Russian opposition leader and prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin, Alexei Navalny, has died in prison at the age of 47, according to Russia’s penitentiary service. Navalny’s death has prompted widespread condemnation and accusations of political assassination.

Navalny, a vocal advocate for democracy and anti-corruption, had been serving a 19-year sentence on extremism charges that many viewed as politically motivated. He was transferred to a high-security penal colony late last year, where he reportedly experienced deteriorating health.

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Alexei Navalny (x/@shivsingh1001)

His wife, Yulia Navalnaya, appealed to the international community for support in holding the Russian regime accountable for Navalny’s death. Navalny’s allies, including Anti-Corruption Foundation chief Ivan Zhdanov, raised suspicions of foul play, with Zhdanov suggesting it was “highly likely” that Navalny had been killed.

According to the Russian prison service, Navalny fell ill after a walk on Friday, losing consciousness shortly afterward. Despite efforts to resuscitate him, Navalny was pronounced dead. The circumstances surrounding his death have sparked outrage, with many questioning the official explanation provided by Russian authorities.

Navalny’s passing comes amidst ongoing repression of dissent in Russia, with many of Putin’s critics facing persecution, imprisonment, or exile. Navalny’s supporters and Western officials have denounced his death as a political assassination, placing responsibility squarely on Putin’s regime.

In response to Navalny’s death, world leaders have condemned Russia’s actions, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken asserting that “Russia is responsible for this.” The European Council president and Ukraine’s president have also accused Putin of being behind Navalny’s demise.

Navalny’s legacy as a fearless opposition figure and advocate for democratic reform in Russia has left a profound impact on the country’s political landscape. Despite facing numerous challenges and threats to his life, Navalny remained steadfast in his pursuit of a more just and democratic Russia.

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His death marks a significant loss for the pro-democracy movement in Russia and raises questions about the future of opposition politics in the country. As Navalny’s supporters mourn his passing, they vow to continue the fight for accountability and justice in his memory.