400+ Detained As Country Mourns Death Of Alexey Navalny

According to a prominent human rights group, more than 400 mourners were detained in Russia for paying tribute to opposition leader Alexey Navalny, who died in a jail far away in the Arctic.

Many Russians saw Navalny, a prominent opponent of President Vladimir Putin, as a lynchpin of their future hopes and dreams; his untimely death at 47 was a terrible shock.

Although Navalny survived a nerve agent poisoning and was sentenced to many terms in jail, he persisted in publicly criticizing the Kremlin.

As word got out throughout the globe, people in different places across Russia began to spontaneously congregate at monuments and memorials honoring those who had died as a result of political persecution. On Friday and Saturday, they respected the lawmaker by bringing candles and flowers. The OVD-Info rights organization, which provides legal aid and tracks political arrests, stated on Saturday night that police had arrested 401 people in over a dozen locations.

St. Petersburg is the second-largest city in Russia, and the organization claims that over 200 persons were arrested there. Grigory Mikhnov-Voitenko, a priest of the Apostolic Orthodox Church—a sect distinct from the Russian Orthodox Church—was one of the people taken into custody. On Saturday morning, authorities apprehended him near his home after he announced on social media his plans to hold a memorial ceremony for Navalny. His alleged role in organizing a demonstration landed him in the hospital after a stint in a police station, as reported by OVD-Info.

On Saturday, court authorities in St. Petersburg said that 42 persons arrested on Friday had been sentenced to fines and nine to prison sentences ranging from one to six days. According to OVD-Info, six people were given 15 days in prison in Moscow. The organization claims that two individuals were detained in Bryansk, and one was incarcerated in Krasnodar, a city in the southern region of Russia.

Russian prison colony inmate Navalny reportedly lost consciousness after being unwell following a stroll on Friday at the Kharp facility, which is situated in the Yamalo-Nenets area some 1,200 miles northeast of Moscow. He was pronounced dead upon arrival of the ambulance, according to the agency, who also noted that the cause of death is still being investigated.