Senior figures from Moscow took over local response to Navalny’s death, source says

Teams from both Russia’s Investigative Committee and the country’s Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) travelled from Moscow to the Arctic city of Salekhard following the death of Alexey Navalny on Friday, Novaya Gazeta Europe has learnt from a regional FSIN employee.

Navalny’s relatives and lawyers have still not been told the whereabouts of the murdered Russian opposition politician’s body, though Novaya Europe learnt earlier on Sunday that it had been taken to the Salekhard District Clinical Hospital on Friday evening.

“Frankly speaking, many of us breathed a sigh of relief when we learnt that the federal Investigative Committee had arrived," a source who spoke on condition of anonymity told Novaya Europe. “Now the whole story of Navalny’s body, the expert examinations, the determination of the cause of death and the fate of the remains rests on the shoulders of these investigators.”

The same source said that the main question for the regional authorities now is who will “be the fall guy” for Navalny’s death, with the two most likely candidates thought to be the warden of the IK-3 penal colony Colonel Vadim Kalinin, and the regional head of FSIN, Igor Rakitin.

The delegation from Moscow reportedly called a meeting of local officials, at which one senior figure reportedly accused them of having “forgotten how to work”.

The same official also apparently demanded to know how an inmate at a special regime penal colony could have spoken freely on the phone with a “foreign journalist”, apparently a reference to Novaya Gazeta Europe’s earlier story about events at the penal colony in the run-up to Navalny’s death.

Communication with prisoners serving sentences in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District would be severely restricted for the time being, the source added. Inmates at the penal colony were also being warned of the “very negative consequences" they could face for asking about or discussing the circumstances around Navalny’s death, another source said.

Editor in chief — Kirill Martynov. Terms of use. Privacy policy.