Russian Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny Has Died — Who Was His Wife?

Alexei Navalny was imprisoned in the Arctic Circle on political charges, and his death came on quite suddenly.


Feb. 16 2024, Published 10:17 a.m. ET

Alexei Navalny having an intimate moment with his wife in a window sill.
Source: Getty Images

Following years of imprisonment and a failed assassination attempt, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has died at just 47 years old. The news has made headlines around the world, in large part because Navalny had established himself as the most significant threat to Vladimir Putin in years.

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Following the news of his death in prison (where he was serving a 19-year sentence on politically motivated charges), many wanted to learn more about his wife and family. Here's what we know about Navalny's family, and whether they knew this day might come.

Alexei Navalny walking outside with his family.
Source: Getty Images
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Who is Alexei Navalny's wife?

Alexei Navalny's wife is Yulia Navalnaya, who was often described as the First Lady of the Russian opposition. Although she has largely played a supporting role to her husband's political career, Navalnaya is an economist, and she has spoken out more recently when her husband has been unable to.

Following an incident in which he was poisoned in 2020, Navalnaya spoke out to demand that her husband be treated.

And, following his imprisonment, Navalnaya has started to establish her own voice as a figure of resistance in Putin's Russia. Regardless of what her political future may hold, though, it's clear that Navalnaya was fully supportive of her husband's stance, even as she understood that they may eventually cost him dearly. Ultimately, she recognized that he was fighting for something bigger.

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Who is Alexei Navalny's daughter?

Navalny's daughter, Daria Navalnaya, has also been outspoken about the injustices her father has faced. Daria, or Dasha, studied at Stanford in the US and is now 23 years old.

Although Navalny himself was a controversial figure in some circles, in part because of his views on immigration and Ukraine, Dasha remained loyal to her father and continued advocating on his behalf while he was in prison.

Source: Twitter/@highbrow_nobrow
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What was Alexei Navalny's cause of death?

Alexei was in a severe work camp in the Arctic Circle when he died. He was transferred there late last year, and the official statement suggested that he had felt ill after a walk on Feb.16. He "almost immediately lost consciousness" and a medical team was called to treat him. The medical team pronounced him dead. "The emergency doctors declared the prisoner dead. Cause of death is being established," the statement said.

Navalny had been spotted only a day earlier during court testimony from his cell.

"I don't want to hear any condolences," his mother said following the news of his death. "We saw him in prison on 12th [February], in a meeting. He was alive, healthy and happy."

One of Navalny's allies, though, immediately suggested the worst. "Russian authorities publish a confession that they killed Alexei Navalny in prison. We do not have any way to confirm it or to prove this isn't true," Leonid Volkov wrote.

Of course, the exact nature of Navalny's death may never be fully revealed, given how repressive Putin's regime in Russia is, and the previous discovery that Putin had played a key role in Navalny's previous brush with death.

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