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In Russia, more than 400 people arrested for paying tribute to Navalny

Photo: Dmitry Lovetsky Associated Press Municipal workers, on orders from the authorities, remove flowers laid in honor of Alexei Navalny, in Saint Petersburg, on Sunday.

Dasha Litvinova – The Canadian Press

February 18, 2024

  • Europe

More than 400 people were arrested in Russia over the weekend while paying tribute to Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, who died in a remote Arctic prison, a human rights group reported.

The sudden death of Navalny, aged 47, was a blow to many Russians, who had pinned their hopes for the future on President Vladimir Putin's fiercest enemy. Even after surviving nerve agent poisoning and receiving multiple prison sentences, Navalny continued to criticize the Kremlin.

The news reverberated around the world, and hundreds of people in dozens of Russian cities paid tribute to him with flowers and candles on Friday and Saturday at the site of what looked like monuments to the victims of political repression. .

In more than a dozen cities, police arrested 401 people on Saturday evening, according to the rights group OVD-Info, which tracks political arrests and provides legal aid.< /p>

More than 200 people were arrested in St. Petersburg, Russia's second city, the group said. Among the detainees was Grigory Mikhnov-Voitenko, a priest of the Apostolic Orthodox Church — a religious group independent of the Russian Orthodox Church — who announced on social media his intention to hold a memorial service for Navalny. The priest was arrested Saturday morning in front of his home. He was accused of organizing a rally and placed in a holding cell at a police station, but was later hospitalized with a stroke, OVD-Info reported.

St. Petersburg courts ordered 42 people detained Friday to serve one to six days in jail, while nine others were fined, court officials said Saturday evening .

In Moscow, at least six people were sentenced to 15 days in prison, according to OVD-Info. One person was also imprisoned in the city of Krasnodar and two others in the city of Bryansk, the group said.

News of Alexei Navalny's death comes a month before Russia's presidential election, which is widely expected to give President Vladimir Putin six more years in power.

Questions about Navalny's cause of death persisted Sunday, and it was unclear when authorities would release his body to his family.

Alexei Navalny's team said on Saturday that he had been “murdered” and accused authorities of deliberately delaying the release of his remains to his family.

Navalny had been imprisoned since January 2021, when he returned to Moscow after recovering in Germany from nerve agent poisoning, which he blamed on the Kremlin. He has been sentenced to three prison terms since his arrest, on a number of charges, which he dismissed on political grounds.

After the latest verdict, which imposed 19 years in prison, Alexei Navalny said he understood that he was serving “a life sentence, which is measured by the length of his life or the lifespan of this regime.” .

A few hours after his death, his wife, Yulia Navalnaïa, made a surprise appearance at the Security Conference in Munich, Germany.

Yulia Navalnaya said she was not sure she could believe the news from official Russian sources, “but, if it is true, I want Putin and everyone around him , Putin's friends, his government, know that they will bear responsibility for what they have done to our country, to my family and to my husband.”

More than 150 people sentenced for gathering in memory of Navalny

Russian justice this weekend sentenced at least 150 people arrested during tributes to opponent Alexeï Navalny to prison terms, for having violated the strict legislation governing the demonstrations, according to court data on Sunday.

In St. Petersburg alone, in the northwest, courts sentenced 154 of them to up to 14 days in prison on Saturday and Sunday, according to decisions made public by the press service of the courts of this city, the second largest in Russia.

Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116