Theories on Navalny's Death Begin to Emerge

As his mother files suit in an effort to get her son's body
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2024 8:41 AM CST
Theories on Navalny's Death Begin to Emerge
This grab taken from video shows flowers and a portrait of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny that Lyudmila Navalnaya, mother of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, put to pay tribute to her son at the at the memorial to victims of political repression, in Salekhard.   (AP Photo)

The whereabouts of Alexei Navalny's body remain unknown, as does his cause of death. Russian authorities have said they will not release his body for the next two weeks as the preliminary inquest into his Friday death continues. But his mother has been fighting for access to her son's remains since Saturday and has filed a lawsuit to that end. The latest on her effort, and the situation in general:

  • Lyudmila Navalnaya's suit, filed at a court in the Arctic city of Salekhard, contests officials' refusal to release her son's body to her, per the AP via Russian state news agency Tass. A closed-door hearing is slated for March 4. The suit followed a plea Navalnaya made directly to Vladimir Putin requesting her son's body. "The resolution of this matter depends solely on you. Let me finally see my son. I demand that Alexei's body is released immediately, so that I can bury him like a human being."

  • NBC News reports Navalny's widow, Yulia Navalnaya, has her own suspicions as to what killed her husband. In a nine-minute video posted to YouTube on Monday, she accused Russian authorities of holding the body so that traces of "Putin's Novichok" could dissipate; that's the nerve agent that almost killed Navalny in 2020.
  • A human rights activist has a different theory regarding Navalny's death. The Independent reports Vladimir Osechkin, head of, "which is informed by a wide network of Russian prisoners and officials," said he believes Navalny was killed by a punch to the heart, a technique once employed by members of Soviet Union intelligence. He said a source at the Arctic Circle penal colony where Navalny was held reported seeing bruises on Navalny's body that were reminiscent of those left by the technique.

  • Meanwhile, the UK on Wednesday became the first country to impose sanctions in response to Navalny's death. The country has frozen the assets of six Russian prison bosses who were at the helm of the penal colony where Navalny died. They are also banned from traveling to the UK, reports the BBC. (The US has said it will hit Russia with sanctions as well.)

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