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Alexei Navalny’s funeral shows there are still people in Russia standing against the regime | World News

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It is exactly what the Kremlin did not want – for tens of thousands of people to gather in Moscow to pay their respects to Alexei Navalny.

But thanks to the resilience and determination of his family not to allow the authorities to take, at the very least, this final goodbye from them, the ceremony has been allowed to take place.

As his body was carried into the church, people clapped and chanted “Navalny” and “Alexei”. Some were in tears.

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People crowded onto the steps of nearby supermarkets and shopping complexes.

They knew they would not make it into the church, but they felt the need to be there.

There was the odd cry of “Russia will be free”, the old protest rallying cry, or lone voices shouting not to give up hope, but it didn’t take off.

People are aware the police could shut this down if it starts to look like a rally and they want this moment.

If, for many Russians, Alexei Navalny was barely known – thanks to state media blacking out pretty much all mention of him – for his supporters, his death is deeply personal.

Crowds gather near the Borisovskoye cemetery during Navalny’s funeral Pic: Reuters

Flowers laid in memory of Alexei Navalny in Moscow
Flowers laid in memory of Alexei Navalny in Moscow

Many held their bouquets – mostly roses and carnations – up high as they made their way towards the Borisovskoye cemetery, a 30-minute walk to his final resting place.

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If people felt his death had rid them of all hope, at least this turnout is a sign that they are not alone, and that there is still a constituency in Russia who stands against the regime.

Still a constituency which believes and hopes, despite all the odds, that Russia might one day be free.

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