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No venue booked for Navalny memorial service on March 1 as funeral companies refuse to deal with relatives, says associate Ivan Zhdanov

Ivan Zhdanov, director of Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF), has reported that no venue has been booked for Navalny’s memorial service on March 1. All the funeral agencies and venues contacted so far have refused to deal with the politician’s relatives.

The Insider quotes Zhdanov's translated post in full:

“The devils are out again with their abuse of Alexei, even when he's already gone. You [all] already know that we've been looking for a [venue] all these days.
Initially we planned the memorial service and funeral on February 29 — for a number of reasons it was the right day. And it quickly became clear that by February 29 there wasn't a single person who could dig a grave. They could [dig a grave] on March 1 and February 28, but it’s February 29 that seemed to be the problem. The real reason is clear. The Kremlin realizes that nobody will need Putin with his address on the day of Alexei's farewell.
We don't care about the address. Alexei needs to be buried. We started quickly looking for a church and a funeral hall for March 1. Everywhere they refused to give us anything. In some places we were told it was forbidden. We still found a large normal hall, though in [the Moscow district of] Novokosino, but the staff told us that it was free and we had to come to sign a contract.
Everything seemed to be working out. The wake [was planned for] the morning, the funeral service was meant for 2 p.m. in Maryino, and the burial was to take place at Borisovskoye cemetery at 4 p.m.
But the devils do not rest. The contract for the [funeral] hall was not signed. And as in Salekhard, the condition of ‘a quiet family funeral with a farewell at the Khovansky cemetery’ was again put forward. One and the same — just as they blackmailed his mother when Alexei's body was not handed over. The proposal with the Khovansky crematorium was brought personally by [journalist and radio host] Alexei Venediktov. So that you clearly understand who the Kremlin and [Moscow Mayor Sergei] Sobyanin have on their payroll.
So this means there will be no funeral hall. Bastards. They won't give us a date. They won't give a hall. Everyone will still say their goodbyes to Alexei.
The funeral will take place on March 1. There’ll be a funeral service at 2 p.m. in the church, and then burial at Borisovskoye cemetery. To have a chance to say goodbye, it is better to come in advance. This is how the memorial will be held.”

Alexei Venediktov denied giving Navalny's team a “proposal with the Khovansky crematorium.” He told the BBC Russian Service that Zhdanov wrote in an online “foreign agents” chatroom seeking help finding a hall for Navalny's memorial.

“I wrote to the mayor's office and told them: guys, why aren't you offering them a hall? Shame on you, and they sent me a letter that an offer had been made, addressed to Lyudmila Ivanovna [Navalnaya],” said Venediktov. “I simply showed that the cemetery's offer was such, there was no offer of mine, I am not an intermediary. He [Zhdanov] asked people to help find a hall. I received a document from the mayor's office. A letter to Lyudmila Ivanovna [Navalnaya] that they are making such an offer.”

Alexei Navalny's widow Yulia Navalnaya responded to the news in a tweet:

“Two people are to blame for the fact that we do not have a place for a civil memorial service and farewell to Alexei — Vladimir Putin and Sergei Sobyanin. The people in the Kremlin killed him, then they mocked Alexei’s body, then they mocked his mother, and now they mock his memory.
We don't want any special treatment — just give people the opportunity to say goodbye to Alexei normally. Just stay out of the way, please.”

Earlier today, Alexei Navalny's spokesperson Kira Yarmysh announced that the politician’s funeral will be held at Moscow’s Borisovsky cemetery on March 1.

“Alexei's funeral will be held in the church of the icon of the Mother of God in Maryino on March 1 at 14:00. Come in advance. The funeral will be held at Borisovskoye cemetery,” Yarmysh tweeted.

On February 24, Russian authorities handed over the body of the murdered opposition politician Alexei Navalny to his mother, Lyudmila Navanaya, ending a week-long standoff.

On February 22, Navalny’s spokesperson Kira Yarmysh confirmed that the medical death certificate, shown to Lyudmila Navalnaya, listed her son’s cause of death as “natural.”

Over 400 people were detained across Russia at vigils in Navalny's memory and while attempting to lay flowers at memorials to victims of political repression, as per the rights and legal aid group OVD-Info.

Alexei Venediktov

Alexei Alexeyevich Venediktov is a Russian journalist, former editor-in-chief, host and co-owner of the Echo of Moscow radio station (1998-2022), as well as publisher of Diletant history magazine. Venediktov has hosted shows and broadcasts on the Zhivoi Gvozd (lit. “The Living Nail” — a rhyming pun on the common term “Live Guest”), YouTube channel since Echo of Moscow was taken off the air by Russian authorities in 2022. Zhivoi Gvozd follows the late station's format and schedule.

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