The unexpected death of Alexei Navalny at the age of 47 in a Siberian prison plunges the Kremlin and the Moscow Patriarchate into disarray because they do not know what to do with this cumbersome corpse.

The Kremlin’s delaying tactics aimed at not showing his body to his loved ones and even not having access to it at all are raising all sorts of suspicions about the real causes of his death.

There is no doubt that the Kremlin does not want to see the grave on Russian soil of a fierce opponent of Putin become a place of pilgrimage for those who disapprove of his policies.

Moreover, the situation is also very embarrassing for Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church, who always fully supports Putin even in his war against Ukraine, as Navalny, a former atheist, would certainly have wanted to be buried religiously. No doubt it will also be the wish of his wife and their two children. An Orthodox priest will then have to be brought in to deliver his eulogy and bless him. Very embarrassing.

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The next few days or weeks should show us how Putin and Patriarch Kirill will try to fare out of the game.

Navalny was serving a 19-year sentence for alleged extremism and years of criticism of the authoritarian Putin in a harsh penal colony north of the Arctic Circle.

Navalny: an atheist converted to Orthodoxy

In an interview with Open Democracy, Navalny said:

“I am a believer; I like being a Christian and a member of the Orthodox Church, I like to feel part of something large and universal. I like the fact that there is a distinctive ethos and certain asceticism. But at the same time I am quite happy to live in a predominantly atheist milieu. Up to the age of 25 or so, when I became a father, I was such a rabid atheist that I was ready to grab any priest by the beard.”

Russian Orthodox Church Suspends Navalny Memorial Priest
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Russian Orthodox Church Suspends Navalny Memorial Priest

Patriarch Kirill, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, signed a decree banning priest Dmitry Safronov from giving blessings, carrying a cross or wearing the frock for three years.

Navalny, the Russian Orthodox Church and freedom of religion

In the same interview with Open Democracy, he said:

“Orthodoxy is the principal religion of Russia, and we shouldn’t fool ourselves by trying to insist on absolute equality. The Russian Orthodox Church’s special role is understandable and reasonable.

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Over 80 percent of Russian citizens consider themselves to be Orthodox (even if they do not go to church). Christmas is a public holiday. It is clear that any attempt to pay as much attention to Russia’s Buddhists as to Orthodox believers is doomed to failure.

If Buddhists wish it, their religion and priests can have a special role to play in traditionally Buddhist areas such as Kalmykia or Buryatia. And it’s fine if Tatarstan and Bashkiria have public holidays linked to Islamic festivals.

We should not, however, deny the obvious fact that the religion of Russia is Orthodox Christianity. This does not, I repeat, imply any discrimination against anyone else. Any limitation on the rights of members of other confessions, or of atheists, should be punishable by law.

The subject of the ‘coalescence’ of the Patriarchate and the government is a sensitive one. The position of the Orthodox Church on this is that all power comes from God, so they will support whoever is in power. You have to be philosophical about this…

A few days ago I read an intriguing article in the Vedomosti newspaper, on the subject of the peaceful removal of dictators from power. Interestingly, in almost all cases the church acted as main intermediary between the dictator and protesting citizens. Would this be possible here? It’s very unlikely.

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But I would like to see the Orthodox Church occupying a position in society where the parties in any conflict would seek and accept its mediation.”

The European Court brought justice to Navalny

On June 6, 2023, in the case of Navalnyy v. Russia No 3 (Application no. 36418/20) concerning the attempted poisoning of Aleksey Navalny, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 2 (right to life/investigation) – procedural aspect – of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case concerned the refusal of the Russian authorities to open criminal proceedings into Aleksey Navalny’s alleged poisoning in August 2020, which led to his falling into a coma and being put on life support. Forensic examinations carried out in Russia concluded that no potent, poisonous, narcotic or psychotropic substances had been found on samples taken from him or on other items submitted for analysis. After he was flown to Germany for medical treatment, the German government announced that the results of tests they had carried out revealed definite proof of the presence of a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group of substances prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

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The Court found in particular that the inquiry conducted by the Russian authorities had not been open to scrutiny and had made no allowance for the victim’s right to participate in the proceedings.

Furthermore, it had failed to explore the allegations of a possible political motive for the attempted murder, as well as possible involvement of State agents, and had not followed up on the reported use of a substance identified as a chemical weapon prohibited by international and domestic law. As such, the inquiry had not been capable of leading to the establishment of the relevant facts and the identification and, if appropriate, punishment of those responsible. It therefore could not be considered adequate.

On Oct. 17, 2017, in the case Navalnyy v. Russia (Applications nos. 29580/12 and 4 others), the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Navalny’s conviction for fraud and money laundering “was based on an unforeseeable application of criminal law and that the proceedings were arbitrary and unfair.”

The Court found that the domestic court’s decisions had been arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable. ECHR found the Russian courts’ decisions violated articles 6 and 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights. On November 15, 2018, the Grand Chamber upheld the decision.

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The author of this in-depth piece is Willy Fautré, the Editor-in-Chief of Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF).

The article is reprinted from the HRWF website. You can find the original here.

