Updated February 16th, 2024 at 20:04 IST

Alexei Navalny: Influential Voice in Russia Politics, ‘War Critic’ From Jail & Fiercest Foe of Putin

Navalny was seeking political office, and hence, he quickly earned the reputation of the enemy of Kremlin.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Russia's opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, is dead. | Image:AP
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Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most determined opposition figure and an influential voice in Russian politics with an astute understanding of internal matters of Russia, was declared dead, Friday. He was known for dark humour and fierce resolve against the ruling regime of Moscow who sought to bring democratic reforms into the state institutions. His political activism expanded to organizing anti-government protests, and he came to be known as the ‘fiercest foe of Putin.’ 

Navalny was seeking political office, and hence, he quickly earned the reputation of the enemy of Kremlin facing frequent jailing and attacks and hardships. The 47 year old politician, a figure of Russian resistance against the automatic regime, went into coma after consuming the poisoned tea during his flight to Moscow, and remained in grave condition in a Siberian hospital. He was moved to a clinic in Germany where doctors found Novichok type nerve agent into his system, which the dissented latter said was an assassination attempt on him by the Russia’s FSB.

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“Many times I was asked publicly and privately how I can support this terrible Navalny ... I always answered the same way: Alexei Navalny risks his life every day for his beliefs,” Grigory Chkhartishvili, a dissident Russian author of detective novels written under the pen-name Boris Akunin, wrote about Navalny on social media.

Russian Opposition leader Alexei Navalny. (AP)

Navalny's vision for younger generation: A ‘beautiful Russia of the future’

Putin’s critic was a lawyer by training. After Russia launched an all out invasion of Ukraine, he turned into a war critic from behind the prison. His team, a group of lawyers in exile, routinely posted on his behalf on social media openly slamming Russia’s war in Ukraine. Last year, Navalny and his team started an online political campaign against Putin and the war in Ukraine.

"It is now floundering in a pool of mud and blood, with broken bones, and an impoverished, robbed population; and with tens of thousands of people who have died in the most stupid and senseless war of the 21st century," Navalny said in a closing statement to the court after his hearing. His transfer into a harsher prison in Russia cut his contact off from the outside world. He slammed the ruling as "Stalinist" – comparing it to the Soviet prison camps set up by the then dictator Joseph Stalin in the 1930’s.

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Russian authorities have warned people against taking part in Wednesday's planned demonstrations over Navalny's jailing, which will coincide with Russian President Vladimir Putin's annual state of the nation address. (File: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP Photo)

Now deceased Navalny dared to criticise Kremlin’s tactics of instilling fear and despair against opponents. "Those in power cannot hold it without the arrest of innocent people. They jail hundreds to instill fear in millions," wrote Navalny. He then asked Russian to make “tiny” but constant contribution to resistance towards the Putin government. "There's no shame in choosing the safest way to resist. The shame is in doing nothing, in letting yourself be intimidated," wrote Navalny in his statement.

The political figure believed that the younger generation of Russians will eventually reclaim the “beautiful Russia of the future.”

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Published February 16th, 2024 at 20:04 IST