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Alexei Navalny, Russian Opposition Leader and Subject of Oscar-Winning Documentary, Reported Dead at 47 by Prison Service

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Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition leader and subject of the Oscar-winning 2022 documentary “Navalny,” died in jail on Friday, according to Russia’s state prison service. He was 47.

The Associated Press reported that Russia’s Federal Prison Service said in a statement that Navalny “felt unwell after a walk on Friday and lost consciousness.” Emergency services arrived and tried to revive him, but he had died.

Navalny’s spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh, said on X (formerly known as Twitter) that she had not received confirmation of his death yet. “Alexey’s lawyer is currently on his way to Kharp,” she wrote. “As soon as we have some information, we will report on it.”

Considered one of Putin’s harshest critics, Navalny was moved late last year to an Arctic penal colony, one of Russia’s toughest jails. He was serving a 19-year sentence on charges of extremism.

Navalny had been imprisoned since January 2021, when he returned to Russia after recovering from nerve agent poisoning in Germany. He had accused Putin of the poisoning, and was immediately detained upon his return. Throughout his career, Navalny organized mass anti-Kremlin protests and ran for office to try and enact reforms against corruption in the government.

Navalny’s poisoning was the topic of Daniel Roher’s 2022 documentary “Navalny,” which began filming after he came out of a coma and continued until his January 2021 arrest. The film premiered at Sundance Film Festival, where it won the audience award, and went on to win the Oscar for best documentary feature.

Navalny is survived by his wife, Yulia Navalnaya, his daughter Dasha and son Zakhar.