Muted, Not Mute

Listen to Today's Edition
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Authorities in Russia detained more than 400 people who participated in memorial gatherings across the country over the weekend, following the death of opposition leader Alexey Navalny in prison, the New York Times reported.

Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition figure and critic of President Vladimir Putin, died Friday while he was serving a prison sentence at an Arctic penal colony. Prison officials said he felt suddenly unwell during a walk and collapsed, and that the cause was “being determined.”

A lawyer for Navalny said more on cause of death is expected to be released next week.

Following Navalny’s death, hundreds of Russians across the country gathered at makeshift memorials, laying flowers and also protest signs condemning the government.

In Moscow, mourners laid bouquets at the Wall of Grief, a monument for the victims of political persecution during the iron-fisted rule of Soviet leader Josef Stalin, who was responsible for millions of deaths.

The memorials took place under heavy police presence, with some mourners risking jail time to participate. Authorities arrested one Orthodox priest in St. Petersburg after he announced he would hold a memorial service for Navalny, the Financial Times wrote.

Meanwhile, videos circulating on social media showed masked men removing flowers from the memorials.

Observers said the vigils – and detentions – are an example of muted protests against Putin’s regime, while underscoring the latter’s effectiveness in curbing dissent.

Anti-government protests have been effectively banned in Russia after authorities launched a crackdown on dissent following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Even so, demonstrations and vigils took place outside Russia’s borders, across Europe and also in neighboring Georgia where many Russians fled following the start of the war. Western leaders also condemned his death, with US President Joe Biden accusing “Putin and his thugs” of being responsible for Navalny’s death.

Tatian Stanovaya of the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center told the Financial Times that Navalny’s impact and influence will not disappear with his death, and that “this is going to be a problem for the authorities.”

Navalny’s death comes as Russia prepares for elections next month – a vote analysts say will end in another extension of Putin’s 24-year rule, according to the Associated Press.

Not already a subscriber?

If you would like to receive DailyChatter directly to your inbox each morning, subscribe below with a free two-week trial.

Subscribe today

Support journalism that’s independent, non-partisan, and fair.

If you are a student or faculty with a valid school email, you can sign up for a FREE student subscription or faculty subscription.

Questions? Write to us at

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.

Copy link