Live Updates: Aleksei Navalny Is Dead, Russian Authorities Say


Peter Baker

Yulia Navalnaya with her husband, Alexei Navalny, at a rally in Moscow in 2013.Credit…Evgeny Feldman/Associated Press

Reports of Aleksei A. Navalny’s death came as his wife, Yulia Navalnaya, was at a prominent security conference in Munich, meeting with European and American leaders in an effort to draw attention to her husband’s case and Russia’s clampdown on dissent.

Ms. Navalnaya and Leonid Volkov, her husband’s longtime chief of staff, were attending the Munich Security Conference, where Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and leaders from around Europe were gathering to discuss the war in Ukraine and other threats — many emanating from Moscow and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

Ms. Navalnaya could not immediately be reached for comment.

The news of Mr. Navalny’s death shocked many at the conference and could add new urgency to the discussion.

Ms. Harris said at the start of her address to the conference — which had already been expected to focus on Russia — that the United States was still trying to confirm the reports of Mr. Navalny’s death, but that it held Russia’s government responsible. “If confirmed, this would be a further sign of Putin’s brutality,” she said. “Whatever story they tell, let us be clear Russia is responsible and we’ll have more to say on this later.”

Mr. Blinken, before a meeting with Indian officials, told reporters: “If these reports are accurate, our hearts go out to his wife and his family. Beyond that, his death in a Russian prison and the fixation and fear of one man only underscores the weakness and rot at the heart of the system that Putin has built.”

President Biden had warned Mr. Putin not to harm Mr. Navalny while in prison. “I made it clear to him that I believe the consequences of that would be devastating for Russia,” Mr. Biden told reporters after meeting with Mr. Putin in Geneva in 2021.

“What do you think happens when he’s saying it’s not about hurting Navalny, all the stuff he says to rationalize the treatment of Navalny, and then he dies in prison?” Mr. Biden continued. “It’s about trust. It’s about their ability to influence other nations in a positive way.”

Ms. Navalnaya has been a respected surrogate for her husband in settings like Munich.

“I saw Yulia Navalnaya and Leonid Volkov last night here in Munich,” said Michael McFaul, a former American ambassador to Moscow. “They had come to this conference to meet with world leaders and remind them of Aleksei and the horrific conditions he was enduring in a special prison cell designed just to torture him.”

Edward Wong contributed reporting.

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