February 27, 2024 Special Dispatch No. 11150

Russian-Language Article Describes Political, Military, And Cultural Life In Russia Immediately After The Death Of Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny

February 27, 2024
Russia | Special Dispatch No. 11150

On February 19, 2024, the website of the Russian-language television channel Current Time TV published an article titled "February 19. Three Days Without Navalny,"[1] in which journalist Olga Serebryanaya described life in the aftermath of the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, including police crackdowns on memorials to him, the war in Ukraine, and developments in Russian society.

Following is a translation of the article.

"Everything You Need To Know Early In The Morning On February 19

"Hello, dear readers!

"Throughout the weekend, Russian police were struggling with the memory of Alexei Navalny, who died under as yet unclear circumstances in a colony in Kharp, Yamal. At night the police destroy[2] spontaneous memorials to Navalny, in the daytime they arise again. Flowers are carried to monuments to the victims of political repression, and often it is not just one place per city, but several – nevertheless, in Yekaterinburg, for example, the police managed to prevent[3] memorials from springing up anywhere, and on Sunday organizers, upon noticing the police, canceled[4] an event in memory of Navalny that was supposed to be held at Yabloko's Yekaterinburg office. Here are photos[5] of the memorials from various locations.

"Those carrying flowers and candles to the memorials are being selectively detained: by Saturday noon, almost 300 people had been detained[6] (at the same time, courts began imposing administrative arrests and fines); as of Sunday evening, OVD-Info reported 387 detainees in 39 Russian cities; the largest number of arrests was in St. Petersburg (about 200 people). There, in particular, they detained Grigory Mikhnov-Voitenko, a priest of the Apostolic Orthodox Church, who was going to hold a memorial service for Navalny. Mikhnov-Voitenko was brought to the police station, where he was supposed to be kept until his trial on Monday, but a couple hours later an ambulance took him away with a stroke. By Sunday evening, pictures were banned in Moscow: on the approach to the Solovetsky Stone, police began checking people's bags in search of images of Navalny, and volunteers of the Nemtsov Bridge had been detained[7] after photos of Alexei were found in their possession. A court in St. Petersburg sent to pre-trial detention[8] someone called Yevgeny Smirnov, who on the day of Navalny's death put an 'inaccurate inscription' on a fence (he probably wrote 'Putin is a murderer,' otherwise the content of what he wrote would not have been hidden so carefully).

"Abroad, the police also sometimes do not welcome spontaneous actions: in Berlin, Pussy Riot members who stood in front of the Russian embassy with a 'Murderers' banner were forced[9] to remove their balaclavas; in Milan, activists were prevented[10] from leaving flowers near the Russian consulate; in Istanbul, everything was banned.[11] During a concert in Las Vegas, U2 lead singer Bono spoke[12] from the stage about Navalny's death and called on the audience to chant the name Putin never dared to say. The leader of the DDT band Yuri Shevchuk also made[13] a speech at a concert in Astana and dedicated the song Freedom to Navalny. Yulia Navalnaya published[14] the first post after the news of Alexei's death. She wrote: 'I love you.'

"More from the brighter side: a movie[15] about Navalny's 2017-2018 presidential campaign, his photobiography[16] and a cutting[17] from the FBK's most high-profile investigations.


"On Saturday morning, Alexei Navalny's mother Lyudmila arrived at the colony in Kharp – there she was given[18] an official notice of the death, which occurred on February 16 at 14:17 local time, and verbally told that the body was in Salekhard, where it had been taken by investigators of the Investigative Committee. When Navalny's mother and her lawyer arrived there, the morgue in Salekhard was closed, and they were told over the phone that the body was not there. The Salekhard forensic medical examination bureau also said they did not have it. The chief pathologist of the Salekhard District Hospital refused[19] to answer the question where Navalny's body is: after listening to Mediazona's question, he hung up. The source of Novaya Gazeta Europe claims[20] that Alexei's body is just in the morgue of this very district clinical hospital and that it allegedly shows bruises as if from convulsions and traces of heart massage. After Navalny's death, representatives of the central offices of the Investigative Committee and FSIN[21] allegedly arrived in Salekhard on special airplanes. On Sunday evening, Mediazona published a video from surveillance cameras at a crossing over the Ob River, which shows that on the night before Navalny's mother arrived, a motorcade of the FSIN drove along the road from the colony to Salekhard, which probably carried his body – that is, it was deliberately concealed from his relatives. Agency writes[22] that the authorities according to the law cannot give the body for 30 days. Human rights activists urged Russians to write appeals to the Investigative Committee demanding that Alexei's body should be handed over to his family, and by Sunday evening there had already been[23] more than 29,000 such appeals.

