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Russia is preparing for Alexei Navalny’s funeral

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Russia is preparing for Alexei Navalny’s funeral

Today, Friday 1st March, the funeral of Alexei Navalny, the main opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who died on 16 February in prison in unclear circumstances, is scheduled in Moscow: the funeral will be at 2pm (12pm Italian time) at the church of the Icon of the Mother of God, in the south-east of the city, and Navalny will then be buried at 4pm in the nearby Borisov cemetery. Preparations for the funeral have been going on for days, with great difficulty on the part of Navalny’s family and friends in finding a place willing to celebrate it, and several operations on the part of the Russian authorities to prevent it from turning into a protest against Putin.

Officers in riot gear and patrols have already been sent to the Borisov cemetery, security cameras have been installed on all street lamps and metal barriers will be used to contain participants. Officers have also been sent to the metro station closest to the cemetery, where checks of the documents and bags and personal items of those who want to enter are already underway, according to a local correspondent cited from the independent Russian site Medusa.

In the meantime, several people have already arrived on site:

The Russian government has been trying for days to discourage attendance at Navalny’s funeral, in some cases with acts of intimidation. A reader of the Russian independent site 7×7 he said that students of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), a large Russian public university, were threatened with expulsion if they participated in “gatherings” between 29 February and 1 March, precisely the days of Navalny’s funeral. The Russian Ministry of Education has also a video was released in which he threatens punishment in the event of “unauthorized” protests and gatherings.

Navalny’s body was handed over to his mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, last week after being held for days in the morgue in Salekhard, northern Russia, without the family being able to see it. Navalnaya had also said that the Russian authorities had “blackmailed” her and had imposed very restrictive conditions regarding where, how and when to celebrate her funeral, again to prevent it from becoming an occasion for demonstrations of dissent against Putin.

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In recent days, Navalny’s family, friends and collaborators have described the great difficulties encountered in organizing the funeral. They wanted to hold it on February 29, but said they were unable to find a location that would agree to hold the ceremony. Ivan Zhdanov, director of the anti-corruption foundation to which Navalny belonged, had said that several funeral agencies had refused to organize the funeral as soon as they learned that the body to be buried was that of the Russian opponent.

Kyra Yarmysh, Navalny’s former spokeswoman, said one agency had explicitly said it had received orders not to cooperate in holding the funeral. funeral. AND he added that once we had identified the place where the funeral would be held, we had difficulty finding funeral agencies willing to transport Navalny’s body there.

Navalny’s collaborators have invited as many people as possible to attend the funeral, which will be public. Zhdanov said, however, that Navalny’s family continued to receive pressure from Russian authorities to keep the ceremony as contained and private as possible, with threats of intervention if they did not.

At the moment there is no information on how many people will actually decide to participate and therefore on the risk of clashes or arrests. The funeral, however, will also be streamed are YouTube.

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