Putin39s opponent Scherbakova Navalny39s death is a political murder

Putin's opponent Scherbakova: Navalny's death is “a political murder”

It's just not clear whether Navalny was killed directly or whether it was the result of the months of horrific torture he had to endure in custody. Navalny will now go down in history as Russian President Vladimir Putin's most important opponent. And the German historian and scholar, who now lives in exile, was skeptical that Navalny's death would trigger a large wave of protests in Russia. On the contrary, she emphasized: “There will not be a second Navalny in Russia anytime soon.” The repressive apparatus is too powerful for there to be effective opposition.

Russian expert Gerhard Mangott saw the situation very similarly – also in ZIB2. No matter how Navalny died, it remains a “cruel crime committed by the Russian state”. First Navalny was poisoned, now he was being harassed in custody. Mangott explains that Putin pursues Navalny and other opposition figures so mercilessly because of the Kremlin leader's “paranoid fear.” Navalny was a polarizing figure, Putin did not need to be afraid. But Putin's aim is to leave behind a desert, including the elimination of the media and NGOs. “It is not to be expected that a germ will sprout in this wasteland in the near future.” Putin is concerned with “deterring and eliminating any potential threat.”

Scherbakova: “Don't rush to the second Navalny”

The co-founder of the human rights organization “Memorial” and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Irina Scherbakova, does not believe that there will be a wave of protests after the death of Alexei Navalny. “There won’t be a second Navalny anytime soon,” she said skeptically on Friday night on ZiB2.

Yulia Navalnaya calls for fight

Meanwhile, Navalny's wife, Yulia Navalnaya, called for the fight against the Russian leadership at the Munich Security Conference. “We should fight this terrible regime in Russia today,” she said on Friday.

Putin and his allies should “be punished for what they did to our country, to my family and to my husband,” Navalnaya said at the Munich Security Conference. Putin must be “held personally responsible for all atrocities”.

Navalnaya said she thought about leaving the conference and returning to her children. She then wondered what her husband would have done in her place. “And I am sure: he would be here on this stage,” said Navalnaya.

Death in a Russian penal colony

According to the FSIN prison administration, Navalny died on Friday in a penal colony in the Russian polar region. The reasons for his death are being investigated, he said. Navalny “felt unwell after a walk and lost consciousness almost immediately,” the official said. Medical staff arrived at the scene immediately and an ambulance was also called. “Resuscitation measures were carried out which did not produce positive results,” the FSIN further stated.

Russian expert Mangott on Navalny's death

Following the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, there has been harsh international criticism of the Russian regime. ZIB2 includes Russian Nobel Peace Prize winner and human rights activist Irina Scherbakova and Russian expert Gerhard Mangott (University of Innsbruck).

The 47-year-old was sentenced to a total of 19 years in a camp for alleged “extremism”, among other things. Internationally, however, the politician, who narrowly survived an assassination attempt using a nerve agent from the Novichok group in 2020, was classified as a political prisoner. Human rights organizations have long called for his release.

Speculation about the cause of death

Kremlin-affiliated TV station RT reported that Navalny died from a blood clot that broke off. There is no official confirmation of this. Former FSIN analyst Anna Karetnikova explained that thromboembolism (blood clots; note) is a “generally complex and difficult-to-prove diagnosis.”

The penal colony where Alexei Navalny was housed

Portal Navalny has been imprisoned in the “Polarwolf” penal camp since the end of last year

“Pulmonary thromboembolism” is “the name of a disease that is used at least by prison doctors” in a “translated and slightly expanded sense”. Something like this: 'Why did the patient die?' 'Forget it, anyway, they only write about thromboembolism, who will investigate this?' Russian online portal Medusa quoted Karetnikova in a Facebook entry.

The Russian presidential office says it has no information about the cause of Navalny's death. Prison authorities are conducting all investigations, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday afternoon. According to Russian state agencies, President Putin was informed of the death of the opposition figure.

Authorities warn supporters against protests

In Moscow, Navalny's supporters laid flowers at a monument to the victims of political repression. Authorities warned against participating in possible protests. “Organizing or holding unauthorized meetings and calling such events” also constituted an administrative offence, stated the Attorney General’s Office. The official referred to a series of calls to “participate in a mass rally in the center of Moscow”.

The police act harshly

Russian police cracked down on grieving supporters. Late Friday night, more than 100 people were arrested at commemorative events in several Russian cities, civil rights organization Ovd-Info said. Arrests were reported in the capital Moscow, the Baltic Sea metropolis of Saint Petersburg, and six other cities, among others.

Team: Navalny “probably dead”

Navalny's team says it has not yet been able to confirm the 47-year-old's death, but assumes the reports are correct. “We understand that this is how Alexei Navalny’s death probably happened. Most likely,” the exiled director of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, Ivan Zhdanov, said on Friday night.

“We will not tell lies that there is hope that tomorrow it will not be true,” he said. “That probability is minimal.” Zhdanov added: “Right now, everything indicates that a murder actually took place – the murder of Alexei Navalny in prison. And (Vladimir) Putin killed him.”

Transferred to prison camp

At the end of December, it became known that the 47-year-old had been transferred to the remote “Polarwolf” prison camp in the Yamal region, far from the center of power in Moscow. His supporters had already been searching for him for weeks because the Russian penal system had not provided them with any information about Navalny's whereabouts.

To perceive

In memory of Alexej Navalny, the documentary “Nawalny” by Canadian director Daniel Rohe can now be seen on ORF ON and on the TVthek apps.

Shortly after news of Navalny's death broke, Russian independent media outlets published a video purporting to show the opposition activist during a court hearing on Thursday. Just a day before his death, Navalny seemed “happy, healthy and cheerful” given the circumstances, Telegram channel Sota said on Friday. In the clip, which is about 30 seconds long, you can see Navalny talking and smiling. According to the media, he was connected to the court via video.

“I don’t want to hear any condolences,” Navalny’s mother said. She added that she only visited her son in the prison camp on Monday: “He was alive, healthy and full of life.”

International terror

Internationally, Navalny's death was met with horror and harsh criticism of Putin's regime, sometimes with accusations directed at the Russian ruler. Austria called for a full investigation into the circumstances of the death. Navalny was internationally recognized as a political prisoner. Russia rejected this as interference in its internal affairs.