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Navalny, enemy number 1 of the Kremlin

Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev Agence France Presse Alexei Navalny, during an appearance before a Moscow court, February 20, 2021.

France Media Agency in Moscow


  • Europe

Poisoned, imprisoned, convicted and died in prison. Alexeï Navalny paid with his life for his fight against Vladimir Putin, tirelessly denouncing the repression and corruption of his regime, as well as the assault he launched against Ukraine.

Incarcerated since January 2021, last August he was given yet another sentence: 19 years for “extremism” to be spent in one of the harshest establishments in the Russian prison system.

He was transferred at the end of 2023 to a remote penal colony in the Arctic, which announced his death on Friday.

Aged 47, this tall blond with piercing blue eyes appeared emaciated and aged during the last remote broadcasts of the last hearings in which he was involved, the last way to see him.

The poisoning he suffered in 2020, a hunger strike and repeated stays in solitary confinement had left a physical mark on him.

Putin on loop

But prison had not dampened his determination.

During the hearings and in messages broadcast through his lawyers, he constantly insulted Vladimir Putin, whom he had described as “a grandpa hiding in a bunker”.

During his trial for “extremism”, in early August 2023, he castigated “the stupidest and most senseless war of the 21st century”, referring to the Russian assault on Ukraine.

In his online messages, he was ironic about the bullying the prison administration subjected him to. In particular, it forced him to listen, day after day, to one and the same speech by Vladimir Putin: “yet it’s not as if he made few of them! »

Alexeï Navalny also tried to show his support for his comrades in misfortune, imprisoned due to repression, denouncing a “fascist” Russian justice system.

From abroad, its teams continue to broadcast investigations into the enrichment of political elites, some of whom directly benefit from the conflict in Ukraine.

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The opponent also always tried to display a certain optimism. “I know that the darkness will disappear, that we will win, that Russia will become a peaceful, bright and happy country,” he wrote in June 2023.

In a dozen years, lawyer Navalny, who for a time flirted with nationalism, established himself as number one detractor of Mr. Putin and his “party of thieves and crooks ”, as he called it.

He first made himself known by collaborating in the organization of large opposition demonstrations in 2011 and 2012, which were ultimately repressed. In 2013, he came second in the municipal elections in Moscow, a tour de force amplifying his notoriety.

Harassed by the authorities, ignored by the official media, Alexeï Navalny built a 2.0 notoriety during the 2010s, with the broadcast of viral video investigations denouncing the corruption of Russian power.

On the contrary, Vladimir Putin refuses to even pronounce his name.

Mr. Navalny has managed to build a base among urban and connected Russian youth, but his popularity on a national and transgenerational scale remains very limited.

Never be silent

Among the detractors of Russian power, some still criticized it for its flirtations with the far right or its ambiguity on the 2014 annexation of Ukrainian Crimea by Russia.

But his case had become a cause for all opponents, NGOs and Westerners when he was poisoned in August 2020 in Siberia, in the middle of the campaign for regional elections.

On the verge of death, he was transferred to Germany for treatment, with the agreement of the Kremlin.

Recovered and far from being intimidated, Alexeï Navalny made a comeback in December 2020 by trapping a Russian agent who admitted, on the telephone, that his poisoning was indeed the work of the secret services.< /p>

In the process, refusing any idea of ​​exile, he returned to Russia on January 17, 2021, certain of being arrested there. As soon as he arrived at the airport, in front of the world's cameras, he was taken into custody.

Two days later, the opponent achieved another brilliant coup. In a new video investigation, Vladimir Putin is accused of having built a crazy luxury palace on the Black Sea. The impact is such that the Russian president must personally take charge of the denial.

These successes and the affair of his poisoning did not, however, mobilize the crowds in Russia, the demonstrations being quickly repressed.

The authorities seemed determined to make life impossible for the opponent who, for his part, said he was determined never to give in.

“I will not be silent and I hope that everyone who hears me will not be silent,” he said in court in September 2022, after having spent 12 days in solitary confinement for having denounced the Russian offensive against Ukraine.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116