Farewell to Navalny Draws Kilometer-Long Queue

Written by Henrik Rothen

Mar.01 - 2024 3:00 PM CET

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Photo: Jonas Petrovas / Shutterstock.com
Photo: Jonas Petrovas / Shutterstock.com
Farewell to Navalny Draws Kilometer-Long Queue.

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The passing of Alexei Navalny, a prominent opposition politician who died in a colony above the Arctic Circle on January 16, has sparked a massive outpouring of grief. A queue of mourners extended for a kilometer, as reported by Kommersant journalist Alexander Chernykh according to Moscow Times.

Gathering of Thousands

Mourners began assembling two hours before the scheduled funeral service at the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God “Quench My Sorrows” in Maryino, southeast of Moscow. By the arrival of Navalny’s body, the crowd had swelled to several thousand, including notable figures like Yevgeny Roizman, Boris Nadezhdin, and Ekaterina Duntsova, as well as diplomatic representatives from France, Germany, and the United States.

Security Measures at Borisov Cemetery

The Borisov Cemetery, designated for the funeral, was closed to the public, with the area cordoned off and under surveillance. Special service representatives, in civilian attire and equipped with special gear, were visible at the site.

Kremlin's Stance

The Kremlin, through Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov, stated it had no message for Navalny’s relatives and warned that any unauthorized gatherings during the funeral would be considered legal violations. Additionally, local schools near the church were instructed to retain students until 15:15 Moscow time to "ensure safety."

Surveillance and Communication Jamming

Security forces installed high-resolution cameras near the church and deployed mobile internet jammers, causing connectivity issues in the Maryino area. The move to outdated 3G|UMTS technology led to network failures due to limited simultaneous connections.

Law enforcement was reported to be checking documents of individuals carrying flowers near metro stations. Observers also noted unidentified individuals monitoring the area from nearby rooftops.

Navalny's Death

On February 16, the Federal Penitentiary Service for the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug announced Navalny's death, stating that he fell ill and lost consciousness during a walk. Despite efforts to revive him, his life could not be saved.

The extensive security measures, surveillance, and the significant turnout at the funeral service underscore the impact of Navalny's death and the government's cautious approach to public gatherings and expressions of mourning.

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