Avatar photo

By Editorial staff


It’s a death wish to be Putin’s foe

Alexei Navalny, a prominent Russian critic of Putin, dies in prison, drawing comparisons to apartheid-era deaths.

This sounds like something from the files of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s unveiling of apartheid-era crimes: the prisoner “felt bad after a walk” but after “resuscitation measures” were carried out, “without positive results”, the prisoner was declared dead.

“The causes of death are being established.”

This wasn’t a Neil Aggett, Ahmed Timol or Steve Biko, this was Alexei Navalny, a 47-year-old Russian dissident and implacable foe of President Vladimir Putin, who was serving a 19-year term in an “Arctic prison colony”.

No doubt, there will be a thorough and diligent investigation by the Russian authorities, as there was in South Africa, after Biko died in police custody in 1977.

ALSO READ: Young Russians voice fear, disbelief over Navalny death

The presiding magistrate in the Steve Biko inquest found that “no act or omission involving an offence by any person” was responsible for his death.

Those who challenge Putin do not seem to have a long life expectancy, as Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin – leader of a brief mutiny against Moscow – may have found out in August last year when his jet was blown out of the sky.

One wonders if the Russian leader would admire SA’s then police minister, Jimmy Kruger, who said of Biko’s demise: “His death leaves me cold.”

Read more on these topics

Moscow Navalny Russia Steve Biko Vladimir Putin

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits