Alexei Navalny’s mother and lawyers refused entry to the morgue; Kremlin says it is not involved

(CNN) — Alexei Navalny’s spokesman said the late Russian politician’s mother and lawyers were refused entry on Monday to the mortuary where his body reportedly lies.

According to a statement on Twitter, spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said Navalny’s mother and lawyers were “not allowed” to enter the morgue after arriving “early” on Monday morning.

Although Yarmish did not specify the location in his message, he is believed to be referring to the same morgue in Salekhard city where his mother and lawyer were also denied entry on Saturday.

“One of the lawyers was literally pushed out. When the staff asked if Alexei’s body was there, they didn’t answer,” Yarmysh said, describing Monday’s visit.

In another post, Yarmysh said Russia’s Investigative Committee had told Navalny’s mother and lawyers that the investigation into his death had dragged on for an unknown amount of time.

Yarmysh criticized the investigation, saying, “It’s unknown how long it will last. The cause of death is ‘undetermined’. They lie, they buy time and they don’t even hide it.”

The Kremlin has said it is “not involved” in the issue of returning Alexei Navalny’s body to his family following his death last Friday.

President Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in his daily call with journalists: “We are not involved in this matter. “This is not the responsibility of the presidential administration.”

Asked by CNN why President Putin has not yet made any public comments on Navalny’s death, Peskov said: “I have nothing to add to what has been said on this issue.”

Kremlin said it is “not involved” in the issue of returning Alexei Navalny’s body

The Kremlin said it is “not involved” in the issue of returning Alexei Navalny’s body to his family following his death last Friday.

President Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in his daily communication to journalists: “We are not involved in this matter. “This is not the responsibility of the presidential administration.”

Asked by CNN why President Putin has not yet made any public comments on Navalny’s death, Peskov said: “I have nothing to add to what has been said on this issue.”

How is Russian politics going after Navalny's death?

According to the Russian prison service, Navalny died in prison on Friday, February 16, after feeling unwell and fainting during a walk in prison. The cause of his death is unclear and his team has accused the authorities of lying to delay the process of returning his body to the family.

In a statement, Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) said “all necessary measures” were taken to try to rescue the imprisoned rival.

The text explains that Navalny felt unwell after taking a walk this Friday and “almost immediately” fainted.

The incident sparked protests around the world, with many people gathering outside Russian embassies in European capitals such as Berlin and Paris, holding banners reading “Putin is a killer” and “Putin to the Hague”.

In Russia, protests require authorization from government officials. The Moscow prosecutor’s office warned that any demonstrations in the capital over Navalny’s death are prohibited.

In August, Navalny was sentenced to 19 years in prison after being found guilty of creating an extremist community, financing extremist activities and several other crimes. At the time he was already serving an eleven-and-a-half-year sentence in a maximum security facility for fraud and other charges, which he denied.



His death was greeted with great sadness around the world, and even in Russia – where even the slightest act of political dissent carries great risk – his memory has been respected.

Navalny fell seriously ill while traveling back to Moscow from the Siberian city of Tomsk in August 2020. The pilot then made an emergency landing in Omsk, where Navalny was taken to hospital for immediate treatment before being flown to Germany, still in serious condition.

The German government said Navalny was poisoned with a chemical agent from the Novichok group, a conclusion supported by two other laboratories in France and Sweden. Novichok agents are very uncommon, to the extent that very few scientists outside Russia have actual experience treating them.

A subsequent Bellingcat-CNN investigation found that an elite team from Russia’s FSB security service, consisting of six to ten agents, had followed Navalny for more than three years. One of those agents revealed in an operation that the deadly nerve agent Novichok had been planted in the worker’s underpants.

Despite these revelations, Navalny said he did not believe there was any ongoing investigation in Russia.

This story has been updated. Anna Chernova contributed to this report.

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