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Russian federal investigators traveled to prison region after Navalny’s death, says source

Source: Meduza

Representatives from the Russian Investigative Committee and the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service’s (FSIN) central offices came to Salekhard after Alexey Navalny’s death, reports Novaya Gazeta Europe citing a source in the regional FSIN.

“To be honest, many of us breathed a sigh of relief when we heard that federal Investigative Committee members had come. Now the whole story with Navalny’s body, examinations, determining the cause of death, and deciding what will happen with the body falls on their shoulders,” the source said.

He added the main question for the local FSIN was figuring out who was going to be the “designated scapegoat.” According to him, this could either be the prison warden, Vadim Kalinin, or the regional FSIN head, Igor Rakitin. However, he noted, the officials who came from Moscow haven’t yet mentioned any plans.

He went on to say that the out-of-town officials criticized their local colleagues for allowing a "foreign journalist" to speak with an inmate after Navalny's death. (Presumably, they were referring to a journalist from Novaya Gazeta Europe.) From that conversation, Novaya Gazeta Europe learned that there was an unusual amount of activity in the prison starting on the evening of February 15. The FSIN asserts that Navalny died on February 16.

According to another source, prisoners and prison staff are now being “unofficially but sternly” warned that “interest in Navalny’s death could have very negative consequences.” “The last question that was being widely discussed was when Navalny actually died. Most people, based on information from various places, were claiming that it happened not at 2:17 p.m., but earlier, possibly during the night. There’s still no answer,” he said.

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