Russian Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny To Be Buried In Moscow On Friday

The late Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, will be laid to rest at Moscow’s Borisovskoye Cemetery on Friday, following a farewell ceremony in the Maryino district, according to a spokesperson.

Navalny, a prominent critic of Vladimir Putin, died suddenly in an Arctic prison earlier this month, sparking international outcry and accusations against the Russian president.

The funeral arrangements were disclosed as Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg, expressing uncertainty about whether the ceremony would be peaceful or if authorities would intervene.

Several world leaders, along with Navalny’s widow, have blamed Putin for his death.

Details surrounding the cause of Navalny’s death remain elusive, and Russian authorities initially hesitated to release his body to his mother, Lyudmila.

On Tuesday, Navalny’s spokeswoman, Kira Yarmish said his team were struggling to find somewhere to hold the ceremony because some funeral homes had claimed they were fully booked, while others had refused when they found out who the event was for.

“One place told us that funeral agencies were forbidden from working with us,” Yarmish posted on social media.

“Navalny’s team had originally wanted to hold the funeral on 29 February, but it quickly became clear that there was not a single person around who could dig a grave on that day”, Ivan Zhdanov, the director of Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, wrote on X.

He implied that the reason for this was because Putin is due to make his yearly address to the Federal Assembly on the same day. “The Kremlin understands that nobody will care for Putin and his address on the day of Alexei’s farewell,” Zhdanov wrote.

“The Kremlin understands that nobody will care for Putin and his address on the day of Alexei’s farewell,” Zhdanov wrote, urging people to arrive early for a chance to say goodbye to Navalny.

A farewell ceremony is scheduled for the morning, followed by the funeral service at 14:00 (11:00 GMT) and burial at 16:00 (13:00 GMT).

Since Navalny’s death, approximately 400 people have been arrested across Russia for laying flowers in his memory, according to the human rights group OVO-Info.

Given the heightened tensions, Navalny’s funeral is expected to be heavily policed, possibly resulting in a crackdown on mourners.

Earlier this week, an ally of Navalny alleged that a prisoner swap was in progress just before his death, but Putin changed his mind at the last moment.

The Kremlin has denied awareness of such a deal. As the funeral approaches, international attention remains focused on the circumstances surrounding Navalny’s demise and the implications for Russia’s political landscape.