On 16 February 2024, the sudden death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was announced from the Polar Wolf prison in Kharp, Siberia, Russia, where he had been held since December, following a series of transfers after his incarceration in 2021. Navalny, who can be seen laughing and joking in a video just the day before, reportedly felt unwell after a morning walk, collapsed, and could not be revived.
Navalny had long been a thorn in the side of Russian President Vladimir Putin, organizing and leading the opposition to his despotic rule for over a decade. Putin had tried at least once before to have him killed, using poison, and astrologic factors point to his death being a repeat performance, successful this time. In August 2020 Navalny became violently ill during a flight, losing consciousness and lapsing into a coma; he was medically evacuated to Berlin, where the cause was determined to be Novichok poisoning, a Soviet era neurotoxin. Miraculously, Navalny survived, and despite the risk to his life returned to Russia in January 2021, where he was immediately arrested, and has been in detention ever since, under increasingly harsh conditions, serving a nineteen-year sentence for “extremism.”