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People leave flowers outside the Russian Embassy in London on Feb. 16, 2024, following the news of the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. (Daniel Leal/ AFP)
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The funeral of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny will be held on March 1 in Moscow's Borisov cemetery, Navalny’s spokesperson Kira Yarmysh announced on Feb. 28.

The funeral will take place at 2 p.m., but Yarmysh advised those who wanted to come to arrive earlier. Yarmysh said on Feb. 27 that almost all funeral agencies and funeral venues in Moscow had refused to host a public farewell for Navalny.

"Some of them say the place is fully booked. Some refuse when we mention the surname Navalny. In one place, we were told that the funeral agencies were forbidden to work with us," Yarmysh said.

Navalny, 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 pointed at Russian President Vladimir Putin as to blame for Navalny's death. It remains unclear whether the harsh prison conditions caused his death or if he was intentionally murdered.

Maria Pevchikh, the chair of Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation, said on Feb. 26 that Navalny had been killed in prison to prevent his exchange with Vadim Krasikov, a convicted Russian hitman sentenced to life imprisonment in Germany.

Navalny's body was released to his mother on Feb. 24, shortly after Navalny's widow Yulia Navalnaya called out Russian President Vladimir Putin in a video due to the refusal of the prison authorities to release his remains to his mother, nearly nine days after his death.

Alexei Navalny’s life and death as main opponent to Putin regime
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s death on Feb. 16 did not come as a surprise for those familiar with Russian politics. Navalny was Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s main opponent, and the Kremlin had used all the tools at its disposal to shut him up. He was sentenced in several fabricate…

Navalny's mother said on Feb. 22 that the authorities threatened that they would only transfer the body to her if she agreed to a secret funeral, as opposed to a public one.

"This is not even hatred - this is some kind of Satanism, paganism. What are you planning to do with his body? How far will you go to mock the man you killed?" Navalnaya said.

"We do not know if the authorities will interfere to carry it out as the family wants and as Alexei deserves," Yarmysh said later on Feb. 24.

Ivan Zhdanov, the head of Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation, told Russian independent media outlet Meduza on Feb. 28 that the authorities were actively trying to prevent a public funeral.

"They are again blackmailing relatives and saying: Either hold a quiet family funeral, or nothing will really work out for you," Zhdanov said.

Navalny's team found a church near the cemetery that has agreed to hold a public funeral service, Zhdanov said.

"There are no problems with this yet, but theoretically, of course, they could arise, the Federal Security Service (FSB) officers could put pressure on the clergy. Then we will have a farewell either in the cemetery or in another church," Zhdanov told Meduza.

"In any case, we will have a farewell somewhere."

Navalny killed to prevent swap with convicted Russian hitman, opposition leader’s associate claims
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was killed in prison to prevent his exchange with Vadim Krasikov, a convicted Russian hitman sentenced to life imprisonment in Germany, Anti-Corruption Foundation chair Maria Pevchikh claimed on Feb. 26.
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