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Memorial service for Alexei Navalny to be held at the end of the week, says spokesperson

A public memorial service for Alexei Navalny, who was killed in the IK-3 penal colony in Russia’s Far North on February 16, is to be held at the end of the current working week, as per a statement from Navalny’s spokesperson Kira Yarmysh.

“We are looking for a hall for a public farewell to Alexei. The date: [at the] end of this working week. If you have a suitable venue, please contact us,” Yarmysh tweeted, followed by the contact details for Navalny’s team.

Earlier today, Maria Pevchikh, head of investigations at Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF), announced that the politician was killed in prison as his associates managed to negotiate his exchange for the FSB-linked “bicycle assassin” Vadim Krasikov.

Krasikov is currently serving a life sentence in Germany for the murder of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a former Chechen commander who fought against Russia in the Second Chechen and the Russo-Georgian war.

“At the beginning of February, Putin was offered to swap the FSB killer, Vadim Krasikov, who is serving time for murder in Berlin, for two American citizens and Alexei Navalny. I received confirmation that negotiations were at the final stage on the evening of February 15th. On February 16th, Alexei was killed,” Pevchikh said in a video on Navalny’s YouTube channel.

In an interview with former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson in early February, Vladimir Putin announced that Russia was open to swan jailed journalist Evan Gershkovich of The Wall Street Journal for Krasikov. According to Putin, the journalist, who is jailed in Russia on espionage charges, could be exchanged if there is a “reciprocal movement.” At the same time, Putin admitted that he is not sure whether Gershkovich is indeed a spy.

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.

State investigators repeatedly threatened Navalny's mother after his death. A day earlier, on February 23, they issued Navalnaya an ultimatum, giving her three hours to decide on a secret funeral without a public memorial service. If she didn't agree, they threatened to body Navalny's body at the IK-3 penal colony.

A similar threat was issued on February 22. In a video appeal, Lyudmila Navalnaya said officers from Russia's Investigative Committee threatened to bury Alexei in secret and then take her to his grave.

“[The] investigator Varapayev openly told me: ‘Time’s not on your side, the bodies are decomposing’” Navalnaya quoted one of the officers as saying.

The Insider identified the officer that made the threat as Alexander Vladimirovich Varapayev — a convicted criminal.

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.

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