The Daily Elephant

Alexei Navalny Found Bruised in a Morgue

Less than a month remains until Russia’s presidential election, yet the nation’s foremost opposition figure has passed away while in a labor camp. Alexei Navalny, who had been detained for over three years, faced accusations that President Vladimir Putin manipulated the legal system to bar his participation in the election. Following his death, calls for justice have emerged from both his supporters and Western governments.

In December, Navalny, who had been condemned to more than three decades behind bars following a series of trials denounced as fraudulent, vanished from the penal colony near Moscow where he was incarcerated. Three weeks later, he resurfaced in another facility — the infamous IK-3 camp situated near the city of Kharp, located well beyond the Arctic Circle. This high-security camp, typically reserved for individuals convicted of serious crimes like rape and murder, is ominously referred to as the “Polar Wolf.”

The Russian penitentiary authority declared on February 16 that Navalny had passed away at Polar Wolf. Officials stated that Navalny became unconscious after going for a stroll — a privilege typically not granted to inmates at Polar Wolf — and despite resuscitation efforts, he succumbed. Two days later, his body was discovered at a hospital in Kharp, showing signs of bruising on his head and chest. A Russian paramedic asserted that these bruises were caused by a seizure and the subsequent resuscitation endeavors.

Navalny’s widow, Yulia, holds a different perspective on these events. She suspects that her husband was targeted with the Novichok nerve agent, a notorious weapon used in assassinations linked to the Putin government. This suspicion is fueled by the fact that Navalny had previously been poisoned. In 2020, he fell critically ill and was airlifted to a hospital in Berlin, where German medical experts confirmed the presence of Novichok in his system.

Presently, Navalny’s relatives allege that the Russian authorities are prolonging the autopsy process until the nerve agent becomes undetectable. His demise is bound to overshadow the upcoming March 15 presidential election, wherein Putin appears poised for victory, especially with the absence of prominent opposition candidates who are either incarcerated or deceased.

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