Navalny funeral planned in Moscow today

WARSAW   -   Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s funeral service will be held at a church in southern Mos­cow today (Friday), allies of the politician said. Authori­ties finally handed Naval­ny’s body to his mother on Saturday, more than a week after he died in an Arctic prison, in what his allies said was an attempt to stall a public burial. “Alexei’s funeral will be held at the ‘Mother of God Quench My Sorrows’ church in Mary­ino on 1 March at 14:00 (1100 GMT). Come in ad­vance,” they said in a social media post on Wednesday. His burial will take place at the nearby Borisov cem­etery, they said. His team said it was difficult to find a church willing to host the service. “We started to look for a church and a hall for the 1st of March. Every­where they refused to give us anything. In some places we were told it was forbid­den,” said exiled ally Ivan Zhdanov. “We don’t care about the message. Alexei needs to be buried ... To have a chance to say good­bye, it is better to come in advance,” he added. Naval­ny, President Vladimir Pu­tin’s most vocal critic, died on February 16 in one of Russia’s toughest prisons in northern Siberia, where he was serving a 19-year sentence on charges widely seen as political retribution for his opposition.

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