Putin says he agreed Navalny prisoner swap

Putin says he agreed Navalny prisoner swap
Putin speaks at election event / Kremlin
By bne IntelliNews March 18, 2024

Russian President Vladimir Putin had agreed to swap killed opposition figure Alexey Navalny just days before he died.

Speaking in Moscow on March 17 following the release of presidential election exit polls, Putin broke his silence on Navalny’s death. The president asserted that he had consented to a prisoner exchange involving Navalny just days before he died. 

Navalny died on February 16 in corrective colony IK-3, in the village of Kharp in the Russian Arctic. Governments around the world have held the Russian authorities, including Putin, responsible.

After describing Navalny’s death as a “sad event,” Putin stated that unnamed individuals had proposed releasing Navalny in exchange for people from the West. Putin stated that he had agreed to the swap under the condition that Navalny would not return to Russia. However, he offered no specifics regarding the proposed exchange or the individuals involved.

“When things like that happen you cannot do anything about it – that’s life,” he said, about Navalny’s demise.

These remarks by Putin have sparked intense reactions from Navalny's allies and critics, with some viewing them as an indirect admission of culpability in Navalny's demise. 

 “Putin killed Alexei Navalny. And now he has decided he doesn’t need to pretend any more. He’s confirmed it himself,” Navalny’s former chief of staff Leonid Volkov wrote on X.