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Alexei Navalny was one of Vladimir Putin’s most outspoken critics
By Laura Gozzi
BBC News

Alexei Navalny will be buried at a cemetery in Moscow on Friday, a spokesperson has confirmed.

The service will be held at Borisovskoye Cemetery, after a farewell ceremony in the Maryino district.

Alexei Navalny suddenly died in an Arctic prison earlier this month.

For years, he was the most high-profile critic of Vladimir Putin. Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, as well as several world leaders, have blamed the Russian president for his death.

Few details have been released on the cause of his death, and Russian authorities initially refused to hand Navalny’s body over to his mother Lyudmila. They finally relented eight days after his death.

News of the funeral details came as Ms Navalnaya addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

She said she was not yet sure whether the funeral would be peaceful “or whether the police will arrest those who have come to say goodbye to Alexei.”

On Tuesday, Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmish said his team were struggling to find somewhere to hold the ceremony – some funeral homes had claimed they were fully booked, she said, while others had refused when they found out who the event was for.

“One place told us that funeral agencies were forbidden from working with us,” Ms Yarmish posted on social media.

Navalny’s team had originally wanted to hold the funeral on 29 February, but “it quickly became clear that there was not a single person around who could dig a grave on that day”, Ivan Zhdanov, the director of Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, wrote on X.

He implied that the reason for this was because Mr Putin is due to make his yearly address to the Federal Assembly on the same day.

“The Kremlin understands that nobody will care for Putin and his address on the day of Alexei’s farewell,” Mr Zhdanov wrote.

He also encouraged people to arrive early “to have a chance to say goodbye to Alexei”.

A farewell ceremony will take place in the morning, followed by the funeral service at 14:00 (11:00 GMT) and the burial at 16:00 (13:00 GMT).

Since Navalny’s death at a notorious penal colony in the Arctic Circle on 16 February, some 400 people have been arrested across Russia after laying flowers for him, according to human rights group, OVO-Info.

His funeral on Friday is likely to be subject to a heavy police presence, and possibly, a similar crackdown.

Yulia Navalnaya addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday

Ms Navalnaya received several rounds of applause during her address to the European Union, including a standing ovation.

In her speech, she described her husband as “an inventor” who “always had new ideas for everything, but especially for politics”.

Despite Vladimir Putin’s regime, “Alexei Navalny has managed to become the most famous politician there,” she said. “He was able to inspire millions of people with his ideas.”

Earlier this week, an ally of Navalny alleged he was about to be freed in a prisoner swap when he died – but that President Putin changed his mind at the last moment.

The Kremlin has said it was unaware of such a deal.

Alexei Navalny: More coverage

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