“Navalny was supposed to be free soon,” his team says on the prisoner swap that was being planned shortly before his death.

By admin - February 26, 2024 The Independent Barents Observer
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“In early February Putin was offered to swap the FSB killer Vadim Krasikov who is serving time for a murder in Berlin, for two American citizens and Aleksei Navalny,” – says Maria Pevchikh, the chairwoman of the board of directors of the Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation in the video statement posted today, February 26, 2024.

“I received confirmation that the negotiations were at the final stage on the evening of February 15th. On February 16th Aleksei was killed…” she said. 

Pevchikh continued that she wants the audience to know the answer to the question – “Why was Navalny killed now?” 

“Putin was clearly told that the only way to get Krasikov is to exchange him for Navalny”, Pevchikh says, -“Hold on”, thought Putin. “I can’t tolerate Navalny being free”. And since they are willing to exchange Krasikov on principle, then I just need to get rid of the bargaining chip. Then offer someone else when the time comes”, Pevchikh concludes. 

According to the video statement, the negotiations to swap Navalny have been going on for two years and involved multiple Western politicians and activists, as well as Russian officials and business people, such as Roman Abramovich. 

Earlier in the interview with Tucker Carlson, President Putin suggested a deal can be reached to release jailed The Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich as part of a prisoner swap.

“We have certain conditions that are being discussed through channels between special services,” Putin told Carlson. “I believe an agreement can be reached.”. 

 

After Maria Pevchikh’s statement, several European and US media published articles citing anonymous sources among Western officials familiar with the negotiations. For example, The New York Times quotes a source, who confirmed “early discussions” on the possibility of freeing Mr. Navalny through such a swap had been underway. The official “pushed back” on the statement that the talks had been in their “final stages”.

On Friday, February 16, 2024, Russian prison services reported that the Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny died in the remote Arctic prison camp of Kharp.

According to prison services in the far northern Yamal-Nenets region, Navalny started to feel bad after a walk in the prison yard. He fell unconscious and was provided medical aid, the Russian authority informs.

People all over the world, including Kirkenes, Arctic Norway, mourn the death of Alexei Navalny and are laying flowers in his memory. 

After days of struggle, Aleksei Navalny’s body has finally been handed over to his mother and the family is still to decide where and when the funeral of the Kremlin critic will take place.

*The article was updated on February 27 at 11:06 to add information about publications in the European and US media.