Russia’s treatment of Alexei Navalny ‘chilling and ruthless’, says Tánaiste as Department summons ambassador

Micheál Martin says he agrees with other western leaders that the Russian opposition leader was killed by the Russian state

Tánaiste Micheál Martin has described Russia’s treatment of the late opposition figure Alexei Navalny as “quite chilling and ruthless” after the Department of Foreign Affairs summoned Moscow’s envoy over his death.

Speaking a day after the department called Russian ambassador to Ireland Yuri Filatov to “express outrage” at Mr Navalny’s death in an Arctic Circle penal colony, Mr Martin said he agreed with other western leaders that the Putin critic had been killed by the Russian state.

“I do, there’s no question about that,” he said, adding: “I’m not just referring to the actual immediate situation, but rather, the progressive, savage treatment in terms of the imprisonment ... I think there are some harrowing, harrowing accounts of the latter stages of his detention.

“It is quite chilling and ruthless, that any individual can be treated in this matter,” Mr Martin said.


In a statement, the department said it reiterated that “ultimate responsibility for his death rests with Russian leadership” and that it called for a full, independent and transparent investigation.

The Russian prison service announced Mr Navalny, a major opposition leader, died during his detention at an Arctic penal colony on Friday.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland on Wednesday, Tánaiste Micheál Martin said the Government “condemned Mr Navalny’s death because we feel it reflects a very repressive regime that shuts down any form of internal dissent, and freedom of speech and freedom of assembly”.

“We want to formally communicate that view shared by the vast majority of the Irish people. We already have subjected Russia and Russian leadership to the most expensive and hard-hitting sanctions in European history,” he said.

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson is a reporter for The Irish Times

Vivienne Clarke

Vivienne Clarke is a reporter