Navalny's widow says Putin blocking body handover

Published - February 24, 2024 08:43 pm IST - Warsaw

Yulia Navalnaya, wife of dead Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. File

Yulia Navalnaya, wife of dead Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. File | Photo Credit: AP

Alexei Navalny's widow said Russian President Vladimir Putin had personally ordered that his arch critic's body should not be handed over to his family after his death in an Arctic jail nine days ago.

Navalny's mother has said authorities in the Arctic town of Salekhard are threatening to bury him on the prison grounds if she did not agree to a "secret" funeral.

"You tortured him alive, now you torture him while he is dead," Yulia Navalnaya, who has vowed to continue her husband's work, said in a new video.

Also Read: Alexei Navalny | The man who stood up to Putin

"I completely understand that this has not been curated by some investigator in Salekhard. Putin is directing it all," she said.

"It's Putin saying 'put pressure on the mother, break her, tell her the body of her son is rotting'," she said.

She said Navalny's mother, who travelled to the remote prison colony where he died, is being "tormented" by authorities.

"This is the same Putin that likes to show that he is a practising Christian," she said.

Mr. Putin has for decades portrayed himself as a devoted Orthodox Christian and has in recent years focused on promoting what he calls "traditional values."

"We always knew that Putin's faith is fake, but now we can see it like never before," Ms. Navalnaya said.

Also Read: Reeling from Navalny’s death, Russian opposition vows to fight on

She also denounced Mr. Putin's decision to launch the Ukraine campaign two years ago.

"You will answer for all of this.. And for this (Navalny's death) and for the war that you unleashed two years ago, also hiding behind Christian values.

"You are just killing. You are just killing sleeping people at night with missiles blessed by the church," she said.

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