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Alexei Navalny: The one man Putin refused to say by identify – who by no means gave up battle in opposition to Russia’s corrupt regime | World Information

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Alexei Navalny lived and died preventing in opposition to Vladimir Putin’s regime and the corruption at its coronary heart.

Barred in 2018 from operating in elections, he remained Mr Putin’s strongest political opponent.

He was the one man able to bringing tens of 1000’s on to the streets calling for a Russia with out Mr Putin – and the one man Russia’s president famously refused to say by identify.

Follow live: Putin critic ‘felt unwell after walk’

He was cussed, sarcastic and exceptionally charismatic – a born populist with a way of humour which appealed particularly to the younger.

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His YouTube investigations into Mr Putin’s cronies, and eventually the president himself, garnered thousands and thousands of views and uncovered graft of the best order. He acquired ever extra highly effective enemies.

For a decade, Mr Navalny was tolerated by the Kremlin. He endured a seemingly countless succession of arrests, court docket appearances and durations in detention however he survived.

In August 2020, that modified.

Picture:
Alexei Navalny talks along with his attorneys Olga Mikhailova, left, and Vadim Kobzev throughout a listening to in 2021. Pic: AP

The financial scenario was deteriorating and discontent aggravated by the pandemic was rising.

Coupled with that, the Kremlin had an eye fixed on parliamentary elections the next yr, which Mr Navalny had vowed to disrupt by an alternate voting system.

In a resort room within the Siberian metropolis of Tomsk, on a fact-finding mission for one in all his investigations, Mr Navalny was poisoned.

The groans recorded by a fellow passenger on the flight again to Moscow had been the primary indication that one thing horrible was incorrect.

Moments later he fell right into a coma.

He later mentioned his life was saved by the pilot, who executed an emergency touchdown regardless of warnings of a bomb risk on the airport, and by paramedics who instantly administered the antidote atropine on the airport tarmac.

For 3 days Mr Navalny’s spouse Yulia fought to have him airlifted to Berlin, lastly making an enchantment on to Mr Putin, whereas medical doctors in Omsk the place he was in hospital dithered over the prognosis.

As soon as in Berlin, a German navy laboratory recognized the poison in query. It was novichok, the weapons grade nerve agent used two years earlier in opposition to Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury.

As soon as once more – a banned chemical weapon – and an assault which bore all of the hallmarks of the Russian state.

The West imposed sanctions and demanded a full investigation. However the Kremlin refused, even going as far as to counsel Mr Navalny might have poisoned himself.

Mr Putin shrugged off the accusations and returned to a well-recognized theme, that Mr Navalny was an agent of the West.

“Who wants him anyway?”, the Russian president mentioned at his annual information convention.

“If [they] had wished to, they might have in all probability completed it.”

Within the care of medical doctors at Berlin’s Charite hospital, Mr Navalny made a protracted however miraculous restoration.

From his hospital mattress, he laid the groundwork for his most damning investigation but – into what he known as “Putin’s palace”, a billion greenback residence on Russia’s Black Coastline.

Thanks too to the investigative work of Bellingcat and its Russian companions, he was capable of decide the identities of the six intelligence officers who had poisoned him – even managing to get one in all them to confess that the poison had been positioned in his underpants.

After his recuperation, Mr Navalny surprised the world by saying he would return to Russia.

“Russia is my nation, Moscow is my metropolis, I miss them,” he posted on Instagram.

He knew what was in retailer. He was arrested at passport management for supposedly breaking parole and positioned in pre-trial detention.

Alexei Navalny looks at a camera while speaking from a prison via a video link in 2022
Pic: AP
Picture:
Alexei Navalny seems to be at a digicam whereas talking from a jail through a video hyperlink in 2022. Pic: AP

Two days later his Putin’s Palace investigation went viral. Inside weeks it had been seen greater than a 100 million occasions.

A lawyer himself, Mr Navalny by no means confronted due course of in opposition to a raft of politically motivated prosecutions – however he by no means gave up the battle. And he requested the folks not to surrender both.

“I’m preventing as finest I can,” he mentioned in a single court docket look. “And I’ll proceed to take action, even though I am now beneath the management of people that like to smear all the pieces with chemical weapons.

“My life is not price two cents, however I’ll do all the pieces I can in order that the regulation prevails. And I salute all of the sincere folks throughout the nation who aren’t afraid and who take to the streets.”

Tens of 1000’s did in cities throughout the nation – the most important unsanctioned protests in Putin’s Russia.

Greater than 10,000 folks had been detained. However these could be the final large-scale protests Russia would witness.

When Mr Putin invaded Ukraine, Mr Navalny known as on the folks from his jail cell to take a stand, however solely a small minority had been courageous sufficient to attempt. Anti-war protests had been shortly crushed.

Regardless of his finest efforts to provide a voice to the folks, his message didn’t resonate with a majority of Russians, cowed by twenty years’ of Mr Putin’s rule.

The Kremlin piled recent costs in opposition to him of extremism and terrorism – one depend, absurdly, being the rehabilitation of Nazism.

In August 2023, he was sentenced to an extra 19 years in jail in a particular penal regime, for the very worst offenders.

It was successfully a dying sentence. On fixed rotation by solitary confinement, Mr Navalny’s well being deteriorated.

His dying in jail at simply 47 is one other appalling stain on the conscience of the Russian state.



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