Skip to content
Alexei Navalny. CC/Evgeny Feldman

Russian political figure Alexei Navalny is dead, announced the Russian federal prison service in a statement explaining that Navalny lost consciousness and died after taking a walk on Feb. 16. He was serving a prison sentence in a penal colony in the Arctic settlement Kharp. Navalny has been detained since his January 2021 return to Russia.

The responses from the architects of the “rules-based order” have been quick and predictable.

“Make no mistake: Putin is responsible for Navalny’s death,” said U.S. President Joe Biden at a White House news conference, while acknowledging that the details of Navalny’s death are unclear. “What has happened to Navalny is even more proof of Putin’s brutality. No one should be fooled,” he added.

Navalny’s wife Yulia, who was in Munich to give a previously scheduled talk at the Munich Security Conference, spoke just hours after Alexei Navalny’s death was reported. “I don’t know whether to believe the news or not, the awful news that we receive only from government sources in Russia. We cannot believe Putin and Putin’s government. They’re always lying,” she said, speaking in Russian.

“But if this is true,” she continued, “I want Putin and everyone around him, Putin’s friends, his government, to know that they will bear responsibility for what they have done to our country, to my family and to my husband. And this day will come very soon.”

She called on the “world community” to join forces “to defeat this evil, defeat this horrible regime that is now in Russia.”

Her speech fell on many sets of eager ears, including those of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Blinken, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Navalny was seen on Thursday, Feb. 15, appearing relatively jovially in a court appearance by video connection.

Be prepared for storms of indignant blather about how autocratic it is to imprison a political opponent, presented by many of the same people who both favor the lawfare against presidential candidate Donald Trump and refuse to speak up on behalf of Julian Assange.