed Navalny’s accusations of corruption and portrayed him as an extremist working against Russian interests.

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