Russian Oligarchs

Yulia Navalnaya Warns of Possible Arrests at Alexei Navalny’s Funeral 2024

In Moscow, Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, cautioned the European Parliament on Wednesday about potential arrests at her husband’s funeral, scheduled for Friday.

Dressed in somber black and white attire, Navalnaya criticized Western politicians and officials for their policies regarding Russia and Ukraine. She urged them to revise their strategies against Russian President Vladimir Putin, urging them to view him not as a statesman but as a mafia leader.

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Navalnaya’s address coincided with the day Navalny’s supporters secured a venue for his funeral. According to his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh’s social media announcement, the ceremony would occur in his hometown district of Maryino, located on the southwestern periphery of Moscow, at 2 p.m. on Friday, followed by burial at Borisov Cemetery.

“I am not sure yet whether it will be peaceful or whether police will arrest those who have come to say goodbye to my husband,” Navalnaya expressed, receiving a prolonged standing ovation.

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Navalny’s sudden death in an Arctic prison colony two weeks ago sparked intense speculation regarding the circumstances of his death and the funeral arrangements. Many of his supporters believe the Kremlin aims to avoid a public burial attended by crowds.

Come early,” Yarmysh advised, hinting at the potential for chaos.

Navalny’s wife, family, and colleagues have accused Putin of ordering the killing of Navalny, his greatest challenger and critic. Navalny survived a poisoning attempt in 2020, which was later proved to have been carried out by Russian state agents. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the allegations “absolutely unacceptable” and “boorish.”

“Putin killed my husband, Alexei Navalny. On his orders, Alexei was tortured for three years: He was starved to death in a tiny stone cell, cut off from the outside world,” Navalnaya said to the Parliament, her voice trembling as she addressed it in English. “And then they killed him. Even after that, they abused his body and abused his mother.”

“Last Saturday was two years since Putin started a full-scale war against Ukraine. … There is much exhaustion, much blood, much disappointment, and Putin has gone nowhere,” she added. “Everything has already been used: weapons, money, sanctions — nothing is working.”

Navalnaya said that “the worst has happened” — everyone has got used to the war — while some in the West are starting to push for negotiations with Putin. But Putin operates not like a standard politician, but a mafia boss, she said.

“If you really want to defeat Putin, you have to become an innovator. And you have to stop being boring,” she said to applause. “You can’t hurt Putin with another resolution or another set of sanctions that is no different from the previous ones. You can’t defeat him by thinking he’s a man of principle who has morals and rules.”

She continued: “He’s not like that, and Alexei realized that a long time ago. You aren’t dealing with a politician but with a bloody mobster.”

“You, and all of us, must fight this criminal gang. And the political innovation here is to apply the methods of fighting organized crime, not political competition. Not diplomatic notes, but investigations into the financial machinations. Not statements of concern, but a search for mafia associates in your countries, for the discreet lawyers and financiers who are helping Putin and his friends to hide money.”

Her voice cracking, Navalnaya also asked European leaders to work with the tens of millions of antiwar Russians living outside the country.

“You must not persecute them — on the contrary, you must work with them. With us,” she said.

Navalnaya cannot attend her husband’s funeral. Nor, likely, can their two children, Zakhar and Daria. It has been reported by Russian state media that Navalnaya would be arrested on arrival, much like her husband in 2021.

“The same fate awaits Navalnaya! If she comes to Russia, she will go to prison,” chief Kremlin propagandist Vladimir Solovyov said on his talk show last week.

According to Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, investigators tried to pressure the family into holding a secret, private funeral — and at one point threatened to let Navalny’s body decompose if they did not comply.

Since Navalnaya was finally able to claim her son’s body last week, aides to the late politician reported that it had been impossible to find a venue for the funeral.

“Some places say the space is busy, some places refuse upon mention of the name ‘Navalny.’ In one place we were directly told that funeral agencies were prohibited from working with us,” Yarmysh wrote on social media Tuesday.

A close adviser to Navalny, Leonid Volkov, who sat in the European Parliament during Navalnaya’s speech, wrote on Telegram that a pressure campaign against the Navalny family continues.

“Intimidating everyone possible on the chain of organizing farewells and funerals … will lead to nothing,” he wrote. “We will do everything possible to ensure that everyone who wants to say goodbye to Alexei can do so: peacefully, calmly, with dignity.

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