Team: Alexei Navalny should be exchanged for Tiergartenmurderer

Team: Alexei Navalny should be exchanged for Tiergartenmurderer

Shortly before Alexei Navalny’s death, according to his support team, there were negotiations with Moscow about a prisoner exchange. Meanwhile, his team wants to organize a public memorial service in Moscow.

According to his team, Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who died in a Russian prison camp, could have been exchanged for the “Tiergarten murderer” imprisoned in Germany. “Nawalny should be released in the next few days because we had reached a decision to replace him,” said the political director of the Navalny Anti-Corruption Fund, Maria Pevchich, on Monday in a video published on YouTube.

At the beginning of February, Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin was made an offer according to which the so-called “Tiergarten murderer” Vadim K., who was convicted in Germany in December 2021, could have been handed over to Russia – in exchange for Navalny and two Americans. Pewtschich did not say who exactly was involved in the development of these supposed exchange plans and how specific they were.

Wadim K. murdered exiled Chechens in Berlin’s Tiergarten

The federal government did not provide any further information in response to questions. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) said on the sidelines of a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, in response to a question from a journalist, that she was not commenting on the events – “like the entire federal government”. The deputy government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann in Berlin referred to earlier statements and said: “And I can’t answer that now other than that we can’t comment on it.” When asked, she said: “I can’t comment on that at the moment.”

Pevchich accused Putin of personally ordering Navalny’s killing. He did not want to release Navalny at any price. Pewtschich suspects that he realized that the West was ready to exchange Vadim K. and then decided to get rid of Navalny as an exchange object. “This is the absolutely illogical, irrational behavior of a crazy Mafiosi,” she said.

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Wadim K. murdered a Chechen exile in Berlin in 2019. K. is said to have committed the murder on behalf of Russian state authorities. There had been repeated speculation that Putin wanted to free him as part of a prisoner exchange. He most recently confirmed this in an interview with US talk show host Tucker Carlson.

Team wants to organize public memorial service for Alexei Navalny

The Kremlin critic’s team also wants to organize a public memorial service in Moscow this week. “We are looking for a hall for the public farewell to Alexei,” wrote his spokeswoman Kira Jarmysch on Monday on the X platform (formerly Twitter). The planned time is the end of the current working week, she added.

According to authorities, Navalny died on February 16 in the penal camp with the unofficial name “Arctic Wolf” in the Siberian Arctic region of Yamal. The circumstances of his death are not clear. The politician, weakened by the poison attack in 2020 and repeated solitary confinement in the camp, is said to have collapsed during a tour of the icy prison yard and died despite attempts to resuscitate him. According to Navalny’s team, the death certificate mentions “natural” causes. The politician was 47 years old at the time of death.

Authorities kept the body under wraps for more than a week. Mother Lyudmila Navalnaya called for a public funeral so that not only family members but also supporters could say goodbye to the Russian opposition leader. Navalnaya rejected a request from investigators to agree to a secret funeral and publicly accused the authorities of blackmail.

The Kremlin has denied that it exerted pressure on the matter. Nevertheless, it is unclear whether Navalny’s supporters will manage to organize such a memorial service. The authorities have already cracked down on expressions of condolence for President Vladimir Putin’s harshest critic. Hundreds of people were arrested in Russia while laying flowers for Navalny. A funeral service that could trigger major protests against Putin would likely be extremely inconvenient for the Kremlin leader ahead of the presidential election in mid-March.

Note: This article has been updated with additional information.

Source: Stern

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