WORLD NEWS

The body of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been handed over to his mother, aide says

Feb 24, 2024, 4:13 PM | Updated: 4:43 pm

A woman reacts as she came to lay flowers paying the last respect to Alexei Navalny at the Memorial...

A woman reacts as she came to lay flowers paying the last respect to Alexei Navalny at the Memorial to Victims of Political Repression in St. Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. Navalny, 47, Russia's most well-known opposition politician, unexpectedly died on Feb. 16 in the penal colony, prompting hundreds of Russians across the country to stream to impromptu memorials with flowers and candles. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

(AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

MOSCOW (AP) — The body of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been handed over to his mother, a top aide to Navalny said Saturday on his social media account.

Ivan Zhdanov, the director of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, made the announcement on his Telegram account and thanked “everyone” who had called on Russian authorities to return Navalny’s body to his mother.

Earlier on Saturday, Yulia Navalnaya, Navalny’s widow, accused President Vladimir Putin of mocking Christianity by trying to force his mother to agree to a secret funeral after his death in an Arctic penal colony.

“Thank you very much. Thanks to everyone who wrote and recorded video messages. You all did what you needed to do. Thank you. Alexei Navalny’s body has been given to his mother,” Zhdanov wrote.

Navalny, 47, Russia’s most well-known opposition politician, unexpectedly died on Feb. 16 in an Arctic penal colony and his family has been fighting for more than a week to have his body returned to them. Prominent Russians released videos calling on authorities to release the body and Western nations have hit Russia with more sanctions as punishment for Navalny’s death as well as for the second anniversary of its invasion of Ukraine.

Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, is still in Salekhard, Navalny’s press secretary Kira Yarmysh said on X, formerly Twitter. Lyudmila Navalnaya has been in the Arctic region for more than a week, demanding that Russian authorities return the body of her son to her.

No funeral date is set

“The funeral is still pending,” Yarmysh tweeted, questioning whether authorities will allow it to go ahead “as the family wants and as Alexei deserves.”

Earlier on Saturday, Navalny’s widow said in a video that Navalny’s mother was being “literally tortured” by authorities who had threatened to bury Navalny in the Arctic prison. They, she said, suggested to his mother that she did not have much time to make a decision because the body is decomposing, Navalnaya said.

“Give us the body of my husband,” Navalnaya said earlier Saturday. “You tortured him alive, and now you keep torturing him dead. You mock the remains of the dead.”

Authorities have detained scores of people as they seek to suppress any major outpouring of sympathy for Putin’s fiercest foe before the presidential election he is almost certain to win. Russians on social media say officials don’t want to return Navalny’s body to his family, because they fear a public show of support for him.

Navalnaya accused Putin, an Orthodox Christian, of killing Navalny.

“No true Christian could ever do what Putin is now doing with the body of Alexei,” she said, asking, “What will you do with his corpse? How low will you sink to mock the man you murdered?”

Saturday marked nine days since the opposition leader’s death, a day when Orthodox Christians hold a memorial service.

Navalny’s memory being remembered

People across Russia came out to mark the occasion and honor Navalny’s memory by gathering at Orthodox churches, leaving flowers at public monuments or holding one-person protests.

Muscovites lined up outside the city’s Christ the Savior Cathedral to pay their respects, according to photos and videos published by independent Russian news outlet SOTAvision. The video also shows Russian police stationed nearby and officers stopping several people for an ID check.

As of Saturday evening, at least 38 people had been detained in Russia for showing support for Navalny, according to the OVD-Info rights group that tracks political arrests.

They included Elena Osipova, a 78-year-old artist from St. Petersburg who stood in a street with a poster showing Navalny with angel wings, and Sergei Karabatov, 64, who came to a Moscow monument to victims of political repression with flowers and a note saying “Don’t think this is the end.”

Also arrested was Aida Nuriyeva, from the city of Ufa near the Ural Mountains, who publicly held up a sign saying “Putin is Navalny’s murderer! I demand that the body be returned!”

