Alexei Navalny death: Wife Yulia Navalnaya's X account briefly suspended as U.S. promises ‘major sanctions’ against Russia

Flowers are seen placed around portraits of Alexei Navalny at a makeshift memorial in Frankfurt, Germany.
Flowers flank portraits of Alexei Navalny at a makeshift memorial in front of the former Russian Consulate in Frankfurt, Germany, on Tuesday. (AFP via Getty Images) (- via Getty Images)

People around the world continue to react in horror to the death of Alexei Navalny, the 47-year-old outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin who Kremlin officials say was found dead last week in the remote Arctic prison where he was serving a 30-plus-year sentence.

Here is the latest on the fallout from his death, the U.S. announcement of “major sanctions” against Russia and what’s next for Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, who is vowing to take up her late husband’s fight.

🔎 Who is Yulia Navalnaya?

Yulia Navalnaya takes part in a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday.
Yulia Navalnaya takes part in a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday. (Yves Herman/AFP via Getty Images) (YVES HERMAN via Getty Images)

Yulia Navalnaya, also 47, is a former economist, banker and prominent public figure in Russia, where she is often described as the "first lady" of Putin's opposition. She and Navalny met in the summer of 1998 in Turkey and were married two years later. They have two children.

Navalnaya announced Monday that she would continue her late husband’s work in advocating for a free, peaceful and democratic Russia while accusing Putin of killing him.

“Putin did not only murder the person, Alexei Navalny,” Navalnaya said in a video posted to YouTube. “He wanted, along with him, to kill our hope, our freedom, our future.”

💻 X briefly suspends her account

Navalnaya’s X account was temporarily suspended Tuesday and then restored. The social media platform owned by Elon Musk said it was taken down by mistake.

“Our platform’s defense mechanism against manipulation and spam mistakenly flagged @yulia_navalnaya as violating our rules,” X’s safety team explained in a post. “We unsuspended the account as soon as we became aware of the error, and will be updating the defense.”

It had about 90,000 followers at the time it was suspended. The account now has nearly double that figure.

🇷🇺 Where is Navalny’s body?

The entrance of the Arctic penal colony in Kharp, Russia.
The entrance of the Arctic penal colony in Kharp, Russia, where Navalny had been jailed. (AP) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, said Tuesday that she has yet to see her son’s body, which Russian officials say is being held at a morgue near the prison for “chemical examination.”

In a video posted to Yulia Navalnaya’s X account, Lyudmila demanded that Putin release the body.

“I ask you, Vladimir Putin, let me finally see my son,” she said. “For a fifth day now, I have not been able to see him, they do not release his body to me, they do not even tell me where it is. I demand that Alexei’s body be released immediately so that I can bury him in a humane way.”

📢 Trump compares himself to Navalny

Donald Trump speaks at a rally held in Michigan on Saturday.
Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Waterford Township, Mich., on Saturday. (Jabin Botsford/Washington Post via Getty Images) (The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The former president weighed in on Navalny’s death Sunday in a Truth Social post that made no mention of Putin and instead seemingly compared his own legal troubles to the Russian opposition leader’s plight.

“The sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me more and more aware of what is happening in our Country,” Trump wrote. “It is a slow, steady progression, with CROOKED, Radical Left Politicians, Prosecutors, and Judges leading us down a path to destruction. Open Borders, Rigged Elections, and Grossly Unfair Courtroom Decisions are DESTROYING AMERICA. WE ARE A NATION IN DECLINE, A FAILING NATION! MAGA2024.”

Nikki Haley, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and Trump’s lone remaining challenger in the 2024 Republican primary, seized on Trump’s response.

“Donald Trump could have condemned Vladimir Putin for being a murderous thug,” Haley wrote on X. “Trump could have praised Navalny’s courage. Instead, he stole a page from liberals’ playbook, denouncing America and comparing our country to Russia.”

🇺🇸 White House to unveil 'major sanctions'

On Tuesday, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the Biden administration will unveil “major sanctions” against Russia later this week in response to Navalny's death.

Speaking to reporters at the White House early Friday afternoon, President Biden praised Navalny for his bravery — and put the blame for his death squarely on Putin.

"Make no mistake," Biden said. "Putin is responsible for Navalny's death."