Funeral directors refuse to transport Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny

 

Funeral directors are reportedly refusing to take Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny’s body from the morgue to his funeral on Friday March 1, after receiving threats from unknown individuals.

Alexei Navalny’s team has accused authorities of trying to prevent him from having a dignified public burial since the Kremlin critic’s death in prison almost two weeks ago.

‘What a disgrace,’ said Ivan Zhdanov, an exiled ally who managed Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation.

‘Now the hearse drivers refuse to take Alexei from the morgue.’

Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said funeral directors had received threatening calls from ‘unknown people’ warning them not to transport Navalny’s body anywhere, and that no one had agreed to transport his body as a result.

Zhdanov said Navalny’s team would cope and find a solution anyway.

Navalny died two weeks ago on February 16 in one of Russia’s toughest prisons in northern Siberia, known as ‘Polar Wolf’.

There, he was serving a 19-year sentence on charges widely seen as political retribution for his staunch opposition to the Vladimir Putin regime.

Authorities resisted handing the politician’s body to his family for eight days, in what his team said was an attempt to ‘cover-up’ official involvement in his death.

Russian authorities said Navalny died of ‘natural causes’ but his team and some Western leaders have accused Putin of being directly responsible.

Navalny’s body was eventually released to his mother, but the Kremlin critic’s allies have since accused Russian authorities of blocking a civil memorial service that they wanted to hold for him to avoid potential protests or dissent against Putin.

The Kremlin has said it has nothing to do with such arrangements.

The late dissident’s allies announced on Wednesday that he is due to be buried in the Russian capital on Friday after a church service in the southeastern suburb where he used to live. Navalny’s allies have promised to livestream his funeral service online.

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