Kremlin Bizarrely Dismisses Claims Putin Did Not Order Navalny's Death

The Russian president's most vocal critic died under mysterious circumstances while in prison in February – many blame Putin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been widely blamed for Navalny's death.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been widely blamed for Navalny's death.
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The Kremlin has strangely dismissed reports that Vladimir Putin did not order Alexei Navalny’s death.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, American agencies have concluded there is no “smoking gun” to suggest Putin directly called for his most prominent critic’s death in February.

The US official – who spoke on the condition of anonymity – also said Putin was not aware of the timing of Navalny’s death, shortly before the Russian presidential election.

The agencies have not absolved the Russian leader of ultimate responsibility, though.

Although Russia has denied any involvement in Navalny’s death, the Kremlin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, dismissed these reports on Saturday.

He said: “I would not say that this is high-quality material that deserves any attention. Some very empty reasoning.”

According to coverage in the Russian state news agency TASS, he added: “It seems the goal was to give the global audience something to read over the weekend.”

The leader of the Russian opposition died while serving a length prison sentence – on charges widely dismissed as politically motivated – in a penal colony.

Russian officials claimed Navalny collapsed while on a walk, and then could not be revived.

Navalny had been serving a 19-year sentence on extremism charges since January 2021.

Russian officials claimed that Navalny died of natural causes, and denied involvement in either the positioning or the critic’s death.

They later suggested he died from “sudden death syndrome”.

According to the WSJ, US agencies do still think Putin is still responsible for sending Navalny to the prison camp where he died.

The Russian president has been blamed by the West for the mysterious death of his most vocal critic, especially after Navalny was poisoned by Russian nerve agent Novichok back in 2020.

US president Joe Biden said the US did not know exactly what happened, just that Putin was responsible but did not directly accuse him of ordering it.

He said, “there is no doubt” that his death was “the consequence of something that Putin and his thugs did”.

Putin was re-elected for a fifth term in office a month after Navalany’s death, having gradually eradicated all plausible opponents.


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