Kremlin Disputes Report Putin Didn’t Order Navalny’s Death

Contributor/Getty Images
Contributor/Getty Images

Russia has dismissed a report claiming Vladimir Putin did not order the killing of famed dissident Alexei Navalny, who died in an Arctic prison in February.

Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, told Russia’s state-run media on Saturday that he had seen the Wall Street Journal report, which cited an assessment by U.S. intelligence agencies, and that there was little reason to believe it. He derided its logic and said it wasn’t worth looking into.

“I would not say that this is high-quality material that deserves any attention. Some very empty reasoning,” Peskov said.

The Kremlin’s rejection of the U.S. report oddly puts them in agreement with Navalny’s allies, who have also disputed its findings.

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Leonid Volkov, a longtime Navalny supporter, slammed the report and said those who believe Putin wasn’t involved “clearly do not understand anything about how modern day Russia runs.”

“The idea of Putin being not being informed and not approving killing Navalny is ridiculous,” he added.

The finding, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, said the Russian autocrat did not directly plan the timing of Navalny’s death, although it did not dispute his responsibility for it. While Putin bears culpability for sending Navalny to the brutal prison camp where he died, U.S. intelligence doesn’t believe he planned to have Navalny killed when he died.

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Sources told the WSJ that the finding is broadly accepted within the U.S. intelligence community, although some European intelligence allies doubt it could’ve happened without Putin’s direct involvement.

According to the WSJ, the intelligence report relied on classified information and an analysis of the timing of his death near Putin’s predetermined re-election, among other factors.

Sources didn’t say whether the report explored how Navalny died. At the time, Russia’s prison service said he collapsed after a walk and could not be revived by emergency personnel.

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