Feb 19, 2024 - World

Alexei Navalny's widow says she will continue his Russian opposition work

Yulia Navalnaya stands at a lectern with a serious expression

Yulia Navalnaya attends the Munich Security Conference on the day Alexei Navalny's death was announced. Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Getty Images

Alexei Navalny's widow said she will continue the Russian opposition leader's work to bring democracy to Russia.

The big picture: Navalny, 47, died after being imprisoned after exposing corruption in Vladimir Putin's inner circle and forming the most effective political movement against Putin.

  • "I am going to continue the work of Aleksei Navalny and continue to fight for our country," Yulia Navalnaya said in a nearly 9-minute long video, per a translation by the New York Times.
  • "I call on you to stand beside me, to share not only in the grief and endless pain that has enveloped us and won't let go. I ask you to share my rage — to share my rage, anger and hatred of those who have dared to kill our future."

Between the lines: Navalnaya had previously declined suggestions that she should enter politics.

  • "In killing Alexei, Putin killed half of me, half of my heart and half of my soul," she said in the video per the NYT. "But I have another half left and it is telling me I have no right to give up."
  • In the video, Navalnaya also accused Putin of killing her husband, saying, "Putin took away the most precious thing that was my closest and most beloved person," per CNN.
  • She also claimed that Russian authorities were hiding Navalny's body until the Novichoks poison they used to kill him couldn't be detected. Navalny was previously poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent in August 2020.
  • Navalnaya gave no evidence to support the claim that Navalny was poisoned in the penal colony where he died.

Context: Navalny was held in Russia's penal system for more than 35 months. He was seen days before his death in a video joking and laughing with a Russian judge.

  • Russian authorities claimed Navalny lost consciousness and died while walking in an Arctic penal colony.
  • His death came weeks before the country's 2024 presidential election.
  • Russian authorities detained at least 387 people in 39 cities at vigils for Navalny over the weekend.

Go deeper: How Navalny became Putin's biggest political foe

Go deeper