ANI Photo | Russian authorities “blackmailing” to accept secret burial, alleges Navalny’s mother

Lyudmila Navalnaya, the mother of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, alleged that the Moscow authorities are “blackmailing” her to accept a secret burial of her son, The Washington Post reported.
Navalnaya (69) said that she was allowed to see her son’s corpse for the first time since his mysterious death in prison.
The authorities also issued her a death certificate saying he had died of “natural causes,” said Navalny’s press secretary, Kira Yarmysh.
Navalny’s family and his team have claimed that the Kremlin critic was murdered and the Russian authorities have “used the delay in releasing his body to cover up any evidence.”
Lyudmila Navalnaya, whose son was President Vladimir Putin’s most formidable rival, said in a video posted on YouTube that the Investigative Committee in the northern town of Salekhard, near the prison where he died, was “still refusing to release the body to her while pressuring her for a secret burial,” as reported by The Post.
Navalnaya travelled to the Polar Wolf prison colony in Russia’s far north Nenets region on Saturday, the day after her son’s death and has been demanding the release of her son’s body from the morgue in the nearby town of Salekhard.
On Thursday, she said she was finally allowed to see the body but was taken in secret, separated from the lawyers who had accompanied her on the trip.
“Last night they secretly took me to the morgue where they showed me Alexei,” Lyudmila Navalnaya said, adding that she had signed the death certificate required to recover his body.
“By law, they are supposed to give me Alexei’s body immediately, but they haven’t done that up to now,” she said in the video message addressed to her son’s supporters. “Instead, they are blackmailing me, setting conditions on where, when and how Alexey should be buried. This is illegal.”
According to The Post, the reluctance of Russian officials to allow a public funeral indicates “Kremlin’s sensitivity” that the burial could become a focus for Navalny’s supporters, hundreds of whom have risked arrest in cities across Russia to pay their respects by laying flowers at makeshift memorials.
Meanwhile, Russian state television propagandists have been warning that if Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, returns to Russia, she will face arrest.
Yulia Navalnaya has vowed to carry on her husband’s crusade for democracy in Russia.
In a social media post on X, she accused the Russian President of killing her husband. “Putin killed Alexei,” she wrote.
Navalny, a former lawyer, rose to prominence campaigning against corruption. He was known for his fierce rhetoric at public protests and in court and his team’s elaborate video investigations into state graft.
Thousands of people braved the winter temperatures in Russia to pay tribute to Navalny after the news of his death broke out. More than 360 people were arrested across 39 cities, as they laid flowers at monuments to victims of political repression and at ad hoc memorials, Al Jazeera reported, citing the OVD-Info rights group.

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