NewsAlexei Navalny dies: Clashes over legacy of Putin's prominent critic

Alexei Navalny dies: Clashes over legacy of Putin's prominent critic

Alexei Navalny is dead. The 47-year-old died in a penal colony.
Alexei Navalny is dead. The 47-year-old died in a penal colony.
Images source: © PAP | PAP/EPA/MARTIN DIVISEK
3:33 AM EST, March 2, 2024

Alexei Navalny's Funeral

Russian media have indicated that Navalny suffered a blood clot. Yet, authorities declined to release his body to his family.

His mother, Lyudmila, received an ultimatum from the prison authorities: opt for a discreet funeral at the local cemetery, or have Navalny buried within the penal colony. Independent Russian media reported that she contested these demands in court and garnered support from her son's supporters.

Navalny posed a threat to Putin not because he championed the typically unpopular causes of liberalism and democracy, but because he targeted the regime's most vulnerable aspect - corruption - as noted by Adam Eberhardt, director of the Warsaw Enterprise Institute, in an interview with the Polish Press Agency.

According to Eberhardt, the oppositionist's focus on exposing corruption and state appropriation resonated with Russians of more conservative and occasionally nationalistic tendencies.

Navalny and "Putin's Palace"

It has been three years since Navalny was arrested and jailed following his return to Russia from Germany, where he was recuperating from a suspected poisoning attempt by Russian special forces. The state, under the dictatorship's control, initiated additional criminal proceedings against him, resulting in sentences exceeding 30 years.

Immediately after his arrest, the Anti-Corruption Foundation released an investigative report on a lavish palace attributed to Putin. The investigation claimed that the construction of the nearly 194,000 sq. ft. property was funded by Russian state and privately owned companies linked to Putin's associates. The palace's value is estimated at 900 million euros. In the report, Navalny called Putin "the wealthiest man in the world".

This assertion was mirrored by the Dutch newspaper "De Telegraaf." In September 2023, it stated, "With yachts, palaces, airplanes, and dubious private entities, Putin is likely the world's wealthiest individual." The newspaper cited the 2016 Panama Papers, suggesting Putin has concealed approximately 2 billion dollars through an expansive network of companies.

Vladimir Putin denied the allegations from Navalny's foundation, and Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov dismissed the report as a "pseudo-investigation." Putin's claim was supported by Arkady Rotenberg, a businessman and friend, who stated he was the property's true owner.

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