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A Russian official guards a memorial site for Navalny in Saint Petersburg: conditions imposed

Photo: Dmitri Lovetsky / dpa

In the Russian Orthodox faith, it is actually customary to bury the dead after three days.

But Russian authorities withheld the body of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny for more than a week.

They also initially wanted to prevent the opposition member's relatives from attending a funeral.

Now Navalny's spokeswoman Kira Jarmysch has announced a date for a public funeral.

Accordingly, the funeral service will take place this Friday at 2 p.m. local time in the Church of the Mother of God Icon “Relieve My Suffering” in the Moscow suburb of Marino.

Navalny used to live in the neighborhood.

Navalny will then be buried at the Borisovskoye Cemetery, Yarmysch announced on X.

Dispute over funeral

It was not a given for a long time that Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin's opponent would receive a public memorial service.

Russian authorities had initially given the deceased's mother conditions as to where and under what circumstances the Kremlin critic could be buried.

Navalny was considered Putin's harshest critic and had been in prison for a good three years.

According to Russian authorities, Navalny, who was physically weakened after many days in repeated solitary confinement, collapsed in freezing temperatures in mid-February while walking in the courtyard of his Siberian prison camp.

According to the prison service, attempts at resuscitation were unsuccessful.

According to Navalny's supporters, there had been negotiations about a prisoner exchange for the Russian murderer Vadim Krasikov, who was convicted in Berlin, before his death.

The federal government has not yet commented on this.

In the summer of 2020, Navalny was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok.

He was flown to Germany and barely survived.

Researchers from the investigative platforms Bellingcat and The Insider and SPIEGEL managed to identify a commando of the Russian domestic secret service FSB that allegedly carried out the attack.

When he returned to Russia in January 2021, he was arrested at the airport in Moscow.