Navalny's Mom: I've Seen His Body

Lyudmila Navalnaya says authorities are 'blackmailing me ... about how my son should be buried'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 22, 2024 11:12 AM CST
Navalny's Mom: I've Seen His Body
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, left, and his wife Yulia after a rally in rain-soaked Moscow, Russia, Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. The opposition leader rose to prominence with his investigations into corruption which turned otherwise dull financial stories into internet blockbuster viewing.   (AP Photo/Evgeny Feldman, File)

The mother of Russia's top opposition leader Alexei Navalny said Thursday that she has seen her son's body and that she is resisting strong pressure by authorities to agree to a secret burial outside the public eye. Speaking in a video statement from the Arctic city of Salekhard, Lyudmila Navalnaya said investigators allowed her to see her son's body in the city morgue. She said she reaffirmed her demand that his body be released to her without qualifications.

"They are blackmailing me, they are setting conditions where, when, and how my son should be buried," she said, per the AP. "They want to do it secretly without a mourning ceremony." The BBC reports that Navalnaya also said she signed a death certificate in which Russian officials cite "natural causes" for his death. In the video released Thursday, Navalnaya said she had spent nearly 24 hours in the Salekhard office of the Investigative Committee, where officials told her that they have determined her son's cause of death and have the paperwork ready, but she has to agree to a secret funeral.

"They want to take me to the outskirts of the cemetery to a fresh grave and say: 'Here lies your son.' I don't agree to this. I want you, too—to whom Alexei is dear, for whom his death was a personal tragedy—to have the opportunity to say goodbye to him," she said. Navalnaya accused the authorities of threatening her: "Looking into my eyes, they say that if I do not agree to a secret funeral, they will do something with my son's body. Investigator Voropayev openly told me: 'Time is not on your side, the corpse is decomposing,'" she said. (More Alexei Navalny stories.)

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