Amid Threats and blackmailing Human Rights Situation in Russia Worsens

Amid Threats and blackmailing Human Rights Situation in Russia Worsens
Nikita Pishchugin. Unsplash 2024.


Innocenti Chiara

Human Rights and Europe Researcher,

Global Human Rights Defence

Fifteen days into Alexei Navalny’s death in the Arctic “polar wolf” colony, the Kremlin seems not to give up on Navalny’s case, making no compromise on a public funeral attainable. On Wednesday, after the widow Yulia Navalnaya announced that the memorial service would be held on March 1st at the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God in Moscow, hearse drivers have been reported to be threatened by strangers not to take Navalny’s body anywhere. The news came after Russian authorities reportedly blackmailed the mother Lyudmila Navalnaya as to how, when, and where to commemorate her son. In her telling, in fact, the Kremlin initially affirmed that it would return Navalny’s body just on condition that his burial was held secret. 

After that though, the Kremlin accepted to grant Navalny’s remains to his family, the Russian opposition leader’s associates recounted reaching out to funeral agencies for a full day before realising that no one would bow to the request for a public farewell. Several venues allegedly stopped the conversation once they heard Navalny’s name mentioned, others claimed not to have any vacant halls available for the booking, and one blatantly admitted being forbidden to work with Navalny’s entourage.

All these occurrences unfolded after Putin critic’s lawyer Vasily Dobkov was reported to be briefly held in jail on the charge of “violating public order” and while hopes for an independent investigation to be handed to other countries got lost. The crackdown against human rights and fundamental freedoms in the Russian Federation is now raising more and more concerns, to the point that, on February 28th, the whole deal was deplored by the UN Secretary-General during a meeting with Yulia Navalnaya. According to Marija Pejčinović Burić, Mr. Navalny’s demise can only be examined in light of the gross violations he suffered throughout his life, as in addition to the 2020 uninvestigated poisoning attempt, there is evidence of later unjust imprisonment and degrading and inhumane treatment. For the courage Mr. Navalny demonstrated in acting as the major Putin critic and standing for a democratic Russia in such a draconian political system, the US Secretary-General deemed it appropriate to conclude the meeting praising his work.

Sources and further reading

Dixon, R. (February 24, 2024). “Russian authorities hand Navalny’s body to mother for burial”. The Washington Post. Retrieved February 24, 2024, from 

Gigova, R. (March 1, 2024). “Hearse drivers refuse to take Navalny’s body to Moscow funeral, Putin critic’s team say”. The CNN. Retrieved March 1, 2024, from

Gray, A. (February 20, 2024). “EU summons Russian envoy, demands independent investigation into Navalny's death”. The Reuteurs. Retrieved February 28, 2024 from

Sauer, P. (February 24, 2024). “Alexei Navalny’s body given to mother by Russian authorities”. The Guardian. Retrieved February 27, 2024 from

Vock, I. (February 28, 2024). “Alexei Navalny: Opposition leader’s lawyer briefly held in Moscow – reports”. The BBC. Retrieved February 28, 2024 from

The Aljazeera. (February 28, 2024). “Funeral of Kremlin critic Navalny to be held in Moscow on Friday”. Retrieved March 1, 2024 from

The Council of Europe. (February 28, 2024). “Secretary General meets Yulia Navalnaya”. Retrieved February 2, 2024 from

Radio Free Europe – Radio Liberty. (February 27, 2024). “Navalny associates face problems Finding Locations to Bid Farewell to Kremlin Critic”.  Retrieved February 27, 2024 from