Sat, 20 April 2024
The Daily Ittefaq

Navalny buried at Moscow cemetery after prison death

Update : 01 Mar 2024, 23:38

Thousands of people turned out in Moscow for the funeral of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny on Friday.

Many carried flowers and shouted support for the man who was one of  President Vladimir Putin's fiercest critics. 

Russian security forces maintained a significant presence at the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God Soothe My Sorrows, a Russian Orthodox church, and the Borisovskoye cemetery, where Navalny was laid to rest. 

Navalny died at the age of 47 under mysterious circumstances during his imprisonment at a remote prison camp on February 16.

Support for the prominent Putin critic

Earlier, as his coffin was carried into the church by four pallbearers,  some outside chanted: "Navalny, Navalny!" People also shouted, "You weren't afraid, neither are we!" and later "No to war!"

Some people openly protested against Russian President Vladimir Putin shouting "Russia without Putin!" "Putin is a murderer!" "Russia will be free!"

Following the service, his coffin was again carried out of the church to applause and more chanting from the crowds as the short journey to the cemetery began.

A photo from inside the church showed an open casket with Navalny's body covered with red and white flowers, as his mother, wearing a black headscarf and with a candle in one hand, sat alongside his father nearby.

Western diplomats, including German Ambassador Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, US Ambassador Lynn Tracy and French Ambassador Pierre Levy also attended the service.

On social media, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz praised "couragious Russians" who turned out to pay their respects to Navalny, while the EU's top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said that "Navalny's beliefs will not disappear."

Navalny's wife, Yulia Navalnaya, who did not return to Russia for the funeral, posted a video tribute to her husband on social media thanking him for "26 years of absolute happiness."

More than a quarter of a million people watched the events on Navalny's YouTube channel, which is blocked inside Russia.

Kremlin threats

A crowd of thousands marched from the church to the nearby Borisovskoye Cemetery after the funeral service.

"We won't forget you!" and "Forgive us!" some mourners shouted as the coffin arrived for burial.

Some 400 mourners have been detained at Navalny memorials since his death, rights organization OVD-Info has said, but no arrests were reported on Friday despite warnings from the Kremlin. 

"Any unauthorized gatherings will be in violation of the law and those who participate in them will be held responsible," spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by Russian state media agency TASS.

According to the rights monitoring group OVD-Info, Russian police detained at least 45 people across the country at tributes to Navalny. "OVD-Info is aware of more than 45 detentions. Most people  18 of them — were detained in Novosibirsk," the monitor said, referring to a city in Siberia and adding that six people had been detained in Moscow.  

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