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Alexei Navalny, prominent critic of Putin, dies in prison

New Update
Alexei Navalny

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny (File image)

New Delhi: Alexei Navalny, a leading figure in Russia's opposition movement and a vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin, has died at the age of 47 while incarcerated, according to an announcement from the prison service in the Yamalo-Nenets region, where Navalny had been serving his sentence.

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International media on Navalny's death in prison expect that it will be viewed as a politically motivated assassination linked to Putin.

Navalny, was sentenced to 19 years under a "special regime" in a facility approximately 40 miles north of the Arctic Circle, and had previously vanished from a prison in the Vladimir region.

There, he was serving a 30-year sentence for extremism and fraud charges, which he denounced as political revenge for his leadership in the anti-Kremlin opposition during the 2010s.

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Media reported that Navalny had stated he did not anticipate release during Putin's tenure.

A former nationalist politician, Navalny played a key role in the 2011-12 protests against election fraud and corruption within the Russian government.

His investigations into Putin’s inner circle and dissemination of findings through widely viewed videos marked significant moments in his political career.

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In 2013, Navalny secured 27% of the vote in Moscow's mayoral election, which was widely scrutinised for its fairness.

Navalny's opposition efforts included exposing corruption linked to Putin and former president Dmitry Medvedev and revealing connections between high-ranking officials and oligarchs.

The Guardian newspaper reported that his campaign faced a major setback in 2020 when he was hospitalised in a coma due to a suspected novichok poisoning by the FSB security service, after which he was treated in Germany.

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Upon returning to Russia in January 2021, Navalny was detained for parole violations, leading to multiple prison sentences totalling over 30 years.

His death comes as Putin embarks on a campaign for a fifth presidential term, having already become the longest-serving Russian leader since Joseph Stalin.

Putin's potential continuation in office until 2030 is facilitated by recent constitutional amendments allowing him to bypass previous term limits.

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