Alexei Navalny’s widow accuses Kremlin of hiding husband’s body, vows to continue fight against Putin

Politician Alexei Navalny speaks at an opposition rally; Novosibirsk^ Russia-October 3^ 2017.

Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, is accusing the Kremlin of hiding his body to cover up killing him in an Arctic penal colony. Russia’s prison agency said that Navalny, the fiercest foe of Russian President Vladimir Putin who crusaded against official corruption and staged massive anti-Kremlin protests, died in prison Friday Feb. 16, 2024. Navalny, 47, was serving a combined 30 ½-year jail sentence when he died. He was recently transferred to the prison above the Arctic Circle, where conditions were harsh and his allies worried about his health and frequent isolation in the punishment cell.

Navalnaya’s comments came as Navalny’s team said his mother and lawyers were denied access to his body and told the probe into what killed him had been extended, with the body under “chemical examination” for another 14 days. Ahead of her meeting with European Union foreign ministers in Brussels, Navalnaya posted a nine-minute video posted to YouTube.  She vowed to continue her late husband’s fight against President Vladimir Putin, and called on Russians to rally around her. Navalnaya, 47, said in the video: “three days ago, Vladimir Putin killed my husband. We know exactly why Putin killed Alexei three days ago. We will tell you soon about it. We will also definitely find out who exactly and how exactly this crime was committed. We will name names and show faces.” Navalnaya added that authorities were waiting for traces of “yet another Putin’s Novichok” to leave his body, a reference to the military nerve agent used to poison him years ago. Navalnaya also vowed to continue her husband’s efforts: “The most important thing we can do for Alexei and for ourselves is to continue to fight. I will continue the life work of Alexei Navalny. I call on you to stand with me.”

The Kremlin has denied involvement in that poisoning and dismissed suggestions that Putin was behind his death. Russia’s prison authorities said Navalny died suddenly after collapsing following a walk in the remote “Polar Wolf” prison on Friday afternoon.  However, many international leaders blame Putin. and Navalny’s supporters have dismissed the official version of events.

Spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said on Monday that Navalny’s mother and his lawyers had been denied access to the nearby morgue, sharing on X: “They were not allowed to go in. One of the lawyers was literally pushed out. When the staff was asked if Alexey’s body was there, they did not answer. The cause of death is still ‘unknown’.  They lie, buy time for themselves and do not even hide it.”  Yarmysh added that “the investigators told the lawyers and Alexey’s mother that they would not give them the body. The body will be under some sort of “chemical examination” for another 14 days.”

Editorial credit: Jonas Petrovas /