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People walking toward a Moscow cemetery for the funeral of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on March 1, 2024. (Navalny's Team/Telegram)
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Russian Orthodox priest Dmitriy Safranov was suspended for three years following his overseeing the funeral of late opposition leader Alexei Navalny, according to a document posted on the website of the Moscow City Diocese on April 23.

The document did not give an official reason for his suspension, but it is believed to be connected to Navalny's funeral.

Navalny, Russian President Vladimir Putin's main political opponent, died on Feb. 16 in a penal colony in the town of Kharp, Yamal Nenets Autonomous District. He had been convicted in several fabricated criminal cases as part of the Kremlin's crackdown on dissent.

Leaders around the world blamed Putin for Navalny's death. It remains unclear whether the harsh prison conditions caused his death or if he was intentionally murdered.

Safranov took part in Navalny's funeral and a religious ceremony on the 40th day following his death, in accordance with Orthodox traditions. He also was one of the priests to sign a petition demanding the release of Navalny's body to his family, which prison officials refused to do for almost nine days.  

At the time of the funeral, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said he had nothing to say to Navalny's relatives and warned that anybody who took part in "unauthorized rallies" during the funeral "will be held accountable."

Faith under fire: Russia’s war on religion in Ukraine’s occupied territories
Russia’s war and occupation of large swaths of Ukraine have led to hundreds of churches being damaged or destroyed, dozens of priests killed or kidnapped, and entire religious groups that don’t conform to Moscow’s brand of Orthodoxy being banned. With entire Ukrainian cities being leveled by Russia…
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