Ramishvili and his Nordic colleagues all summoned over Navalny death

By Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer - February 21, 2024
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Russian Ambassador to Oslo, Teymuraz Otarovich Ramishvili. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

The killing of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, who died in a Siberian prison camp last week, triggers strong diplomatic reactions.

“It is Russian authorities who bear the full responsibility for his tragic death,” says Espen Barth Eide, Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Foreign Ministry in Oslo on Monday said it has summoned Teimuraz Ramishvili, Moscow’s ambassador to Norway since 2016, over the death of Russia’s most prominent political prisoner.

“Aleksei Navalny will be remembered for his courageous, fearless and relentless fight against corruption and abuse of power. Through his anti-corruption fund, he built up an impressive network and gave voice to the many who have felt the injustice of the Russian regime,” Barth Eide said.

“He himself has now suffered the greatest injustice. Our thoughts go to his family and left-behind,” Barth Eide added.

Ambassador Teimuraz Ramishvili will be told to inform Moscow about Norway’s request for Russia to facilitate for a transparent investigation.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billström said that in addition to summoning the Russian ambassador, his government has taken the initiative for the EU to investigate the possibility of introducing new sanctions targeting those responsible for the internal repression in Russia.

“The EU must take action against the political oppression in Russia. This is particularly important given the fact that on 16 February, Alexei Navalny died in Russian captivity,” Billström said.

The Council of the European Union points the responsibility for Navalny’s death directly to Vladimir Putin.

“… the ultimate responsibility lies with President Putin and the Russian authorities,” a statement by the Council published on Monday reads.

“Russia must allow an independent and transparent international investigation into circumstances of his sudden death. The EU will spare no efforts to hold Russia’s political leadership and authorities to account, in close coordination with our partners; and impose further costs for their actions, including through sanctions.”

In Helsinki, the Russian Ambassador was summoned on Monday and got a clear message:

“The Finnish MFA today summoned the Russian Ambassador regarding the death of Alexey Navalny, to emphasize that Russia is responsible and to demand a full and transparent investigation.

Finland underlined that Navalny is not the only opposition activist in jail. “We continue to call for the release of all political prisoners in Russia,” a statement by the Foreign Ministry said.

 

Finland’s ambassador to Moscow, Antti Helanterä, honored the memory of Aleksei Navalny by laying flowers on the Solovetsky stone, the memorial site for the victims of the persecutions in front of FSB Headquarters Lubyanka. Photo: Finland’s Embassy in Moscow

“Unacceptable”

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the West’s reactions to the death of Aleksei Navalny will not harm Putin.

“We consider it absolutely unacceptable to make such, well frankly obnoxious statements,” Peskov said.

 

Swedish ambassador to Russia Karin Olofsdotter laying down flowers today in honor of Alexei Navalny by the Solovetsky stone in the Russian capital. Photo: Swedish Embassy in Moscow

A representative of the Norwegian Embassy lays flowers at the Solovetsky stone in memory of Aleksei Navalny. Photo: Norwegian Embassy in Moscow

Located in Kirkenes, Norway, just a few kilometres from the borders to Russia and Finland, the Barents Observer is dedicated to cross-border journalism in Scandinavia, Russia and the wider Arctic.

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