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A video surfaced Friday showing Alexei Navalny, a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, making a court appearance just a day before Russian officials say he collapsed and died at a penal colony in Siberia. 

Footage shared by the Russian news outlet SOTAvision showed the 47-year-old laughing and appearing in good spirits while behind bars at the IK-3 penal colony, also known as “Polar Wolf,” in Kharp in northern Russia. Navalny made the appearance in Russia’s Supreme Court by video link, according to The Associated Press. 

Earlier Friday morning, Russia’s prison agency announced that Navalny felt unwell after a walk and lost consciousness. An ambulance arrived to try to rehabilitate him, but he died, a statement added. 

Navalny’s spokesperson said in a post on X that “we have no confirmation of this yet.” 

PUTIN CRITIC ALEXEI NAVALNY DEAD AT 47, RUSSIAN OFFICIALS SAY 

“Alexei’s lawyer is currently on his way to Kharp. As soon as we have some information, we will report on it,” spokesperson Kira Yarmysh added. 

Reports of the death have brought condemnation from the White House, with Vice President Kamala Harris saying “Whatever story they tell, let us be clear: Russia is responsible.” 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken added Friday that Navalny’s “death in a Russian prison and the fixation and fear of one man only underscores the weakness and rot at the heart of the system that Putin has built.” 

“Russia is responsible for this,” Blinken said. “We’ll be talking to many other countries concerned about Alexei Navalny, especially if these reports bear out to be true.” 

PUTIN CLAIMS HE PREFERS ‘MORE PREDICTABLE’ BIDEN OVER TRUMP 

Alexei Navalny criticizes Ukraine invasions during prior court appearance

Navalny had previously organized anti-government demonstrations and had run for office to advocate for reforms against what he claimed was corruption in Russia. He was the victim of an alleged assassination attempt in 2020, when he suffered poisoning from a suspected Novichok nerve agent.  

He remained in a coma for several weeks while doctors in Germany fought to keep him alive. He accused Putin of being responsible for his poisoning. 

Alexei Navalny in Moscow, Russia

 

Navalny then returned to Russia in 2021, when authorities immediately arrested him and later sentenced him to 19 years in prison on extremism charges. His team has repeatedly raised concerns about his treatment following his return, and Navalny said the charges were politically motivated. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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