Funeral of Alexeï Navalny: “We will not forgive”, relatives and activists stand together

The funeral of Vladimir Putin's main opponent took place without major clashes this Friday in Moscow (Russia).

Funeral of Alexeï Navalny: “We will not forgive”, relatives and activists stand together

The funeral of Vladimir Putin's main opponent took place without major clashes this Friday in Moscow (Russia). Many sympathizers gathered and only one arrest was reported.

There were thousands waiting for the coffin of Alexeï Navalny, this Friday March 1, 2024 in front of a church in the southwest of Moscow in the district where he lived despite the risks weighing on the ceremony, in particular arrests on the part of Russian police. The French ambassador attended the funeral in the presence of his German and American counterparts.

As a reminder, Alexeï Navalny, 47, took his last breath on February 16 in the Kharp penitentiary center, known as the "polar wolf", located in the Russian Arctic, where he was serving a 19-year prison sentence for "extremism". It was only the latest in a long series of convictions by Russian justice that he denounced, like so many political trials organized to repress his opposition to the regime.

Initially, the body of Alexeï Navalny was exposed during the ceremony in Moscow, in the church, as is Orthodox custom. After the short religious ceremony, the opponent's remains arrived at the Borissovo cemetery. As soon as he arrived at the cemetery, hundreds of people chanted the name of the opponent of Vladimir Putin. On site, many young people with flowers were present.

In front of the cemetery, the police turned away several people including journalists as indicated by the Russian media Mojem Obianist on Telegram. During the funeral ceremony, the opponent's mother was able to pay her respects one last time to her son's remains. At around 5 p.m. local time and 3 p.m. French time, "a man was arrested on the Brateevsky Bridge" indicates the online media Sota. This is, for the moment, the only known arrest on the sidelines of Alexeï Navalny's funeral. Subsequently, the coffin was placed in the ground. “Goodbye my friend” we could hear from the lips of Ivan Zhdanov, a relative of the deceased.

Many questions surrounded the opponent's funeral until Friday noon. Alexeï Navalny's teams and his family feared that the Russian authorities would take advantage of the ceremony to arrest opponents of the regime. "I don't yet know if they will be peaceful or if the police will arrest those who came to say goodbye to my husband" declared yesterday, Yulia Navalnaïa, the opponent's widow in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Indeed, the risks of arrests were high and the ceremony placed under high surveillance. This Monday, the deceased's lawyer told France Info "to expect very severe persecution".

Since Alexeï Navalny's body was handed over to his mother last Saturday, his team has had all the trouble in the world finding a hearse to transport the body. Impossible for the family to find a funeral service agreeing to provide one according to information from France Info. In the columns of 20 minutes, the team indicates that they were “rejected” any request when they were looking for a place to give them a “public farewell”. According to her, the authorities are putting pressure on those responsible for the proposed locations.

“In some places, we were told that it was forbidden,” lamented Ivan Zhdanov, a close collaborator of Navalny. On Thursday, the hearse drivers even refused to take the opponent's remains to the church. Zhdanov denounces “threatening calls from strangers, it’s a real shame” on Telegram.

And he wasn't the only one worried about holding the ceremony. In front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Youlia Navalnaïa, the opponent's widow, strongly attacked Vladimir Putin this week: "You are not dealing with a politician, but with a bloodthirsty monster. And that's good to repeat: Putin is the leader of an organized criminal gang. The public assassination of my husband once again showed everyone that Putin is capable of anything and that we cannot negotiate with him" had -she throws.