RUSSIA: Do not forget Navalny: over 500,000 Russians watched the funeral online

They watched the funeral on YouTube as filmed clandestinely by Navalny’s associates and on the Dozhd TV channel.

By Dr Evgeniya Gidulianova and Willy Fautré

HRWF (14.03.2024) – In the afternoon of March 1, over half a million Russians viewed the funeral of Nalvany, the leader of the Russian opposition to Vladimir Putin, who was buried in Moscow under intense surveillance. This was two weeks after he died in mysterious circumstances in a colony in Harpa above the Arctic Circle.

About 250,000 people watched the ceremony on YouTube as clandestinely filmed by Navalny’s associates. Taking into account the broadcast of the Dozhd TV channel, more than half a million people watched the funeral.

Federal TV channels completely ignored the event. Russian media, operating under conditions of censorship, limited themselves to short news articles.

Farewell to Alexei Navalny on the funeral day and afterwards

Farewell to Navalny took place in a church in Moscow’s residential area of Maryino, and the funeral itself took place at the nearby Borisov cemetery. Thousands of people came to say goodbye to him, despite the warnings and threats of the authorities. The funeral was also attended by U.S. Ambassador Lynne Tracy, German Ambassador Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, and French Ambassador Pierre Levy.

Those wishing to say goodbye to Navalny came to the church despite the unequivocal warnings of the authorities. Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said that “there is a law that must be obeyed” and “any unsanctioned gatherings will be held in violation of the law, so those who participate in them will be held accountable.

In the evening before the funeral, metal barriers began to be brought to the nearest metro station, which subsequently cordoned off the territory near the church. Reinforced police patrols were posted at the Barysau cemetery, and CCTV cameras were hung on lamp posts. In Moscow universities, they were threatened with expulsion for participating in the farewell to Navalny.

The authorities severely restricted communications in Maryino. A so-called “shutdown” was recorded by IT specialist Mikhail Klimarev. According to him, the authorities transferred the work of communication towers in the area of the funeral to an “outdated standard”: “It seems to work (probably), but has a much lower capacity for simultaneous connections. As a result, you get the effect of network congestion and the Internet does not work,” he said. The consequence was that broadcasts from the scene worked with long interruptions. Still, photos and videos from the scene appeared in the media and social networks. It was clear from them that by two o’clock in the afternoon, thousands of people had gathered at the church, despite the threats of the authorities.

People staged a presidential-level funeral for Navalny, according to SVOBODA. The number of people who came to say goodbye was unprecedented and did not dry up for many days after the funeral. According to calculations of Meduza project, there were at least 16.5 thousand of them. People continued to go to the Barysau cemetery after the funeral. Both on Saturday and Sunday the queue to Navalny’s grave stretched for hundreds of meters. The queue moved quickly, the guards on duty at the grave asked people to quickly lay flowers and move on so as not to retain others. On Sunday afternoon, the wooden cross on the grave (usually about 1.7 meters high) was completely covered with flowers.

Resolution of the European Parliament

The European Parliament adopted the Resolution “On the murder of Alexei Navalny and the need for EU action in support of political prisoners and suppressed civil society in Russia”.

On February 29, in Strasbourg, 506 deputies voted for it, 9 voted against, 32 abstained.

The European Parliament strongly condemned the murder of Alexei Navalny and fully supported Yulia Navalnaya in her determination to continue his work. In the adopted resolution, they stress that full criminal and political responsibility for his death lies with the Russian state, and its President Vladimir Putin in particular, who must be held accountable.

The MPs said that the murder of Alexei Navalny is another sign of the growing and systematic repression in Russia and demanded an independent and transparent international investigation into his murder in order to uncover the truth, ensure accountability and ensure justice.

Russia’s political system is controlled, the resolution said, by a consolidated authoritarian regime with rampant corruption, which uses rigged elections as a semblance of democracy and concentrates all power in the hands of Vladimir Putin.

Photo: Russians queuing for Navalny’s funeral.