Navalny was to be swapped on eve of his death – Navalny's associates

Alexei Navalny. Photo: Getty Images
Alexei Navalny. Photo: Getty Images
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Maria Pevchikh, head of Russia’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF), formerly headed by Alexei Navalny, has said that an agreement had been made to swap the opposition politician in a prisoner exchange before he ended up dying in prison.

Source: a video released by the ACF

Quote from Pevchikh: "Alexei Navalny could be sitting right here, right now. This is not a figure of speech; it could and should have happened. Navalny was supposed to be freed in the coming days. That's because a decision had been made regarding his exchange."

Details: Pevchikh noted that in early February, Russian President Vladimir Putin received a proposal to swap FSB officer Vadim Krasikov, an assassin serving a sentence for a murder in Berlin, for two US citizens imprisoned in Russia and Alexei Navalny.

"I received confirmation that the negotiations were ongoing and in their final stages on the evening of 15 February. Alexei was killed on 16 February," Pevchikh said.

Pevchikh explained that since the beginning of the war, Navalny's associates had been working on the possibility of a "humanitarian swap" of the opposition politician with the help of investigator Khristo Grozev.

She said that it took 2 years to implement this plan. "Last spring, our plan was approved. Everything could have happened a year ago. But it didn't. It was all Chinese whispers," said Pevchikh.

Navalny's associate also added that the proposal to swap Navalny had been brought to Vladimir Putin by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich as an informal negotiator.

"I'm telling you why Navalny was killed now. Putin was given a clear message: the only way to get Krasikov was to exchange him for Navalny. Oh, I see, Putin figured! [Putin thought] 'I will not tolerate Navalny at large' And since they [the West] were ready to swap Krasikov, it was simply a matter of getting rid of the subject of the bargain [Navalny]. And then, should the opportunity arise, to swap him for someone else. This is completely illogical, completely irrational, the behaviour of a crazy mobster. The bottom line is that Putin has gone mad with his hatred for Navalny," the ACF head stressed.

Background: On 25 February, Kyrylo Budanov, Chief of Ukraine's Defence Intelligence, revealed that Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny had died of natural causes, specifically a blood clot.


  • On the afternoon of 16 February, Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service reported the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny at Correctional Facility No. 3 in Kharp, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, in northwestern Siberia.

  • Alexei Navalny had been imprisoned since early 2021. The Moscow City Court sentenced him to 19 years in prison in a high-security prison for "extremism" in August 2023.

  • Representatives of the penal colony where Navalny had been held told his mother that he had died of sudden death syndrome.

  • On the morning of 19 February, Lyudmila Navalnaya arrived at the morgue in the town of Salekhard where the body of her son, opposition politician Alexei Navalny, was allegedly kept. Still, neither she nor her lawyers were allowed in.

  • On 23 February, Lyudmila said that she had been threatened that her son's body would be buried in the colony if she did not agree to a secret, quiet funeral.

  • On 24 February, Russian prison officials finally released Navalny's body to his mother.

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