Navalny's widow vowed to advance the opposition leader's work

Alexey A. Navalny's widow said Monday that she would carry on her husband's mission to bring about a democratic and free Russia, presenting herself as a political force for the first time and calling on her followers to rally with her.

Mr. Jail was announced by Russian authorities on Friday. Navalny's sudden death left a vacuum in Russia's opposition. His supporters wondered if his wife, Yulia Navalnaya – who had long shunned the spotlight – would step in to fill the void.

A The video was released on Monday, Ms. Navalnaya, 47, signaled that she would. She appeared on her late husband's YouTube channel for the first time and told his followers that the most important thing they could do to honor his legacy was to “fight harder and more furiously than ever.”

“I am going to continue the work of Alexei Navalny and continue to fight for our country,” Ms Navalnaya said. “I invite you not only to share in the sorrow and endless pain that surrounds us, but to stand by me, not to leave me. I ask you to share my anger, rage and disgust with those who dare to kill our future.

The nearly nine-minute video shows President Vladimir V. Designed to introduce a new leader of the anti-Putin pro-democracy movement. It comes at a time when opponents of the Kremlin's strongman, who have tried to unite, are more frustrated than ever.

Ms Navalnaya has often pushed back against suggestions to enter politics. says Germany's Der Spiegel magazine said last year that “I don't think it's an idea I want to play with.”

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On Monday, she put on a different face in trying to rally her husband's supporters.

“I know there is no more to do, but we must join together in a strong fist and attack Putin, his cronies and thugs in his uniform, these thieves and murderers in this maniacal regime, who have crippled our country,” he said.

Mr. The cause of Navalny's death has not been established, and its circumstances have raised suspicions. President Biden blamed Mr Putin personally, saying: “Make no mistake: Mr Putin is responsible for Mr Navalny's death”.

Mrs Navalnaya echoed that sentiment in her video on Monday, shared by many of her husband's supporters.

“In killing Alexei, Putin killed half of me, half of my heart and half of my soul,” Mr. said Navalny's widow, Ms Navalnaya. “But I still have half, and it says I have no right to give up.”

Mr. His upbeat news came as Navalny's aides said. Mr. Navalny's spokeswoman, Kira Yarmish, said Authorities told his mother that the investigation into his death had been “extended” for an indefinite period – and prevented her from viewing her son's body.

Mr. “One of the lawyers was literally pushed out” of the morgue in the Arctic where Navalny's body is believed to be, Ms Yarmish said. A position On social media platform X. He added Another post“They lie, buy time for themselves, and don't even hide it.”

Russian investigators Mr. They opened an investigation into the causes of Navalny's death shortly after it was reported, allowing the body to be kept longer than usual.

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Mr. Ivan Zhdanov, head of Navalny's anti-corruption foundation, said the delay indicated Russian authorities were “cleaning up the traces of their crime”.

“They are waiting for the wave of hatred and rage against them to subside,” said Mr. Zhdanov said. A position On the messaging app Telegram.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry S. Peskov, on Monday, rejected any suggestion of impropriety, saying Mr. He said the investigation into Navalny's death was continuing “in accordance with Russian law”.

There are more than 50,000 Signed Mr. A petition to Russian investigators demanding the release of Navalny's body is a campaign launched by the Russia-based human rights group OVD-Info.

Mourners brought flowers to makeshift memorials across Russia and Mr. The tribute to Navalny, along with the mourning act, served as a form of protest in a country where even mild dissent is under detention.

Mr. Russian officials tried to play down the level of public grief over Navalny's death. Flowers were quickly removed from monuments and police detained hundreds of people.

Anton Troyanovsky Contributed report.

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