Navalny’s widow demands authorities release husband's body, calls Putin's faith 'fake' - GulfToday

Navalny’s widow demands authorities release husband's body, calls Putin's faith 'fake'


President Joe Biden (C) meets Yulia Navalnaya (R) and her daughter Dasha Navalnaya (L) in San Francisco, California, on Thursday. AFP

Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of the late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, on Saturday demanded that Russian authorities release his body for burial and accused a "demonic" Russian President Vladimir Putin of "torturing" his corpse.

In a six minute video posted on YouTube, Navalnaya accused Putin of holding her husband's body "hostage," and questioned Putin's often-professed Christian faith.

Navalny's mother Lyudmila said on Friday that Russian investigators were refusing to release his body from a morgue in the remote Arctic city of Salekhard until she agreed to lay him to rest without a public funeral.

She said an official had told her that she should agree to their demands, as Navalny's body was already decomposing.

Navalny-family Alexi Navalny with his wife and children.

On Saturday, Navalny aides said that authorities had threatened to bury him in the remote prison colony where he died unless his family agreed to their conditions.

In the video, an emotional Yulia Navalnaya claimed that Putin personally was responsible for the whereabouts of Navalny's body, and that he was "torturing" Navalny in death as he had in life.

"We already knew that Putin's faith was fake. But now we see it more clearly than ever before," said Navalnaya, dressed in black.

"No true Christian could ever do what Putin is now doing with Alexei's body."

Since returning to the Russian presidency in 2012, Vladimir Putin has positioned himself as a defender of traditional, conservative values against what he portrays as corrosive Western liberalism.

He has also trumpeted his closeness to Russia's Orthodox Church, regularly appearing at services around religious festivals, and speaking of his personal faith.

Navalnaya said her husband had been a devout Christian, who attended church and had fasted for Lent even while in prison. She said his political activism had been inspired by Christian values.

Concluding her video, she said: "Give us back the body of my husband. We want to hold a funeral service and bury him in a humane way, in the ground, as is customary in Orthodox Christianity."

Holding Putin responsible for death

Across the ocean in San Francisco on Thursday, US President Joe Biden met Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, and 20-year-old daughter, Dasha, expressing "condolences for their devastating loss.”

"To state the obvious, he was a man of incredible courage,” Biden said after the meeting. "It’s amazing how his wife and daughter are emulating that.”

Bidenhug-Navalnywidow Joe Biden hugs Yulia Navalnaya in San Francisco. AFP

Biden has declared that he considers Putin responsible for the death of Navalny, who barely survived a 2020 poisoning he blamed on government agents.

On Thursday, Biden said he had met privately in California with Navalny's widow and daughter. He told reporters after meeting with Yulia and Dasha Navalnaya in San Francisco that Putin's late opponent was "a man of incredible courage."

A number of European governments have summoned Russian diplomats to protest the death of Navalny, and Britain imposed sanctions on six officials at the remote Siberian penal colony where the campaigner died.

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