Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, a prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin dies in prison  

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16th February 2024 – (Moscow) Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, a prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin, has died in prison at the age of 47, according to the country’s state media. Navalny’s death marks the end of his relentless battle against corruption and the Kremlin, which saw him survive multiple poisoning attempts.

The news of Navalny’s passing was confirmed by the country’s prison service, which reported that he fell unconscious after a walk in penal colony No. 3. Despite immediate medical intervention, resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. Navalny’s demise leaves Russia’s opposition movement, which has faced years of harassment and prosecution, without a clear leader. With Navalny’s passing, all of Putin’s most prominent critics are either deceased, imprisoned, or in exile.

Navalny, who was born in 1976 near Moscow, initially pursued a career as a lawyer and economist before venturing into politics in 2008. He gained widespread recognition as Russia’s most outspoken Kremlin critic through his anti-corruption investigations targeting top members of the Russian elite. His exposés, such as the revelation of former president and prime minister Dmitry Medvedev’s opulent lifestyle, sparked mass protests.

In 2021, Navalny’s investigation into a luxurious “secret palace” allegedly owned by Putin triggered widespread indignation across Russia. Despite facing numerous obstacles, including a 2014 embezzlement conviction that barred him from running against Putin in the 2018 presidential election, Navalny persisted in his activism.

Navalny survived a poisoning attempt in August 2020, which he directly attributed to Putin. His family’s insistence led to his evacuation to Germany for treatment and rehabilitation. The Kremlin denied any involvement in the attack, further straining Russia’s relations with Western governments.

In early 2021, Navalny made the decision to return to Russia and was immediately arrested upon landing, facing charges related to his previous conviction. He was subsequently sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison for a parole violation. His arrest sparked nationwide rallies in support of his cause, resulting in thousands of detentions.

Throughout his imprisonment, Navalny continued to challenge Putin through interviews, statements issued by his lawyers, and exposing the realities of the Russian penitentiary system. He was designated a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, and his release was called for by governments around the world.

Navalny leaves behind his wife, Yulia, and their two children, Daria and Zahar.

The death of Navalny, a prominent figure in Russia’s opposition movement, marks a significant turning point in the country’s political landscape. The future of the opposition remains uncertain as it grapples with the loss of its most prominent leader.