Risking Arrest, Russians Mourn Navalny in Small Acts of Protest

For the second day in a row, mourners walked purposefully along Moscow’s snow-heaped Garden Ring on Saturday carrying bouquets to lay at one of the improvised memorials to Aleksei A. Navalny, the Russian opposition figure who perished in a prison colony the day before.

The flowers, wrapped in paper to shield them from the icy wind, were not only a symbol of mourning. They also served as a form of protest in a country where even the mildest dissent can risk detention. And the people who laid bouquets at the Wall of Grief, a monument to the victims of political persecution during the Stalin era, shared the conviction that the Russian state was behind Mr. Navalny’s death.

“He didn’t die, he was killed,” said Alla, 75, a pensioner who declined togive her last name because of possible repercussions.

“Theoretically, we knew that they wanted to destroy him,” said her friend Elena, 77, whose arm was interlaced with Alla’s. “But when it happened it was such a shock, the senseless brutality of it, just senseless.” She found out what had happened when her daughter and granddaughter called her in tears to share the news.

Both women expressed pride that people were showing up to express their disagreement with the state, despite the sweeping crackdown on dissent since Russian President Vladimir V. Putin launched the full-scale invasion of Ukraine almost two years ago.

In Moscow, Russian police officers arrested a woman near the Wall of Grief, a monument to victims of political repression.Credit…Reuters

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