‘Brutally murdered’: World reacts to Alexey Navalny’s death in prison

Leaders say Putin critic ‘paid for his courage with his life’ and that they hold Russia responsible for his death.

Alexey Navalny
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny is seen on a screen via video link from the IK-2 corrective penal colony in Pokrov before a court hearing to consider an appeal against his prison sentence, in Moscow, Russia, on May 17, 2022 [Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters]

Imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died after collapsing and losing consciousness in the remote penal colony north of the Arctic Circle where he was serving a long sentence, the federal prison service said.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that Vladimir Putin has been briefed on the death of Navalny, a fierce critic of the Russian president.

Kira Yarmysh, a spokesperson for Navalny, said his lawyer was on the way to the IK-3 penal colony, located in Kharp, in the Yamalo-Nenets region.

Navalny aide Leonid Volkov said Russian authorities published “a confession that they killed” him in prison.

Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for the Russian foreign ministry, wrote on her Telegram channel that the West has already arrived at “conclusions” without forensic evidence.

She said the immediate reactions “in the form of direct accusations against Russia are self-revealing”.


President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Navalny was “obviously killed by Putin”.

Speaking from Berlin, where he was signing a security deal with Germany, he added that Putin does not care who dies as long as he maintains his position at the top.

United States

President Joe Biden said that he was “not surprised” but “outraged” at the news of Navalny’s death.

“He bravely stood up to the corruption, the violence and all the bad things the Putin government were doing,” Biden said. “Putin is responsible for Navalny’s death.”

A spokesperson later told reporters on Air Force One that the White House was calling for an investigation into Navalny’s death.

Vice President Kamala Harris, commenting at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, said Navalny’s death, if confirmed, would be “a further sign of Putin’s brutality”.

Speaking before Harris, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said reports of Navalny’s death underscore Russia’s “weakness and rot”.

“His death in a Russian prison and the fixation and fear of one man only underscores the weakness and rot at the heart of the system that Putin has built,” Blinken said on the sidelines of the conference in Munich. “Russia is responsible for this.”

European Union

European Council President Charles Michel said the Russian dissident “fought for the values of freedom and democracy” and made the ultimate sacrifice.

“The EU holds the Russian regime for sole responsible for this tragic death.”


The Canadian foreign minister Melanie Joly said that reports of Navalny “gave his freedom in the hopes of a better, more democratic future for the Russian people”.

“Reports of his death are a painful reminder of Putin’s continued oppressive regime,” Joly added.

Czech Republic

Jan Lipavsky, the minister of foreign affairs, wrote on X that Russia is treating its citizens like it treats its foreign policy.

“It has turned into a violent state that kills people who dream of a better future, like Nemtsov or now Navalny – imprisoned and tortured to death for standing up to Putin,” he said, referring to assassinated Putin critic Boris Nemtsov.


“Alexei Navalny paid with his life for his resistance to a system of oppression,” French foreign minister Stephane Sejourne said on X.

“His death at a penal colony reminds us of the reality of Vladimir Putin’s regime,” Sejourne said, expressing condolences to Navalny’s family and the Russian people.


Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Navalny paid for his courage with his life.

Scholz recalled occasions when he had spoken with Navalny about the “great courage” that prompted him to return to Russia after recovering in Berlin from a poisoning attack.

“He has now paid for this courage with his life,” said Scholz.


Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said in a statement that Navalny’s death was “disturbing”, and served as a warning to the rest of the world.

“We express our heartfelt condolences and hope that full clarity will be revealed over this disturbing event,” she added.


Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics said in a post on X: “Whatever your thoughts about Alexey Navalny as the politician, he was just brutally murdered by the Kremlin.”


Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he was “deeply saddened and disturbed” by the reports of Navalny’s death.

“We need to establish all the facts, and Russia needs to answer all the serious questions about the circumstances of his death.”


“The Russian Government bears a heavy responsibility,” wrote Espen Barth Eide, the foreign minister of Norway, on X, adding that he was saddened by the news of Navalny’s death in prison.


Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has pledged to “never forgive” those responsible for Navalny’s death in prison. “Alexei, we will never forget you. And we will never forgive them,” Tusk said on X.


Swedish foreign minister Tobias Billstrom said if the “dreadful news” about Navalny is true then it “represents another terrible crime by Putin’s regime”.

“The ruthlessness against Navalny shows again why it is necessary to continue to fight against authoritarianism.”

United Kingdom

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “This is terrible news. As the fiercest advocate for Russian democracy, Alexei Navalny demonstrated incredible courage throughout his life.

“My thoughts are with his wife and the people of Russia, for whom this is a huge tragedy.”

Nobel winner Dmitry Muratov

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dmitry Muratov told the Reuters news agency that Navalny’s death constituted “murder”.

The editor-in-chief of Russia’s most famous independent newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, said he believes prison conditions led to his demise.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies