By Athena Papakosta

As long as Yulia Navalnaya still asking the Kremlin to return Alexei Navalny’s body to his family ‘for a dignified burial’, Moscow issues an arrest warrant for his brother, Olegincreasing the pressure on relatives and supporters of the man who has been the Kremlin’s fiercest critic.

It remains unknown on the basis of which article of the Criminal Code this new criminal case was opened concerning Navalny’s brother, who in 2014 was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for fraud and from 2022 was put on the wanted list on the grounds of violating the terms of house arrest imposed on him for participating in an anti-government demonstration.

At the same time, the Kremlin insists on talking about “baseless accusations”, which are “not confirmed”, rejecting Navalny’s claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin killed her husband, with her saying that she is not interested in the comments “of the press office of the murderers”.

The mother of the dead Russian dissident Navalny, Ludmila, in a video message called on the Russian president to hand over her son’s body to her. “Solving this issue is up to you alone. Let me finally see my son,” he said, adding, “I demand that Alexei’s body be released immediately so that I can bury him humanely.”

Navalny’s unexplained death last Friday is causing concern and terror among Vladimir Putin’s critics.

Opposition politician Ilya Yashin, who remains in prison after serving an eight-and-a-half-year sentence for defaming the Russian military, learned of his death on Monday.

“It’s hard to collect my thoughts. The pain is unbearable and so is the horror,” he wrote in a letter from prison, comparing Navalny’s death to the 2015 killing of Boris Nemtsov, who was shot dead in front of the Kremlin.

“I’m behind bars. My life is in Putin’s hands and it is in danger,” he stressed in the same letter and promised to continue fighting “against tyranny.”

“As long as I live, I will fear no evil. As long as I breathe, I will be with my people. I swear it,” he clarified, pointing out that there is “no doubt” that Navalny was murdered by Russian authorities and that Russian President Vladimir Putin had “both the motive and the means.”

According to Navalny’s supporters, the Russian president has promoted the deputy head of Russia’s FSIN prison service, Valery Boyarinov.

Indeed, the director of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, which was founded by Navalny, Ivan Zhdanov, wrote on Telegram that Boyarinov was personally responsible for Navalny’s “torture and murder” in prison.

Across the Atlantic, diplomatic tensions remain high as the White House announced that the United States would adopt a series of “significant sanctions” against Moscow on Friday “in order to hold Russia accountable for what happened to Navalny and its actions in the course of the war in Ukraine”.