Alexei Navalny accused ‘corrupt officials’ in London of helping Putin in unseen interview

Alexei Navalny accused ‘corrupt officials’ in London of helping Putin in unseen interview

Alexei Navalny hit out at “corrupt” officials living in London for helping those close to Putin and the Kremlin in a previously-unseen interview published on Monday.

Mr Navalny, Russia's best-known opposition politician, died earlier this month in an Arctic penal colony while serving a 19-year sentence on charges widely seen as politically motivated.

The 47-year-old was a leading critic of the Kremlin and Putin’s regime.

In an interview conducted in 2020, but aired on Monday following Mr Navalny’s death, he voiced hopes that Russia could be cleared of corruption.

In the interview conducted for a documentary, he said: “The entire Putin elite is absolutely corrupt and it is absolutely colonially minded.

Alexei Navalny (AP)
Alexei Navalny (AP)

“They have moved all their families, their children, their assets to the West and they treat our country as a free hunting zone and that’s exactly how it works.”

The anti-corruption campaigner gave the interview in February 2020, in one of the last media appearances in which he appeared in full health.

He added: “The West does nothing at all, I would say. There are some ritual dances but nothing really happens.

“Why do corrupt officials still live in London? Because these corrupt officials feed a huge number of wonderful London lawyers.”

It comes as associates of the opposition leader said on Monday that talks were underway shortly before his death to exchange him for a Russian imprisoned in Germany.

“Alexei Navalny could have been sitting here now, today. It's not a figure of speech," Maria Pevchikh, a close associate who lives outside Russia, said in a video statement posted on social media.

She said she received confirmation the talks were in the “final stages" on February 15, the day before Mr Navalny was reported dead. Her claim has not been confirmed.

German officials have refused to comment when asked if there had been any effort by Russia to secure a swap which would have seen Navalny released.

Mr Navalny had been jailed since January 2021, when he returned to Moscow of his own accord after recuperating in Germany from nerve agent poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin. He was later convicted three times.