Alexey Navalny’s funeral to be held in Moscow on Friday

Photo: Clemens Bilan / EPA-EFE

Photo: Clemens Bilan / EPA-EFE

The funeral of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny is to be held on Friday at 2pm in Moscow, his press secretary Kira Yarmysh announced on Wednesday.

“Alexey’s funeral will be held in the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God Quench My Sorrows in Maryino on 1 March at 14.00,” Yarmysh wrote, adding “Come in advance.”

The burial will take place at the Borisovsky cemetery, according to Yarmysh, a 30-minute walk away from the church.

The announcement follows Yarmysh saying on Tuesday that Navalny’s associates had been unable to find a venue for the funeral, saying she had been told that funeral homes in Moscow had been warned by the authorities against providing services for Navalny’s funeral.

In another post, Team Navalny said that it had been prevented from booking a venue on Friday morning for the visitation. It also confirmed that the initial plan had been to hold the funeral on Thursday, but that it quickly became clear that would be impossible due to Putin making his annual address to the Federal Assembly on the same day.

How much access law enforcement is likely to allow members of the public wanting to attend Friday’s service is now the question. The Kremlin has long feared that mass gatherings of opposition supporters could turn into a mass anti-government movement, but is equally wary of stoking public anger by preventing Navalny supporters from mourning altogether.

Since Navalny’s death on 16 February, his relatives and associates have consistently met with official obstruction, with his mother Lyudmila being forced to wait for days in the Arctic city of Salekhard before being permitted to see and take custody of her son’s body.

Vasily Dubkov, the Navalny lawyer who accompanied Lyudmila Navalnaya to Salekhard was detained in Moscow on Tuesday for “disrupting public order”, though he was later released.

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