"Navalny's mother was told in the colony that Alexei died of 'sudden death syndrome' (there is no[24] such diagnosis). Nothing is known about the circumstances of his death either: Novaya Gazeta Europe recounts[25] the words of an inmate of IK-3[26] about 'strange fuss' on the night of February 16 and total searches afterwards (the prisoners became aware of Navalny's death before the time specified in the certificate issued to the politician's mother). Here[27] human rights activist Anna Karetnikova comments on the diagnosis instantly 'made' by the Russian propaganda media ('a blood clot has broken off'), here[28] former inmates of the 'Polar Wolf'[29] IK-3 recall how people live and die there, and here is[30] a story about the lawsuits regarding medical care in the 'Polar Wolf', which was studied by Sistema. Viktor Vorobyov, a Komi State Council deputy from the CPRF, asked[31] the prosecutor's office to check the colony.

"Sources of the German media outlet Bild claim[32] that the exchange of Navalny for the assassin Vadim Krasikov, who is jailed in a German prison, was discussed in negotiations between Russia, Germany and the United States. The sources of Kirill Martynov, editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta Europe, know nothing about such negotiations, but he easily admits[33] that Navalny's murder may now prove to be a convenient negotiating platform for the Kremlin with regard to other exchanges: if you do not hand over Krasikov, we will continue killing political prisoners.

"Zhanna Nemtsova called[34] on Western leaders to respond to Navalny's murder with military, economic and humanitarian support for Ukraine. Kirill Shamiev, a visiting scholar at the European Council on Foreign Relations, believes[35] that this is the most likely way the West will respond: there are simply no other levers left to influence Russia.

"Meanwhile, At War

"Mutual shelling. The Russian Defense Ministry said[36] that 33 drones were launched from Ukraine on Saturday night over the Belgorod, Voronezh, Kursk, Bryansk and Kaluga regions – all of which were intercepted. In the Donetsk region, Russian shelling of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk killed[37] at least three people on Saturday.

"Avdiivka. Putin sent[38] General Mordvichev a congratulatory telegram on the capture of Avdiivka. A Ukrainian army spokesman said[39] Russia had achieved this at the cost of the lives of 17,000 Russian servicemen. Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, the commander of the Tavria operational-strategic grouping of troops, admitted[40] that during the Ukrainian military's withdrawal from Avdiivka, 'under the pressure of superior enemy forces, a certain number of Ukrainian servicemen were taken prisoner.' According to an assessment[41] by the US-based Institute for the Study of War, Russia captured Avdiivka due to air dominance. The Ukrainian armed forces on Sunday said[42] they had shot down another Russian Su-34.

"Military aid to Ukraine. Czech President Petr Pavel told[43] at the Munich Security Conference that he knows where he can get 800,000 shells for Ukraine, but he needs financial help from allies to buy and deliver them. Pavel, a former general and a top NATO functionary, assessed the situation on the front as 'not good.' German conglomerate Rheinmetall has signed[44] an agreement to produce artillery shells in Ukraine. The U.S. will donate[45] for the needs of Ukraine $500,000 seized as a result of uncovering an illegal network for smuggling precision grinding machines to Russia – the money will go to an Estonian organization helping to restore Ukraine's energy system destroyed by Russian shelling. Read here[46] what else was said on the Ukrainian issue at the Munich conference.

"Cyberwar and space weapons. On Sunday night, the websites of major Ukrainian media outlets and their social media accounts were subjected[47] to a Russian hacker attack. CNN writes, citing sources familiar with the U.S. intelligence, that Russia is developing nuclear space weapons capable of disabling satellites. The New York Times, for its part, is reassuring: The US has asked India and China to dissuade Russia from deploying nuclear weapons in space.[48]

"Russian Life

"State affairs. Kadyrov's 18-year-old son Akhmat was appointed[49] Chechnya's youth minister and given the republic's highest award. Boris Nadezhdin filed[50] a lawsuit in the Supreme Court demanding that he should be registered as a candidate in the presidential election. The Russian Prime Minister signed[51] amendments to the list of narcotic drugs subject to state control: the new edition includes Ipomea cairica, a popular dacha flower (now growing up to ten bushes of this creeper may incur administrative liability, and growing more than ten bushes may incur criminal liability).

