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Flowers are placed around portraits of late Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny at a makeshift memorial in front of the former Russian consulate in Frankfurt, Germany, on Feb. 23.-/Getty Images

Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny’s funeral will be held in Moscow on Friday, his wife Yulia Navalnaya announced, but she said she was unsure if it would pass off peacefully and that plans for a civil memorial service had been blocked.

Kira Yarmysh, Mr. Navalny’s spokesperson, posted on X that a service for Mr. Navalny would be held on Friday afternoon in the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God in the Moscow district of Maryino, where Mr. Navalny used to live.

Mr. Navalny would then be buried at the Borisovskoye cemetery, around 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles) away on the other side of the Moskva River. A Reuters reporter on Wednesday saw three police patrols at the snow-covered cemetery, which is located near a busy road.

Mr. Navalny’s allies accused the Kremlin of thwarting their attempts to organize a separate civil memorial service in a hall which could have accommodated more people, and of blocking plans to bury Mr. Navalny a day earlier. The Kremlin has said it has nothing to do with such arrangements.

“Two people – Vladimir Putin and [Moscow Mayor] Sergei Sobyanin – are to blame for the fact that we have no place for a civil memorial service and farewell to [Alexey],” Ms. Navalnaya wrote on X.

“People in the Kremlin killed him, then mocked [Alexey’s] body, then mocked his mother, now they are mocking his memory.”

The Kremlin denies any involvement in Mr. Navalny’s Feb. 16 death at the age of 47 in an Arctic penal colony, and his death certificate – according to his supporters – says he died of natural causes.

Russian Orthodox funeral services are usually presided over by a priest and accompanied by choral singing, with attendees gathered around the open casket of the deceased to say their farewell. The chosen church is an imposing five-domed white building in a suburb of southeastern Moscow.

It was not immediately clear how the authorities would ensure crowd control.

But judging from previous gatherings of Navalny supporters – whom Russian authorities have designated as U.S.-backed extremists – a heavy police presence is likely and the authorities will break up anything they deem to resemble a political demonstration under protest laws.

“The funeral will take place the day after tomorrow and I’m not sure yet whether it will be peaceful or whether police will arrest those who have come to say goodbye to my husband,” Ms. Navalnaya said in a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Mr. Navalny’s allies have accused President Vladimir Putin of having him murdered because the Russian leader could allegedly not tolerate the thought of Mr. Navalny being freed in a potential prisoner swap.

They have not published proof to back up that accusation, but have promised to set out how he was murdered and by whom.

The Kremlin has denied state involvement in his death and has said it was unaware of any agreement to free Mr. Navalny.

“Putin killed my husband,” Ms. Navalnaya told the European lawmakers in Strasbourg.

“On his orders, Alexey was tortured for three years. He was starved in a tiny stone cell, cut off from the outside world and denied visits, phone calls and then even letters,” she said.

In the 12 days since her husband’s death, Ms. Navalnaya has staked a claim to take on the leadership of Russia’s fragmented opposition, saying she will continue his work.

Speaking in English, her voice sometimes faltering, she described Mr. Putin as a “bloody monster” and told lawmakers it was not possible to negotiate with him.

“You cannot hurt Putin with another resolution or another set of sanctions that is no different from the previous ones,” she said, calling for more effective action against the money flows of Russia’s ruling elite.

Mr. Navalny’s allies had been looking for a hall to accommodate his supporters at a non-religious farewell ceremony too, but said they had been refused everywhere.

“Initially we planned the farewell and funeral for February 29th. It quickly became clear that there was not a single person who could dig a grave by the 29th of February,” Ivan Zhdanov, a Navalny ally, wrote on X.

Feb. 29, Thursday, is when Mr. Putin is due to deliver a speech to Russia’s political elite, and Mr. Zhdanov accused the authorities of not wanting Mr. Navalny’s funeral to take place on the same day and overshadow it.

Mr. Zhdanov also accused the authorities of blocking attempts to secure a large hall for supporters to bid farewell to Mr. Navalny.

Ms. Navalnaya said she and others just wanted people to have a chance to say goodbye to him “in a normal way.”

“Just stay out of the way, please,” she urged the authorities.

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