Spread the love

Thousands of supporters at the funeral of Alexei Navalny

Photo: Andrey Borodulin Agence France-Presse A long queue of a few thousand people, under close police surveillance, has formed since the morning in front of the Moscow church where the ceremony takes place.

France Media Agency


  • Europe

Several thousand supporters of Russian opponent Alexeï Navalny gathered on Friday to pay tribute to him in a Moscow church before his funeral, despite the risk of arrest.

The body of Vladimir Putin's main adversary was briefly exposed in this church in the southeast of the Russian capital, in the presence of his parents. The remains of Alexeï Navalny were presented in an open coffin, according to the Orthodox rite, with dozens of red and white flowers covering it, while those present held candles, noted an AFP journalist.

The hearse carrying the coffin had arrived moments earlier to the applause of the crowd, four men with black and red armbands carrying it inside.

Outside the church, a large crowd of several thousand people gathered, forming a very long line, some people coming with flowers, others with tears in their eyes. The police were present in large numbers and dotted the area with barriers.

“It's painful, people like him should not die, honest people, with principles, ready to sacrifice themselves”, testifies Anna Stepanova, also emphasizing “the sense of humor » from the opponent. “Even in pain, he made jokes.”

The Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitri Peskov, warned of potential sanctions in the event of participation in any “unauthorized” demonstration on the occasion of this funeral. During his daily press conference, Mr. Peskov also said that he had “nothing to say” to the family of the deceased.

Also read

  • Since the death of opponent Alexeï Navalny, “I can’t stop crying”
  • Navalny's widow accuses Putin and promises to continue his fight
  • Navalny's body was handed over to his mother, opponent's team announces

“Forgive us! »

After a quick funeral, the opponent's remains arrived at the Borissovo cemetery, located nearby, according to an AFP journalist on site.

“We won’t forget you!” “, “Forgive us,” people in the crowd shouted when the body arrived.

Critic of the Kremlin and charismatic anti-corruption activist, Alexei Navalny died on February 16 at the age of 47 in a Russian penal colony in the Arctic in circumstances that remain unclear. His collaborators, his widow Yulia Navalnaïa and the West have accused Vladimir Putin of being responsible for his death, which the Kremlin denies.

After delaying handing over Mr. Navalny's remains to his loved ones, the Russian authorities finally did so last weekend, allowing a funeral.

The American ambassador and the French and German ambassadors visited the site, as well as three opposition figures still at large: Evguéni Roïzman, Boris Nadejdine and Ekaterina Dountsova.

According to Maxime, a 43-year-old computer scientist who came to pay tribute to the opponent requesting anonymity, Alexeï Navalny “showed freedom”.

Denis, 26, a volunteer in a charity association, greets a man who made him “interested in politics”, in an increasingly authoritarian regime where young people's disinterest in political issues is very strong.

Since the handover of Alexeï Navalny's body to his mother on Saturday, the opponent's team had been looking for a place for a “public farewell”, but was “rejected” any request, accusing the authorities to put pressure on the managers.

“Memory violated”

His team had nevertheless called on Muscovites to come and say goodbye to Alexeï Navalny, and his supporters in other cities and abroad to gather in front of memorials to honor his memory. Gatherings which could be embarrassing for those in power, two weeks before the presidential election (March 15-17) supposed to prolong Vladimir Putin's reign in power.

Nearly 400 people were arrested by the police in the days following the death of the opponent, during improvised rallies in his memory.

Youlia Navalnaïa regretted on Wednesday that no civil ceremony had been authorized to allow the exposure of her husband's body to a wider public, as is often the case after the death of great personalities in Russia.

“People in the Kremlin killed him, then trampled his body, then trampled his mother and now trample his memory,” she lambasted, accusing Vladimir Putin and the mayor of Moscow , Sergei Sobyanin, for being responsible for this situation.

Before his poisoning in 2020, which he narrowly survived and for which he blamed Vladimir Putin, then his arrest and sentencing to 19 years in prison for “extremism”, Alexei Navalny managed to mobilize crowds, particularly in the Russian capital .

His movement, which relied on investigations denouncing corruption among Russian elites, has been methodically dismantled in recent years, sending many of its collaborators behind bars or into exile.

After the death of her husband, Yulia Navalnaïa promised to continue her fight.

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