X Briefly Suspends Account Of Alexei Navalny’s Widow

Elon Musk’s social media platform X became briefly entangled in the furore surrounding the sudden death of Alexei Navalny, the high-profile and vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Alexei Navalny, aged just 47, died in mysterious circumstances last Friday in a Russian Arctic penal colony, where he had been serving a 19-year prison term on embezzlement and contempt of court charges (in a trial described as a sham by Amnesty International).

Navalny’s death sparked a global outcry, but this week X (formerly known as Twitter) became involved when it briefly suspended the account of Yulia Navalnaya, Navalny’s widow.

Suspension error

Yulia Navalnaya and Navalny’s mother are demanding that Moscow release his body, amid concerns of a cover-up by Moscow.

Both of them, alongside many political leaders around the world, hold Putin responsible for the death of Alexei Navalny, as well as other high profile Russian figures who have suddenly died.

YuliaNavalnaya had said on Monday in a video that she believed her husband was killed by Putin and vowed to continue his work to fight for a free Russia. She had only opened the X account on Monday.

Twitter Soon To Be Blocked For Russian Users – Report

It has so far attracted more than 286,000 followers and the video statement she posted on it on Monday has been viewed millions of times.

But then on Monday X suspended her account, prompting Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation to tag Elon Musk in a post to ask “exactly which rules were violated” by Navalnaya.

Less than an hour later, X then restored the account, claiming the error was because its defense mechanism against manipulation and spam had “mistakenly flagged” Navalnaya’s account as violating its rules.

“We unsuspended the account as soon as we became aware of the error, and will be updating the defense,” X Safety said in a post on Tuesday.

Kremlin denial

The Kremlin has denied allegations it murdered Navalny as “unfounded” and “insolent”.

Before his death last week Navalny had survived a brazen assassination attempt in 2020, when he was poisoned with Novichok just before boarding an internal flight in Russia.

He sought treatment in Germany, but was promptly arrested and jailed by the Kremlin when he returned to Russia after surviving that assassination attempt.

Other deaths blamed on Moscow include the Novichok poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England in 2018 by GRU operatives, as well as the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko by lethal dose of polonium-210 in 2006.

Shortly after Navalny’s unexplained death last week, it emerged that the body of a Russian helicopter pilot who had earned the fury of Moscow when he defected to Ukraine last year, had been found after he was shot multiple times in Spain.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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