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24 May, 2024
 
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Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny dies in Arctic prison

Jailed Kremlin critic, poisoned in 2020, passes away amid controversy and political tensions

Newsroom

In a shocking development, Alexey Navalny, the prominent Russian opposition leader and fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin, has died at the age of 47, according to the Russian prison service. Navalny gained international attention when he was poisoned with a nerve agent in 2020. His return to Russia in 2021 led to his swift arrest on politically charged grounds, leading to his extended incarceration. His recent transfer to a penal colony north of the Arctic Circle raised concerns about his well-being.

The prison service reported Navalny "felt unwell after a walk" and "almost immediately" lost consciousness, initiating an investigation into his "sudden death." Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that it is for doctors to determine the cause of death. Navalny's lawyer is en route to Kharp, where he has been held since December, to gather more information.

Navalny's demise comes ahead of Russia's presidential election on March 17, where Putin is poised for a potential fifth term. Navalny had received a 19-year prison sentence in August on charges of creating an extremist community and financing extremist activists. His lawyers lost contact with him, and concerns deepened after his transfer to the harsh conditions of the "Polar Wolf" penal colony.

A fierce Putin critic, Navalny organized anti-government protests, exposed corruption, and survived a poisoning attack with Novichok in 2020. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan urged Russia to answer "serious questions" surrounding Navalny's death. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asserted that Putin should be held accountable, describing Navalny's demise as an apparent killing.

President Joe Biden had warned Putin in 2021 that Navalny's death in prison would have "devastating consequences for Russia." The circumstances surrounding Navalny's death prompt global scrutiny and raise questions about potential foul play.

Source: CNN

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