Russian Court Orders Arrest of Alexei Navalny’s Widow for ‘Extremist’ Acts

Yulia Navalnaya is a key figure in the political opposition movement against Vladimir Putin and leads the advisory board of her late husband’s Anti-Corruption Foundation

Yulia Navalnaya after voting in Russian elections in March 2024 in Berlin
Yulia Navalnaya after voting in Russian elections in March 2024 in Berlin (Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

A Russian court ordered the arrest of Yulia Navalnaya, a prominent activist and widow to Alexei Navalny, the late leader of the Russian opposition who died in prison in February.

A key figure in the opposition movement against Vladimir Putin and lead on the advisory board of her late husband’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, Navalnaya left Russia in 2021 and has repeatedly accused the president of killing her husband.

In a tweet acknowledging the arrest order on Tuesday, Navalnaya wrote, “When you write about this, please do not forget to write the main thing: Vladimir Putin is a murderer and a war criminal.”

She also mocked the charges of “extremism,” comparing them to the typical progression of such Russian court procedure: “Won’t be the usual procedure? A foreign agent, then the opening of a criminal case, then an arrest?!” She added that Putin’s “place is in prison, and not somewhere in The Hague, in a cozy cell with a TV, but in Russia — in the same colony and the same 2-by-3-meter cell in which he killed Alexei.”

Accusing Navalnaya of “participating in an extremist community,” the arrest order from the Basmanny District Court’s Investigative Committee did not explicitly state the reasoning behind Navalnaya’s charges, though it noted the Anti-Corruption Foundation’s official categorization as an “extremist” entity and the April arrests of three prominent journalists for allegedly working with the org.

Navalnaya has been placed on an international wanted list and will be subject to arrest if she returns to Russia, according to a court statement.

Navalny died in February in a Russian penal colony while serving 19 years for trumped-up offenses many deemed politically motivated. He was moved to the Arctic penal colony in 2021. On the day of his death, the prison service said Navalny “felt unwell” after a walk before he “almost immediately lost consciousness. The emergency doctors declared the prisoner dead. Cause of death is being established.” His arrest and life’s work was the subject of the 2023 documentary “Navalny,” which won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.

In the wake of her husband’s death, Navalnaya vowed to carry on his opposition work.

The New York Times first reported the news.

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