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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny dies in Prison

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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, known for his relentless opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin, has died in prison at the age of 47, according to Russian authorities. Navalny, a prominent anti-corruption activist who organized large-scale protests against the Kremlin, was serving a 19-year sentence on charges of extremism.

Navalny fell ill after a walk and subsequently lost consciousness while in prison, as reported by the Federal Penitentiary Service. Despite efforts by medical personnel to revive him, Navalny passed away. The exact cause of his death is currently under investigation, according to prison authorities.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that President Putin was informed of Navalny’s death and stated that the prison service would conduct a thorough investigation in accordance with standard procedures. Meanwhile, Navalny’s spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh, expressed uncertainty about his death and indicated that his legal team was en route to verify the situation.

Navalny had been incarcerated since January 2021, following his return to Moscow from Germany where he received medical treatment for nerve agent poisoning, which he attributed to the Kremlin. Prior to his imprisonment, Navalny actively campaigned against government corruption, organized mass protests, and pursued political office, despite facing multiple legal charges that he denounced as politically motivated.

Reacting to Navalny’s death, Vice President Kamala Harris, speaking at the Munich Security Conference, directly blamed Russia and Putin, describing the news as “terrible” and emphasizing the need for further confirmation. She condemned the reported incident as indicative of Putin’s brutality and pledged that the Biden administration would address the matter.

Navalny’s demise comes amid a backdrop of escalating tensions between the opposition and the Russian government. Despite facing adversity, Navalny remained a formidable figure, leveraging social media to amplify his message and rallying support from within and outside Russia. His death marks a significant loss for the opposition movement and raises questions about the state of democracy and human rights in Russia.

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