Funeral service in Moscow: Navalny's funeral amid massive police presence - Germany's ambassador wants to attend

Two weeks after his death in a prison camp, the well-known Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny is to be buried this Friday in the Russian capital Moscow.

Funeral service in Moscow: Navalny's funeral amid massive police presence - Germany's ambassador wants to attend

Two weeks after his death in a prison camp, the well-known Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny is to be buried this Friday in the Russian capital Moscow. The funeral service in the church in honor of the Mother of God icon "Relieve my grief" in the southeastern district of Marjino is scheduled for 2 p.m. local time (12 p.m. CET), Navalny's spokeswoman Kira Yarmysch confirmed.

The burial will take place two hours later at the Borisovskoye Cemetery, about half an hour's walk away. The German ambassador to Russia, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, also wants to be present, as the German Press Agency learned upon request. It is feared that the Russian power apparatus will take tough action against Navalny's supporters.

On Thursday, the police took up positions in front of the cemetery and checked IDs and bags of passers-by. In addition, numerous barriers were brought to the cemetery grounds. In the past few weeks, hundreds of people have been arrested across Russia who wanted to lay flowers at monuments for the well-known opposition politician.

Navalny spokeswoman Yarmysch also complained on Platform X that the authorities were continuing to hinder preparations for the funeral service. She wrote on Thursday afternoon that it had still not been possible to organize a hearse to bring Navalny's body to the church. Moscow funeral homes received threatening calls from unknown people warning them not to transport the body. "Despite all resistance, Alexei's farewell will definitely take place tomorrow," she confirmed.

It is far from the first time that Navalny's relatives and supporters have reported pressure and attempts at blackmail from the Russian authorities. What caused particular horror was that the authorities initially kept Navalny's body under lock and key for around a week and mother Lyudmila Navalnaya had to search for the body in the polar region together with a lawyer.

Then the power apparatus wanted to force her to hold her son's funeral secretly, as Lyudmila Navalnaya said several times. However, she resisted this and publicly demanded that the Russians should have the opportunity to say goodbye to Navalny.

Finally, Navalny's team declared that they wanted to organize a location for the funeral service. However, the search was, as expected, difficult. They did not find a hall in which Navalny's body would be laid out before the funeral service - as is customary in Russian Orthodox tradition - accessible to all mourners. That's why now there should only be a prayer service and a funeral. Shortly before the presidential election on March 17th, any major critical events are a thorn in the side of the Kremlin.

According to official information, Navalny died on February 16 at the age of 47 in a prison camp north of the Arctic Circle. The sharp critic of Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin was physically very weakened by a poison attack in 2020 and constant solitary confinement in the camp. His supporters and many international observers therefore agree that there can be no question of a "natural" cause of death, as the death certificate states.

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