Navalny’s body given to his mother, spokesperson says

Flowers and candles were laid in a memorial for Navalny in front of the Russian embassy in Berlin, Germany, February 16, 2024. - Ebrahim Noroozi/AP
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The body of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny has been given to his mother more than a week after he died, Navalny’s spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said on Saturday.

“Alexey’s body was handed over to his mother. Many thanks to all those who demanded this with us,” Yarmysh posted to social media.

Yarmysh added that Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, is still in Salekhard, the Arctic town where her son’s body was being held.

Navalny died on February 16 behind bars in a nearby penal colony. The Russian prison service said he “felt unwell after a walk” and “almost immediately” lost consciousness.

Navalny’s family and colleagues have blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for Navalny’s death, which comes ahead of the country’s presidential election next month. Putin is not running against any meaningful opposition and is expected to sweep to a fifth term in office.

Funeral plans have not yet been made, Yarmysh said.

“We do not know if the authorities will interfere to carry it out as the family wants and as Alexey deserves. We will inform you as soon as there is news,” she added.

Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, accused Putin of ordering that the body be held to hide Navalny’s cause of death and out of fear that his funeral would draw large crowds.

The Kremlin has denied the allegations.

Navalny’s family had for several days pleaded for Russian authorities to release his body. The elder Navalnaya traveled to Salekhard to recover the body shortly after her son’s death, but was repeatedly rebuffed.

On Tuesday Navalny’s team released a video in which Navalnaya was filmed outside the prison colony where Navalny was held pleading with Putin to release the body. She said later that was allowed to see her son, but that investigators had threatened to let her son’s body “decompose” unless she agreed to their demand that he be buried in secret.

Yarmysh said on Friday that Navalnaya was given an ultimatum to agree to a secret funeral or see her son buried in the Arctic penal colony where he died.

Saturday marks nine days since Navalny’s death, at which time in the Orthodox Christian tradition prayers are supposed to be offered to the departed.

In a video released on Saturday morning before the news that Navalny’s body had been given to his mother, Yulia Navalnaya accused Putin of “breaking every law, both human and God’s,” by refusing to hand over her late husband’s remains.

She said that the Russian leader’s actions cut against his carefully crafted image as a devout Orthodox Christian protecting both the faith and the state from the infiltration of Western values.

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at