Russian opposition leader and critic of Putin, Alexei Navalny, passes away in prison

MOSCOW: Alexei Navalny, a prominent Russian opposition figure known for his outspoken criticism of President Vladimir Putin, has passed away, as confirmed by the prison service.

According to a statement released by the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District on their website, Navalny fell ill after a walk on Friday and subsequently lost consciousness. Despite medical intervention, Navalny could not be revived, and the exact cause of his death is currently under investigation.

The Kremlin has stated that it lacks specific information regarding the circumstances surrounding Navalny’s demise. Navalny had disappeared from a prison in the Vladimir region in early December, where he was serving a 30-year sentence on charges of extremism and fraud, which he claimed were politically motivated reprisals for his anti-Kremlin activism during the 2010s.

Navalny, a former nationalist politician, played a significant role in the 2011-2012 Russian protests, exposing electoral fraud, government corruption, and scrutinizing Putin’s inner circle through widely disseminated videos.

In 2013, he ran for mayor of Moscow, challenging what he perceived as unfair practices in the election process. Throughout his career, Navalny remained a thorn in the Kremlin’s side, uncovering revelations such as Putin’s alleged Black Sea palace, properties linked to former President Medvedev, and connections between top foreign policy officials and prominent oligarchs.

Despite surviving a poisoning with a nerve agent in 2020, Navalny faced multiple arrests upon his return to Russia in 2021, coinciding with Putin’s bid for a fifth presidential term. Putin’s potential continued rule beyond 2030 looms large as he amended term limits in 2020.

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