After Facing Assassination Attempt, Putin Opponent Alexei Navalny Dies in Jail

Photo: Alexei Navalny / Instagram
Photo: Alexei Navalny / Instagram

After Facing Assassination Attempt, Putin Opponent Alexei Navalny Dies in Jail

While the real cause of Navalny’s death has not been established, the medical team could not resuscitate him. 

By Rakesh Raman

A fierce political opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin Alexei Navalny who was serving an arbitrary imprisonment in Russia, has died in prison under mysterious circumstances.

Navalny, 47, was arrested in Moscow by the Russian authorities on 17 January 2021 immediately after his return from Germany where he was recovering from a failed poisoning attempt.

In its report of today (February 16), BBC quotes prison authorities to confirm that Navalny has died in prison inside the Arctic Circle. Navalny – who was serving a 19-year jail term under politically motivated charges – felt unwell after a walk and lost consciousness. While the real cause of his death has not been established, the medical team could not resuscitate him. 

It is clearly a failure of the UN bureaucrats, human rights organizations, and the world leaders who failed miserably to get Navalny released and punish the Russian dictator Putin for the continuous human rights violations.

In 2021, the Russian government had also outlawed Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) by declaring it an “extremist” outfit. Navalny’s FBK has been declared a “foreign agent” under another draconian law.

The hostile actions against Navalny were taken despite a slew of sanctions and censure statements by the U.S. and European leaders against Russia.

It is alleged that after sending him to jail under frivolous charges, the Russian regime was slowly trying to murder Navalny. The Washington Post had reported in 2021 that Putin was slowly but very intentionally murdering his political opponent Navalny.

He was not being provided proper medical treatment as Navalny continued to be sick in solitary confinement where he was kept by the Russian authorities. Last year (2023), over 400 doctors in Russia signed and sent an open letter to President Putin demanding that prison authorities stop abusing Navalny and take care of his health. But Putin ignored the doctors’ request because he has no respect for such humanitarian appeals.

As Navalny was perhaps the only leader who could have challenged Putin’s attempt to rule forever, it is believed that the Russian regime was trying to kill him slowly in jail. Putin has signed a new legislation that will allow him to stay in power until 2036, while his second consecutive and fourth overall presidential term ends in 2024.

With the aim to thwart Navalny’s political challenge to Putin, in 2021 a new law in Russia banned Navalny from running for any elected post for a period of 5 years.

The European and the U.S. leaders have been blindly imposing sanctions on various states and their rulers over human rights violations, crimes against humanity, and other criminal activities. 

But such sanctions are simply ignored by the rogue states and their leaders who continue to commit crimes against their citizens with full impunity. Obviously, the imposition of sanctions is an ineffective measure to stop state crimes. 

Last year, the Council of Europe had called on the Russian authorities to honour the European Court of Human Rights’ judgment on Navalny case so that he could be released from jail. But the Russian authorities disregarded the appeal from the Council of Europe.

In the given situation when all the civil appeals are being rejected by Putin, the UN and the international community should take some joint military actions against Russia.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of the humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.

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