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Navalny Mourners Handed Military Summonses – Reports

People in St. Petersburg mourn the death of Alexei Navalny. Matvei Makeychik / SOTAvision

Updated with OVD-Info report.

Several mourners detained at makeshift memorials to the late Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny have been handed military summonses in St. Petersburg, local media reported Wednesday.

Police have arrested hundreds of people across Russia for laying flowers at memorials in the days since Navalny died at a remote Arctic prison.

At least six mourners in St. Petersburg received military summonses after being released from a police detention center, according to the Telegram news channel Rotonda.

“The summonses say that the arrested people must report to the enlistment office within a few days to verify their information and register for military service,” Rotonda reported.

“They’ll break our fingers if we don’t sign [the summonses],” the RusNews Telegram channel reported, quoting a man who was handed the military papers after his release from police custody. 

However, the independent rights watchdog OVD-Info, citing military authorities, reported on Thursday that the summonses were not real and that they were handed out to “scare” Navalny mourners.

Kremlin critics have noted that Russian authorities often use the threat of military service as a form of punishment amid a wider wartime crackdown on dissent.

Navalny died at age 47 at the prison colony where he was being held on charges widely seen as retribution for his opposition to President Vladimir Putin.

The news of Navalny's death triggered an outpouring of grief and anger among his supporters at home and abroad, while Putin has remained silent about his most outspoken critic's demise. 

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