Growing memorial for Alexei Navalny outside Russian Consulate on Upper East Side

Sonia Rincón Image
Monday, February 19, 2024
Growing memorial for Alexei Navalny outside Russian Consulate on Upper East Side
Sonia Rincon has more from the Upper East Side.

UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- People have been building a memorial for Alexei Navalny for the last three nights outside the Russian Consulate on Manhattan's Upper East Side. They are hoping to send a message halfway around the world that a community wants to see his work continue - and for his message of hope to not die with him.

"We want the whole world to understand that Putin threatens not only Russians and not only Ukraine at the moment, but the whole world," said Yana Kolomenskaya.

The growing memorial with loving - and a few angry messages, has been drawing crowds of New York-based supporters feeling the void left behind by the loss of a unifying figure whose shoes would seem impossible to fill.

"Unfortunately the Russian opposition is quite divided. That's a problem right now," said Kolomenskaya.

"He was our beacon of hope. He was our hope for Russia was going to be rule of law - was going to be freedom of speech," added Anastasia Kargina.

They are heartbroken not just by the loss and the setback, but by seeing crackdowns in Russia on people who are trying to do exactly the same thing they are.

An independent human rights group says hundreds of people have been arrested since Friday as they try to publicly pay tribute.

In St. Petersburg this weekend, makeshift memorials were torn down, only to be quickly replaced.

"You can do nothing in Russia right now because it's under control," said Vladislav Dub.

Navalny's wife, Yulia Navalnaya in her first Instagram post since his death wrote simply, 'I love you.'

Navalny's mother and lawyer traveled this weekend to the remote prison colony in the Arctic where he died, told that his body would be handed over after an autopsy.

"The body was taken by investigative committee and they are conducting some sort of investigation with him," said spokesperson Kira Yarmysh.

Navalny's team believes he was murdered and that the Russian government is covering it up. His supporters say his resiliency after past attempts on his life made him seem invincible - like a superhero.

There have been similar displays like this in cities around the world.

This weekend, President Biden reiterated his stance that Putin is responsible for Navalny's death, saying, 'It's a reflection of who he is - it cannot be tolerated."

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