A closer look at the midnight convoy. The prison minibus and its police escort that may have carried Navalny’s body
Максим Литаврин|Сергей Голубев|Александр Бородихин|Дата-отдел
A closer look at the midnight convoy. The prison minibus and its police escort that may have carried Navalny’s body

Screenshot: Mediazona

Yesterday, we shared live web cameras footage from the ice road linking the town of Labytnangi, closest to Alexei Navalny’s penal colony in the Arctic village of Kharp, with Salekhard, the only ground route to the regional hub. The always-on cameras captured the Federal Penitentiary Service convoy at midnight on the night between February 16 and 17.

This convoy, we believe, may well have been tasked with transporting the body of Navalny, just before his mother was due to arrive.

A source reached out to Mediazona following our initial report, providing the license plate numbers for vehicles within the convoy. This has allowed us to uncover more details about the logistics behind the transport.

A brief recap of yesterday’s findings

Mediazona discovered footage from live webcams positioned near the ice crossing between Labytnangi and Salekhard, the sole ground route from Kharp—where Alexey Navalny was imprisoned—to the capital of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. Kharp and Labytnangi are located on the left bank of the Ob river, while Salekhard is on the right bank.

Our investigation revealed that a convoy, including two police patrol service vehicles, a Penitentiary Service UAZ minibus, and an unmarked sedan, traversed from Labytnangi towards Salekhard on the night of February 16 to 17. Alexey’s mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, arrived in Kharp the following morning.

According to the sources of Novaya Gazeta Europe, Navalny’s body was moved from Labytnangi to Salekhard on the evening of February 16. Given the absence of similar convoy movements in the preceding days, we conclude that this convoy was indeed responsible for transporting Alexey Navalny’s body.

Shortly after the investigation was published, we were contacted by a source who disclosed the license plate numbers of all four convoy’s vehicles. After scrutinizing this information, we are confident in its accuracy.

This additional context allows us to share more about the process of transporting Navalny’s body to Salekhard.

Further details

The prison minibus was bookended by police patrol service vehicles, a detail clearly visible on camera footage. While these vehicles, identifiable by their specific license plates, provided no newsworthy insights, they confirmed the presence of patrol vehicles.

A grey unmarked sedan that moved as part of the convoy, was in fact police—likely used by operatives who commonly drive civilian vehicles.

This vehicle, a silver Ford Focus II with the license plate A 242 MM 89, is officially registered to the administrative department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, as discovered by Mediazona in leaked databases.

Photo from the insurance report for the police Ford vehicle. Source: leaked databases

Contract information from a public procurement portal indicates this vehicle belongs to the Labytnangi city police department.

Another convoy member was a grey UAZ minibus marked with two characteristic green stripes, identifying it as belonging to FSIN. Its license plate number is V 749 SM 89.

Photo from the insurance report for the Penitentiary Service UAZ minibus. Source: leaked databases

Registration details identified it as a special AM-01 model vehicle. According to Gruzovik Press, AM-type UAZ minibuses serve the Penitentiary Service for transporting ill prisoners, also referred to as “sanitary vehicles”—a fact confirmed in other penal colonies’ press releases.

Government procurement records confirmed the UAZ, spotted in the footage, is assigned to IK-3 in Kharp, the prison Navalny was held in. These sanitary vehicles are equipped with a stretcher in a caged compartment, making the UAZ well-suited for body transport.

The passenger compartment of the AM model sanitary vehicle based on the Gazelle minibus. Photo: Novy Variant

After spending approximately an hour and a half in Salekhard, the UAZ returned to Labytnangi, a journey also captured on camera. The convoy’s return trip was less coordinated, with only a police patrol car detected leading the UAZ, maintaining a significant gap.

Contacting Mediazona

The Investigative Committee has declared Navalny’s body will not be released to his family for at least another 14 days.

On February 19, the webcams at the Salekhard-Labytnangi crossing were deactivated by the local provider. We’ve archived the footage from February 10 to 18, available on Google Drive and shared across two Telegram channels (camera 1, camera 2).

Should you possess any information regarding Navalny’s death or the details surrounding the transport of his body and are inclined to share, please contact Mediazona through the Telegram bot @mediazzzona_bot or via Protonmail at [email protected].

Editors: Dmitry Tkachev, Dmitry Treschanin

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