Alexey Navalny's mother says she has seen his body, claims investigators are 'blackmailing' her

Lyudmila Navalnaya claimed investigators were 'blackmailing' her into setting the conditions of her son's burial

ByAnneClaire Stapleton, CNN
Thursday, February 22, 2024
Navalny's mother makes appeal to Putin for son's body as opposition leader's wife make allegations
Yulia Navalnaya, Navalny's widow, on Tuesday called for the remains to be returned so they could be buried with dignity.

MOSCOW -- The mother of Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny, who died in an Arctic penal colony last week, said Thursday that she has seen her son's body.

Lyudmila Navalnaya and Navalny's wife had previously said they had been denied access to the outspoken Kremlin critic's body.

Navalnaya said she saw her son's body in the town of Salekhard, near the prison where he had been held since December, and that she had signed his death certificate. Navalnaya claimed investigators were "blackmailing" her into setting the conditions of her son's burial.

"They are blackmailing me, setting me the conditions of where, when and how Alexey should be buried," she said in a video posted on her son's YouTube channel.

She also claimed the Russian Investigative Committee looking into the circumstances of her son's death would like to bury his body "secretly without saying goodbye." She said the investigators "claim that they know the cause of death and that they have all the medical legal documents."

Navalny's wife, Yulia Navalnaya, had earlier accused Russian authorities of "hiding" his body in an attempt to disguise the cause of his death. She said they were "lying pathetically" and waiting for "traces of another of Putin's Novichoks to disappear." The Kremlin has said an investigation into the circumstances around Navalny's death is "underway" and the results are currently "unknown."

Navalny's mother's claims to have seen his body comes almost a week after his death was announced on February 16. The cause of his death is still unknown, but the news drew barbed reaction from Western leaders, including US President Joe Biden, who pinned the blame on his Russian counterpart, saying that "what has happened to Navalny is yet more proof of Putin's brutality."

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