Putin is often pictured at church, dunking himself in ice water to celebrate the Epiphany and visiting holy sites in Russia. He has promoted what he has called “traditional values” without which, he once said, “society degrades.”

Putin allegations

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected allegations that Putin was involved in Navalny’s death, calling them “absolutely unfounded, insolent accusations about the head of the Russian state.”

Musician Nadya Tolokonnikova, who became widely known after spending nearly two years in prison for taking part in a 2012 protest with her band Pussy Riot inside Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral, was one of many prominent Russians who released a video in which she accused Putin of hypocrisy and asked him to release Navalny’s body.

“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,” said Tolokonnikova, who lives abroad. “Putin, have a conscience, give his mother the body of her son.”

Lyudmila Navalnaya said Thursday that investigators allowed her to see her son’s body in the morgue in the Arctic city of Salekhard. She had filed a lawsuit at a court in Salekhard contesting officials’ refusal to release the body. A closed-door hearing had been scheduled for March 4.

Yarmysh, Navalny’s spokesman, said that Lyudmila Navalnaya was shown a medical certificate stating that her son died of “natural causes.”

KSL 5 TV Live

World News

The FBI is looking for Antonio Moreno (DOB 6/20/93) in connection with
the disappearance of 14-year...

Josh Ellis, Garna Mejia, KSL TV

FBI seeking suspect in connection to Ogden teen who disappeared in Mexico City

The FBI says it is looking for Antonio Moreno in connection with the disappearance of an Ogden teen who went missing from her grandmother’s Mexico City neighborhood on June 30. 

19 hours ago

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - JUNE 23: A general view of competitors during the Sailing on day two of the ...

Graham Dunbar, AP Sports Writer

IOC and Saudi Arabia agree on 12-year deal for video gaming Esports Olympics

Saudi Arabia and the IOC are teaming up for their first commercial deal together with the oil-rich kingdom set to host the Esports Olympics that launch next year.

24 hours ago

The National Governors Association meets in Utah where Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and first lady Abby Co...

Larry D. Curtis

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy to attend national governor’s meeting in Salt Lake City

Utah's Gov. Spencer Cox welcomed Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Utah and the National Governors Association meeting Friday in Salt Lake City.

2 days ago

President Joe Biden, right, shakes the hand of Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a mee...

Tara Copp and Matthew Lee, Associated Press

Biden announces $225 million weapons package for Ukraine, including Patriot system

President Joe Biden announced a new $225 million aid package for Ukraine on Thursday, including a Patriot missile system to bolster its air defenses against a deadly onslaught of Russian airstrikes.

2 days ago

REPLACES INCORRECT CAPTION - Fernando Dayan Jorge displays an Olympic tattoo on his bicep, as he pr...

Megan Janetsky, Renata Brito, Kirsten Grieshaber and Daniella Matar, Associated Press

They fled from their home countries. Now, they’ll compete in Paris for the Refugee Olympic Team

After fleeing war and persecution, 36 athletes from 11 countries will compete in the Paris Games as part of the Refugee Olympic Team.

2 days ago

A man was caught trying to smuggle more than 100 live snakes into mainland China by stuffing them i...

Fred He, Alex Stambaugh and Jack Guy, CNN

Man stopped at customs with 100 live snakes down his pants

A man was caught trying to smuggle more than 100 live snakes into mainland China by stuffing them into his pants, according to the country’s customs authority.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

young male technician is repairing a printer at office...

Les Olson

Unraveling the dilemma between leasing and buying office technology

Carefully weigh these pros and cons to make an informed decision that best suits your business growth and day-to-day operation. 

A kitchen in a modern farmhouse....

Lighting Design

A room-by-room lighting guide for your home

Bookmark this room-by-room lighting guide whenever you decide to upgrade your lighting or style a new home.

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

The body of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been handed over to his mother, aide says