Alexei Navalny, blogger and opposition activist, dies

Alexei Navalny dies in Polar Wolf colony during walk

Alexei Navalny felt sick during a walk and almost immediately "lost consciousness,” officials with the Federal Penitentiary Service said.

Doctors pronounced him dead.

The oppositionist was transferred to Colony No. 3 Polar Wolf in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug in December.

Alexei Navalny died in the Polar Wolf colony, the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) of Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug said in the afternoon of February 16.

The Penitentiary Service stated that Navalny became ill on February 16 in correctional colony No. 3 during a walk. He "passed out almost immediately."

Doctors carried out "all necessary resuscitation measures, which did not give positive results.”

"Doctors confirmed his death. The causes of death are being established,” the FSIN department for the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug said in a statement.

The Federal Penitentiary Service announced that it would send a commission to the colony. The commission will include managers and employees of "operational and medical units of the central office of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin was informed of Navalny's death, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. Peskov also said that the Federal Penitentiary Service was "engaged in all relevant checks, no instructions are required, because there is a set of rules in this regard.”

Reports about Alexei Navalny's death started to emerge in the afternoon of February 16. The official message about his death came from the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. They said that the oppositionist became ill during a walk and almost immediately lost consciousness. An ambulance crew was called, but "resuscitation efforts did not yield positive results.”

Doctors tried to resuscitate Navalny for more than half an hour, Labytnang City Hospital told TASS.

"Paramedics arrived in less than seven minutes. It took doctors two minutes to enter the territory of the colony. They continued taking life saving efforts for more than 30 minutes. However, the patient died."

A FSIN (Federal Penitentiary Service) commission will be sent to the colony. The commission will include managers and employees of "operational and medical units of the central apparatus of the FSIN of Russia.

The Investigative Committee stated that an investigation into Navalny's death was being carried out.

Danila Gontar, the chairman of the public monitoring commission of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, said that there were no complaints about Alexei Navalny's health.

Navalny's lawyer Leonid Solovyov said that he visited Navalny on Wednesday and "everything was fine then.”

Alexei Navalny's mother Lyudmila Navalny wrote on social media:

"I don't want to hear any condolences. We saw our son in the colony on Feb. 12th. He was alive, healthy, cheerful."

The day before, Navalny took part in a hearing of the Kovrov City Court via video link.

"He did not make any complaints about his health, he actively spoke and presented arguments in defence of his position,” RIA Novosti said with reference to court representatives.

Reaction from the Russian authorities

Kremlin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Vladimir Putin was informed about Navalny's death. According to him, the Kremlin had no information about the reasons for what happened. "It will be up to doctors to establish the case," Peskov told reporters.

At the end of December, Navalny, who was originally serving his sentence in the Vladimir region in Central Russia, announced that he had been transferred to correctional colony No. 3 in the village of Kharp in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. This is one of the most remote colonies in the country, which is located in the permafrost zone. Its unofficial name is "Polar Wolf”. Most of the prisoners there are convicted of committing grave crimes. They usually serve sentences of 20 years or longer.

In June 2022, Navalny was sentenced to nine years in prison in a fraud case. In August of this year, he was sentenced to 19 years in a special regime colony, when he was found guilty of setting up an extremist community. On December 1, Navalny announced the initiation of a new criminal case — under Part 2 of Art. 214 of the Criminal Code (vandalism by a group of persons, as well as motivated by political, ideological, racial, national or religious hatred or enmity). Navalny called all the accusations against him politically motivated.

Alexei Navalny is included on the official register of individuals who conduct extremist activities and support extremist and terrorist organizations. 

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Author`s name Andrey Mihayloff
Editor Dmitry Sudakov