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Comments (6)

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Joseph Swanson
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It is fascinating how this platform allows trolls, even the ones who commit identity theft and impersonate someone else including me. I have noticed every time I try to reply to a troll, this platform does not allow it...I can reply to others though.
Sad how online Ukrainian periodicals have chosen communist censorship and delete everyone's comments. If comments use profanity, threats, or insults I could understand that but simply because a comment is not liked is not sufficient or acceptable, especially since the kyiv post cries censorship and freedom of the press on a regular basis.

John
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@Joseph Swanson, Hi Joseph. When I see someone post with the same name as me, I usually post right after it if possible to negate their comment with my view. I save these posts in a document so if I need to, I can re-post instead at the root level. You are correct that some trolls can block responders posting directly below their message.

Ironically I often get taunted by someone stealing your account name. I now respond to them as "@Troll pretending to be Joseph Swanson" or something similar. They were posting so frequently for a while there, I did not actually catch there was a Ukraine friendly version of "Joseph Swanson" until recently. I apologize if you were ever on the undeserving side of one of my posts. Once I spotted the dichotomy, I pretty typically agree with what I think is your version of "Joseph Swanson".

At any rate, it is a paid russian troll job to do whatever they can to make Ukraine supporters give up. I'm much too stubborn to quit, so I just post the 'bejesus' out of them. I can fit it in around my other obligations so no big deal. It's actually kind of fun tying them up in silly conversations. I like to think I'm wasting Putins money. Sometimes they prompt me to research things for my rebuttal that I had not previously known. I like learning new stuff.

Good luck from John the Canuck.

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Joseph Swanson
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Alexey Navalny was another communist playing pretend to be "russian opposition."
In an interview with Echo of moscow radio station in October 2014, Navalny admitted that the Crimean peninsula had been seized through “outrageous violations of all international norms”, and YET asserted that it would “remain part of russia” and would “never become part of Ukraine in the foreseeable future”.
Under a democratically elected government, “the wonderful russia of the future”, as Navalny liked to call post-putlin russia, would still keep Crimea despite the fact that the annexation was illegal. That is because their policies would have to reflect the will of the russian people and the overwhelming majority of russians wanted Crimea to be within russian borders.

Boris Nadezhdin is no better. He portrays himself as "anti war" but when it comes to Ukraine, he believes russia should be allowed to hold onto the territories currently under russian occupation.

As Volodymyr Vynnychenko, one of the central figures of the Ukrainian national liberation movement in 1917-1919, insightfully noted a century ago, “Russian democracy ends where the Ukrainian question begins”.

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John
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Kirrill and Putin are a deadly Axis. . . one, a darkly spiritual cleric, the other a totally sham Christian. Kirrill blesses and supports Putin's mass murder and does so most blasphemously in the name of Jesus Christ. In the 1980's he was an accredited KGB agent (Michailov) at the WCC. Together with 'unreconstructed KGB/Stasi man', Putin, I'd class them, not as Christians, but anti-christs. When innocents are burnt to death that is never the will of Jesus Christ but the proud and malicious will of another god entirely.

John
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@John, @real Joseph Swanson. So for example non-troll Joseph. as I was relating above this John I'm responding to is not me. So I typically post right after them just to let others know it was another John posting the above comment. In this case the other John is probably a legitimate Ukraine supporter as their info is both factual and not russia flattering.

Sometimes however a russian troll will also post as "John" and be unflattering or unsupportive in some MRGA way towards Ukraine ...thus an obvious russian / MRGA paid troll.

Hi new John. Where are you from? I'm in Canada.

John2
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Hi John, it escaped my attention that another was using our most unusual and rare name. I have decided to give you precedence and rename myself John2. . . unless I forget!
As regards my comments I am very serious and see the Christian pretensions of Kirrill/Putin as being their Achilles heel. I do see their blasphemous joint blessings of mass slaughter in the name of Jesus Christ as being demonic. The non-protests of the other ROC bishops and clerics is to their everlasting shame and infamy. Demonic? In the centre of Moscow is a ziggaraut. . . a Temple to Evil where the crumbling relics of one of history's mass murderers, Lenin, are.............venerated. If they were serious in their Christianity his remains would have long ago been slung on a garbage heap along with another of Putin's heroes the mass-murderer Stalin. Can you imagine the howls of protest if a monument to Hitler's ghastly memory was erected in Berlin? Yet he murdered less. Lenin remains in place at Putin's insistence!

John
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@John2, Welcome aboard. Right on all accounts. Religion often gets used as a mind control tool of people of weak independent thinking ability.

Seems to have worked brilliantly on MAGA's evangelical sheep, but then they were always a target of fleecing by God's wealthiest conmen (putinrump / Bannon <"We build the Wall" ministries>, Jim & Tammy Bakker, Oral Roberts, Robert Tilton, Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart, ...all charged with crimes). Also the wealth of some of the other current evangelical leaders is ungodly high and their lifestyles lavish from all the donations of their gullible followers.."Pass the tithe plate.....God needs me to have a new personal jet so I can spread his word in the Cayman Islands"....etc.

