Putin’s Vocal Opponent Alexei Navalny Dies in a Remote Prison

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Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most prominent political opposition figure, has died in a remote Russian prison above the Arctic Circle at age 47.

News of Navalny’s death came Friday from the Federal Penitentiary Service in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District.

In a statement, prison authorities said Navalny “felt unwell” after a walk in the prison yard and soon lost consciousness. Attempts by emergency medics to resuscitate him “failed to give positive results.”

Navalny had been serving a lengthy prison sentence for charges including extremism, which were widely seen as punishment for his years of criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Putin had been informed of Navalny’s death. He said prison medics are working to identify the cause of death.

Concerns over Navalny’s well-being and safety while in prison were long-standing.

Alexei Navalny

His family members and supporters say authorities repeatedly denied Navalny medical care and subjected him to long, punishing stints in solitary confinement with the apparent aim of preventing his access to the outside world. They were afraid the prison guards were slowly poisoning him.

Navalny had been serving out a 19-year prison sentence on charges including extremism, embezzlement, and fraud.

He criticized Putin from his prison cell. He was running for election from his cell before they shipped him off to beyond the Arctic Circle.

The 47-year-old lawyer began rallying shareholders against Russia’s corrupt state companies.

Navalny was born in a village outside Moscow on June 4, 1976.

Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District

A lawyer by training, he first rose to prominence with efforts to foment shareholder revolts at Russia’s corruption-ridden state companies. He later called the Kremlin “the party of crooks and thieves.”

He barely lost when he ran for Mayor of Moscow in 2011. Claims of embezzlement were made. Then, he was declared ineligible to run for President in 2018. He didn’t give up and ran a shadow campaign.

“I want to live in a normal country and refuse to accept any talk about Russia being doomed to being a bad, poor, or servile country,” Navalny told NPR in an interview at the time.

The place you never heard of where Navalny was imprisoned.

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