Thousands Turn Out for Navalny’s Funeral

Prying Russia from the grip of Putin was Alexei Navalny’s reason for living and ultimately the reason he died. So it’s no surprise that his funeral, which was held today in Moscow, turned into a kind of anti-Putin rally with numerous chants that, on a normal day, would lead to arrests and prison.


Here’s another one heard today:

Since Navalny’s death was announced, authorities seem determined to avoid letting his funeral become a public spectacle.

From the moment Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila, traveled to the penal colony north of the Arctic Circle where he died a sudden death in mid-February, she said Russian authorities had tried to blackmail her into staging a nonpublic funeral.

First, they refused to hand her Navalny’s body. Then, Navalny’s allies could not find a venue which would agree to host the funeral. On Thursday, it suddenly became impossible to find a hearse to carry his body to the church. 

Putin, who famously refuses to call Navalny by his name, appears to have decided his political foe should disappear underground enshrouded in silence.

The size of the service was limited but police seemed to have been told not to interfere with the crowd.


The vast majority of the thousands who came to mourn Mr. Navalny on Friday did not make it inside the church for the brief service nor to his gravesite. Instead, after they emerged from the neighborhood’s subway station, Mr. Navalny’s supporters were directed by police officers with megaphones through streets and alleyways to stand along the sidewalk in a line leading to the church.

There was no separate wake in a funeral hall that would have allowed members of the public to pay their respects one by one, as happened at the memorial service for Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, who died in 2022. Mr. Navalny’s aides claimed that the Kremlin blocked their efforts to arrange such a service because it feared an outpouring of dissent just two weeks ahead of the presidential election, from which any meaningful opposition to Mr. Putin winning another six-year term has been banned from participating.

Mr. Navalny’s supporters, in turn, feared large-scale arrests. Hundreds of mourners were detained across Russia at makeshift memorials to Mr. Navalny in the days after he died. But on Friday, the Russian authorities largely let the funeral run its course, perhaps calculating that they were better off avoiding scenes of police violence.


Quite a few people turned out given that anyone who did was potentially facing arrest.

I think this comparison sums it up.

I wouldn’t believe this next detail coming from anyone else but Max Seddon is the Financial Times Moscow Bureau Chief. Navalny had the T2 soundtrack played at his burial.

This shows the size of the crowd waiting to pay their respects.


His wife posted this tribute:

Finally, here’s a BBC report on the funeral. RIP.



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