RIP Alexei Navalny: Timeline of Russian opposition icon's rise, imprisonment and untimely demise

Here is a timeline of Alexei Navalny's life and struggles against the Putin regime

rip-alexei-navalny A man holds a poster with a portrait of opposition leader Alexei Navalny during a protest in front of the Russian embassy in Berlin | AP

According to reports, Alexei Navalny, Russia's top opposition leader and President Vladimir Putin's harshest critic, died in prison on Friday. In a span of a decade, the 47-year-old lawyer went from being the Kremlin’s biggest foe to Russia’s most prominent political prisoner. He was serving a 19-year sentence at a high-security prison, often in solitary confinement.

FULL REPORT | Imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny dies

Here is a timeline of Alexei Navalny's life and struggles under the  Putin regime.

June 4, 1976: Alexei Navalny is born in Moscow.

1997: Graduates from Russia’s RUDN university, where he majored in law. Earns a degree in economics in 2001 while practising as a lawyer.

2010:  Founds RosPil, an anti-corruption project run by a team of lawyers for exposing violations and contesting them in court.

2011: Establishes the Foundation for Fighting Corruption, which will become his team’s main platform for exposing alleged graft among Russia’s top political ranks.

March 2012: Following President Vladimir Putin’s reelection, mass protests break out. Navalny accuses key figures, including then-Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov and Chechnya’s strongman leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, of corruption.

July 2012: Russia’s Investigative Committee charges Navalny with embezzlement. Navalny claims the allegations are politically motivated.

July 2013: A court in Kirov convicts Navalny of embezzlement but later suspends his sentence.

February 2014: Navalny is placed under house arrest in connection with the Yves Rocher case and banned from using the internet. His blog continues to be updated regularly, presumably by his team, detailing alleged corruption by various Russian officials.

December 2016: Navalny announces he will run in Russia’s 2018 presidential election.

April 27, 2017: Unidentified assailants throw a green disinfectant in his face, damaging his right eye. 

December 2017: Russia’s Central Electoral Commission bars him from running for president over his conviction in the Kirovles case, a move condemned by the EU as casting “serious doubt” on the election.

Aug. 20, 2020:  On a flight from the city of Tomsk, where he was working with local activists, Navalny falls ill and the plane makes an emergency landing in nearby Omsk. Hospitalized in a coma, Navalny’s team suspects he was poisoned.

Aug. 22, 2020: A comatose Navalny is flown to a hospital in Berlin. 2 days later, German authorities confirm Navalny was poisoned with a Soviet-era nerve agent. After he recovers, he blames the Kremlin.

Jan. 17, 2021: Navalny is arrested upon his return to Russia, with authorities alleging his recuperation abroad violated the terms of his suspended sentence in the Yves Rocher case. His arrest triggers some of the biggest protests in Russia in years. 

Feb. 2, 2021: A Moscow court orders Navalny to serve 2 ½ years in prison for his parole violation. While in prison, Navalny stages a three-week hunger strike to protest a lack of medical treatment and sleep deprivation.

June 2021: A Moscow court outlaws Navalny’s Foundation for Fighting Corruption and about 40 regional offices as extremist, shutting down his political network. Close associates and team members face prosecution and leave Russia under pressure. Navalny maintains contact with his lawyers and team from prison, and they update his social media accounts.

March 22, 2022: Navalny is sentenced to an additional nine-year term for embezzlement and contempt of court. He is transferred to a maximum-security prison in Russia’s western Vladimir region.

March 12, 2023: “Navalny,” a film about the attempt on the opposition leader’s life, wins the Oscar for best documentary feature.

Aug. 4, 2023: Navalny is convicted of extremism and sentenced to 19 years, and he says he understands he's "serving a life sentence, which is measured by the length of my life or the length of life of this regime.”

Dec. 25, 2023: Navalny's allies say he's been located in a prison colony in the town of Kharp, north of the Arctic Circle, notorious for long and severe winters. 

Feb. 16, 2024: Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service says Navalny died in prison at the age of 47. It says he felt unwell after a walk and collapsed. An ambulance arrived but could not resuscitate him. 

(Data courtest: The Associated Press)

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