Putin’s iron rule in doubt as mountain of flowers pile up for ‘murdered’ political rival | World | News

Defiant mourners for “murdered” Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny have queued in lines stretching around the block in Moscow to lay tributes on a mountain of flowers at his grave.

In scenes that could worry the Kremlin, the people were openly showing their love for Mr Navalny who was the country’s most well-known political rival to President Putin.

Photographs from today show a huge stack of flowers now taller than a person at the site of his memorial.

Putin’s forces have brutally put down any resistance to his war in Ukraine and anyone protesting against his regime, but the security services seemed light on the ground today (Sunday).

It was in stark contrast to Mr Navalny’s funeral on Friday which was overseen by a heavy police guard after his still-unexplained death two weeks ago in an Arctic penal colony.

During the service, crowds massed outside a church and cemetery in a snowy southeastern suburb of the capital and chanted slogans in support of Mr Navalny and against Russian President Vladimir Putin and the war in Ukraine.

As his coffin was removed from the hearse and taken inside the church, the crowd waiting outside broke into respectful applause and then chanted: “Navalny! Navalny!” Some also shouted, “You weren’t afraid, neither are we!” and later “No to war!” “Russia without Putin!” and “Russia will be free!”.

Yesterday (Saturday) Navalny’s widow, Yulia, and his mother left their own tributes at his grave. Yulia vowed to continue her husband’s work, and lovingly thanked him for “26 years of absolute happiness.”

Supporters of Mr Navalny have claimed he was killed by Russian authorities on the direct orders of Putin.

The heads of the Arctic penal colony where Russian opposition figure Mr Navalny was “detained and killed” will be banned from the UK and see their assets frozen under new sanctions announced by Lord David Cameron.

Britain is the first country to impose measures in response to the politician’s death, which has been widely blamed on the Kremlin by western countries, the Foreign Office said.

Speaking about the politician’s death Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron said: “It’s clear that the Russian authorities saw Navalny as a threat and they tried repeatedly to silence him.

“FSB operatives poisoned him with Novichok in 2020, they imprisoned him for peaceful political activities, and they sent him to an Arctic penal colony. No-one should doubt the oppressive nature of the Russian system.

“That’s why we’re today sanctioning the most senior prison officials responsible for his custody in the penal colony where he spent his final months.

“Those responsible for Navalny’s brutal treatment should be under no illusion – we will hold them accountable.”

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