"Criminals. Two criminal cases were brought[52] against a resident of St. Petersburg because of inscriptions 'The Russian Orthodox Church is for murderers' and 'University is for murderers' on the walls of a higher educational institution and two churches ('damage to objects of cultural heritage' and 'vandalism'), in addition, he is charged with recruitment to the Freedom of Russia Legion. In Kamchatka, 'for an immoral act,' the teacher was fired,[53] who was previously fined 30 thousand rubles in a case of 'discrediting' the Russian army because of the phrase 'our country will be declared a criminal.'

"Love. In Tula, law enforcers broke[54] into a party 'about love and openness' and beat up its participants. In Moscow, police dispersed[55] the cosplay festival Mi Amore Fest: its participants were suspected of 'LGBT propaganda.'

"Culture. In Vologda a theater performance based on Linor Goralik's fairy tale 'Agatha comes home' was canceled[56] because she (Linor, not Agatha) is a 'foreign agent.' In Pulkovo, after the denunciation by activists from 'Forty Forties' tattoo artist Daria Krichker was detained,[57] a criminal case was opened against her for insulting the feelings of believers 'for repeated gross blasphemous actions against Christ, the Virgin Mary, the saints of the Church' ('blasphemous actions' in her tattoos are committed mainly by kittens) – the investigator released[58] Krichker on her own recognizance not to leave. Singer Kirkorov returned[59] to federal TV airwaves after being 'canceled' because of his participation in Ivleeva's 'naked party' and his subsequent redemptive performance in 'DNR' hospitals. There are rumors that Putin will soon be the owner of a priceless art collection assembled by artist Ely Bielutin and his art historian wife Nina Moleva – here's[60] a look at which (if any) masterpieces will go to the Russian president in Moleva's testament.

"Six Links

"Talking about the essentials. An interview[61] with economist and sociologist Dmitrii Travin about 'institutional traps,' the consistent falling into which has doomed Russia to lagging behind in development. Or Andrei Arkhangelsky's conversation[62] with Roma Liberov about lessons that can be learned from Russia's disastrous experience of the last two years.

"Architecture. Grigory Revzin's essay[63] on the architect Berthold Lubetkin, who successfully applied the principles of socialist construction in London and the Royal London Zoo. Or a story[64] about why Alexanderplatz, one of Berlin's main squares, has been looking like a construction site for 30 years (and may remain so forever).

"Movies. A story[65] of how Brazilian directors came up with their movies during a period of stagnation and repression. Or a story[66] of Chilean directors who filmed their homeland abroad and survived the dictatorship safely.

"Yours sincerely,

"Seven Forty"


[1], February 19, 2024.

[2], February 18, 2024.

[3], February 18, 2024.

[4], February 18, 2024.

[5], February 17, 2024.

[6], February 17, 2024.

[7], February 18, 2024.

[8], February 18, 2024.

[9], February 17, 2024.

[10], February 18, 2024.

[11], February 17, 2024.

[12], February 18, 2024.

[13], February 18, 2024.

[14], February 18, 2024.

[15], February 18, 2024.

[16], February 17, 2024.

[17], February 17, 2024.

[18], February 17, 2024.

[19], February 17, 2024.

[20], February 18, 2024.

[21] The Federal Penitentiary Service.

[22], accessed February 26, 2024.

[23], February 18, 2024.

[24], February 18, 2024.

[25], February 17, 2024.

[26] 'IK' stands for 'corrective colony'.

[27], February 16, 2024.

[28], February 17, 2024.

[29] Unofficial name given to the colony.

[30], February 18, 2024.

[31], February 17, 2024.

[32], February 18, 2024.

[33], February 18, 2024.

[34], February 18, 2024.

[35], February 18, 2024.

[36], February 17, 2024.

[37], February 18, 2024.

[38], February 17, 2024.

[39], February 17, 2024.

[40], February 17, 2024.

[41], February 17, 2024.

[42], February 18, 2024.

[43], February 17, 2024.

[44], February 17, 2024.

[45], February 17, 2024.

[46], February 18, 2024.

[47], February 18, 2024.

[48], February 18, 2024.

[49], February 17, 2024.

[50], February 17, 2024.

[51], February 18, 2024.

[52], February 18, 2024.

[53], February 18, 2024.

[54], February 18, 2024.

[55], February 17, 2024.

[56], February 18, 2024.

[57], February 17, 2024.

[58], February 18, 2024.

[59], February 18, 2024.

[60], February 18, 2024.

[61], February 18, 2024.

[62], February 16, 2024.

[63], February 16, 2024.

[64], February 14, 2024.

[65], accessed February 26, 2024.

[66], February 16, 2024.

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