The leaders of all religious faiths supporting murderous 'holly wars' are always conmen of the worst ethics. In Kirill's case we are now witnessing acts beyond his $4 billion net worth greed, and the term you used; 'demonic' seems quite fitting. There are lots of horrid murder sanctioning quotes from that KGB agent and billionaire putin crony.

John2
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Hmm. Hi. .. Peace!
Unlike many atheists John, I do not believe I am communicating with a conglomeration of random molecules which has coincidentally coelesced, after billions of years, into a being named Canuck John.

John
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@John2, I think you have unfairly miscategorized me. What I am saying is I am just not a believer in the above listed, now criminally indicted, pyramid schemes that once claimed to be doing 'Gods work' when instead mostly padded their own pockets at the expense of their congregations. Admittedly I have been cajoled to attend a few retreats of some affluent but seemingly more honourable TV evangelists (like Benny Hinn, and David Mainse), but at this point I only stay local and it suits me fine.

Local congregations with ministers that believe and live what they teach are pretty safe bets, but as with any group they need to be wary of external false messiahs that try to leverage their group strength / assets for nefarious purposes. For example take that TV personality Peter Popoff selling holly water to solve purchaser's tax problems....absolutely absurd!

A good church / mosque / synagogue remains an important part of most communities and can channel lots of good samaritans towards good deeds.

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Imokru2
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If it hasn’t been done already, the remains of Navalny will be cremated or buried at sea in the Arctic Ocean.
Mother Russia will say that it was following the wishes of the family.

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John
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I wonder how many oppressed Russians would take the shot if given the chance. You know, that hypothetical, historically absent shot that would have stopped WWII's genocidal tyrant.



What are you going to do about Navalny's death, bereaved russians? 



- Follow in Alexei's peaceful protest path, and serve out your remaining short life in prison? 

- Vote for another compromised politician controlled by putin? 

- Run for office and be falsely disqualified like Boris Nadezhdin or Yekaterina Duntsova? 
- Do nothing and hope for different results?



What have you not tried?

Imokru2
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@John, Fighting. It’s not in the average Russian’s vodka addled brain.

I miss Jack Griffin like a Covid attack. How about you?

John
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@Imokru2, Well I had Covid last year and it was basically like a 2 day flu. Mind you I had 4 covid shots prior so I guess by the time my body caught it was like...meh. Everyone's experience seems to vary though...for some even the covid shot itself was problematic. My shot response reminded me of the old elementary school MMR shots that used to mark your arm as a target for one's playmates to whack. Kids are fun.

Do I miss troll Jack? Well like all MRGA trolls they do inspire me to keep trying to do some good for Ukraine.

I think I'm seeing troll "Maddy" and "Arklahomboy" showing up under different guise though. They always give me something to look up. I'm learning a lot so thats good. Jack has a few profusely inserted derogatory trademark terms....I've not seen these in a while.

Just because we are here to support Ukraine does not also mean we can't have some fun poking the trolls.

Joseph Swanson
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@John, four Covid shots? Well that explains why you are such a fucking imbecile. You must believe the “science” and the wet market story.

John
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Troll Jack Griffen now disguised as Joseph Swanson.

I'm doing just fine. Thanks for your concern.

Is it just the Covid vaccine you have an issue with or all vaccines? How do you feel about anti-bacterials? Any issue with insulin shots? Is aspirin also 'the devil' according to MRGA doctrine? Which medicines are your favourite's troll Jack?

Science has so many questions about MRGA trolls, but it appears they have so little remaining brain capita to respond in a reasoned manner. They really should be better studied in a secure research lab.....for prosterity's sake.

For example, what is it they are putting in the MRGA Kool-aid and will it cause sterility after long term consumption? 



Only time and science will tell.

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Jack Griffin
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@Imokru2, cock sucker. I’m here motherfucker, taking a rest from reading your stupid garbage. Now go fuck yourself.

John
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@Jack Griffin, ..... here's "Jack briben Giffen"...right on queue.

I

f jack can't sell the putin regimes message that 'putinrump' is the best thing for Ukraine, no one can.



You go "jack" ...Work those little chicken legs and arms. Get animated and verbally forceful with us non believers who think MRGA / MAGA and putinrump all have the same boss (you know... the evil bunker runt invading Ukraine).

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Guest
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Ik zal het nog een keer uitleggen: ik kreeg kritiek van de redactie over mijn tekst over het paard en de kozakkenruiter. Het gaat dus toch over Rusland en de ontwrichte democratie waarin Poetin een wig slaat tussen de wet en de regering. Waarin hij de kiezer belazert door zijn concurrentie tijdens de verkiezingen uit te schakelen of te vermoorden. Het idee dat een kandidaat 100.000 bewijzen moet verzamelen om geaccepteerd te worden is opzich al verachtelijk.

Het is nu een feit dat Poetin de macht heeft misbruikt. De geschiedenis probeert terug te draaien door in grote getale om zich heen mensen uit te schakelen en/of te laten verdwijnen. De tijd kan niet worden uitgewist. In onze herinneringen blijft Nalvany een held. Ik schrijf dit bericht ter nagedachtenis aan een man met een bijzondere gave, in memoriam. En blijf zijn boodschap door geven om hem te gedenken. In memoriam.

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