Updated February 19th, 2024 at 08:32 IST

What is Sudden Death Syndrome? Russian Authorities Give Cause of Navalny's Demise

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny's mother was told that her son died from "sudden death syndrome”, as his team continue to claim that he was “murdered".

Reported by: Digital Desk
Russia's opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, is dead. | Image:AP

Moscow – Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny's mother was told that her son died from “sudden death syndrome”, as his team continued to claim that he was “murdered”.  The 47-year-old Russian critic died on February 16 after he suddenly collapsed while taking a walk in the prison. Shortly after the news was announced, leaders from around the world, including US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin was involved in the mysterious death of one of his most prominent critics. His team also stated the authorities have refused to hand over the body of the Russian politician sparking more speculations. 

Ivan Zhdanov, who directs Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation said that Navalny's mother Lyudmila, braved Arctic temperatures of minus 30 degrees Celsius and visited the penal colony on Saturday to get the mortal remains of his son. As per the tweet, she was given an official death notice stating the time of death as 2:17 pm (local time). "When Alexei's lawyer and mother arrived at the colony this morning, they were told that the cause of Navalny's death was sudden death syndrome," Zhdanov wrote on X, formally known as Twitter. Zhadanov also noted that the prison authorities allegedly “deceived” Navalny's lawyers. “They said the body was in the Salekhard morgue. They say there is no body,” he wrote. The Russian opposition leader's team eventually stated that the body would not be handed over until the investigation was completed. 


What is Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS)?

Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) is an umbrella term that can be used to describe any sort of sudden, unexpected death from natural causes. In these cases, a person involved often has little to no warning signs of illness. What makes the matter complicated is the fact that even after death, an autopsy may not reveal obvious abnormalities. According to Medical News Today, there is no standardized list of symptoms in SDS. However, some of the common symptoms are palpitations, dizziness, chest discomfort, shortness of breath and fainting. While several known and unknown processes in the body can contribute to SDS, cardiovascular disease plays a major role overall.


Days after his death, the location of Navalny's body remains unclear. According to Navalny's spokesperson Kira Yarmysh, the Russian authorities have refused to give his body stating that an investigation is currently underway. However, the Russian opposition leader's lawyers were previously informed that the investigation “had been concluded and that something criminal had not been established." Navalny was arrested and jailed in 2021 after returning to Russia from Germany. The 47-year-old was serving his sentence in penal colony which is popularly known as “Polar Wolf”. 


Published February 18th, 2024 at 21:26 IST