At least 340 people arrested at Navalny memorial gatherings, spokesperson confirms death

Russian authorities arrested at least 340 people at memorial rallies for the late opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Friday and Saturday. Human rights organization OVD Info reports that the arrests took place in 32 cities, including Moscow and St. Petersburg. This makes it the largest wave of political arrests in Russia since September 2022, when more than 1,300 people were arrested during protests against the mobilization for the war in Ukraine.

Images circulating on social media show officers knocking people to the ground in Moscow, among other places, with a memorial site with flowers and messages for Navalny in the background. OVD Info writes “to do everything” to help the prisoners. They also include elderly people who need medication.


Navalny’s death was announced in a message on Saturday X confirmed by his spokesperson. “He was murdered,” writes Kira Yarmish. Navalny’s mother is said to have been officially informed of this. According to the obituary, Navalny died on Friday afternoon at 2:17 pm local time.

Spokesman Yarmish writes that Navalny’s body is currently in Salekhard, a city in Siberia, for examination. But Navalny’s mother and lawyer, who traveled to Siberia, did not find the body in the city’s only morgue, international news agencies write. It is unclear where Navalny’s body is. A mortuary worker also confirmed to Reuters news agency that Navalny’s body did not arrive there. “We demand that Navalny’s body be immediately handed over to the family,” Yarmish wrote on X.

On Friday, Russia’s prison service said Navalny, who had been in prison since early 2021 for founding an extremist movement according to Russian authorities, had become unwell while taking a walk. Medical assistance was of no further use. The cause of his death has not yet been determined, but the family and associates of the Russian government’s biggest critic have said for more than a year that his health was at risk due to the conditions in which he was held.

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