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Home / News / 91 arrests across Russia after Navalny funeral –

91 arrests across Russia after Navalny funeral –

At leat 9a people were arrested across Russia yesterday after demonstrations were held as the funerla of opposition leader Alexei Navalny took place in Moscow.

President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critic inside Russia, died at the age of 47 in an Arctic penal colony on 16 February, sparking accusations from his supporters that he had been murdered. The Kremlin has denied any state involvement in his death.

The authorities have outlawed his movement as extremist and cast his supporters as US-backed troublemakers out to foment revolution.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he had nothing to say to Mr Navalny’s family.

Many thousands of people turned out to pay their respects atthe cemetery and earlier outside the Soothe My Sorrows church in southeast Moscow where the funeral took place.

Among the large crowd, many people clutched bunches offlowers and some joined in a series of chants – “Russia will befree”, “No to war”, “Russia without Putin”, “We won’t forgive”and “Putin is a murderer”.

Police were present in large numbers at what evolved into one of the biggest displays of anti-Kremlin dissent in years, but for the most part did not intervene.

A rights group, OVD-Info, reported that 91 people had been detained in 12 towns and cities, including Moscow.

Public demonstrations in Russia are risky and rare, especially since the start of the war in Ukraine that the Kremlin calls a “special military operation”.

More than 20,000 people have been detained in the past two years.

Despite yesterday’s high turnout and flashes of defiance, Mr Navalny’s death leaves Russia’s fragmented opposition in an even more precarious position as Mr Putin prepares to extend his 24-year rule by another six years in an election this month.

All of the president’s leading critics are behind bars or have fled the country.

Even from prison, Mr Navalny had cheered his supporters with displays of resilience and humour in his frequent legal hearings and social media posts.

State media gave scant coverage to the funeral. The RIA newsagency reported the fact of Mr Navalny’s burial, noting the presence of foreign envoys including the US, French and German ambassadors, and recalled that he had been jailed on a host of charges including fraud, contempt of court and extremism.

Mr Navalny denied all those charges, saying they had been trumped up by the authorities to silence his criticism of Putin.

More than a quarter of a million people watched the farewell to Mr Navalny on his YouTube channel, which is blocked inside Russia.

Messages, mostly expressing sadness but some also defiance, streamed down beside the video.

Allies of Navalny outside Russia have called on people who want to honour his memory but could not attend his funeral service to instead go to memorials to Soviet-era repression in their own towns last night.

The Kremlin said any unsanctioned gatherings in support of Mr Navalny would violate the law and those who took part would be held accountable.

Mr Navalny’s wife Yulia and two children, who are living outside Russia, did not attend the funeral.

Yulia Navalnaya, who has pledged to continue her husband’swork, thanked him for “26 years of absolute happiness”.

She posted on X: “I don’t know how to live without you, butI will try my best to make you up there happy for me and proud of me. I don’t know if I’ll manage it or not, but I will try.”

Dasha, Navalny’s daughter, also posted an emotional farewell message on X, saying her father had given his life for his family and for Russia. “You always were and will forever be an example for me,” she wrote. “My hero. My dad.”

Mr Navalny, a former lawyer, mounted the most determined political challenge against Mr Putin since the Russian leader came to power at the end of 1999, organising street protests and publishing high-profile investigations into the alleged corruption of some in the ruling elite.

Mr Navalny decided to return to Russia from Germany in 2021 after being treated for what Western doctors said was poisoning with a nerve agent only to be immediately taken into custody.

Mr Putin has yet to comment on Mr Navalny’s death and has for years avoided mentioning him by name.

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