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Business News/ News / World/  ‘If they decide to kill me…’: What Putin’s critic Alexei Navalny, Russia’s Mandela, said in video message before death
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‘If they decide to kill me…’: What Putin’s critic Alexei Navalny, Russia’s Mandela, said in video message before death

Alexei Navalny, a critic of the Russian government, urged his countrymen to not give up in a video message. He believed that their strength could overcome oppression.

Photos, flowers and candles are displayed at a makeshift memorial for Alexei Navalny outside the Russian consulate in Montreal, Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. Navalny, who crusaded against official corruption and staged massive anti-Kremlin protests as President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest foe, has died in the Arctic penal colony where he was serving a 19-year sentence. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP) (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)Premium
Photos, flowers and candles are displayed at a makeshift memorial for Alexei Navalny outside the Russian consulate in Montreal, Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. Navalny, who crusaded against official corruption and staged massive anti-Kremlin protests as President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest foe, has died in the Arctic penal colony where he was serving a 19-year sentence. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP) (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)

His supporters considered him Russia’s Nelson Mandela. They thought the 47-year-old would eventually get out of jail to govern the nation. On February 16, while on a walk, Alexei Navalny fell unconscious and never woke up. 

The key leader in Russia's divided opposition died at a prison camp located north of the Arctic Circle. He was serving a 19-year sentence.

Also Read: ‘Putin is responsible’, Joe Biden ‘outraged’ over Kremlin critic's reported demise | Top 10 points

A couple of years back, one of strongest voices against Russian President Vladimir Putin left a video message for his countrymen. In the 2022 movie “Navalny" by Daniel Rohr, the well-known critic of the Russian government said, “You’re not allowed to give up."

“If they decide to kill me, it means we are incredibly strong. We need to utilise this power to not give up, to remember we are a huge power that is being oppresses by these bad dudes. We don’t realise how strong we actually are," he said.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing. So, don’t be inactive," he added.

Poisoning in 2020

In August 2020, Navalny got sick on a plane from Tomsk to Moscow. The plane landed quickly, which helped save him. He was then taken to Berlin for treatment. There, tests found he was poisoned with Novichok, a Soviet-made toxin. Navalny gained respect for choosing to come back to Russia in 2021 from Germany.

Also Read: Alexei Navalny 'had to die': How world reacted to death of Vladimir Putin's critic

Putin did not agree with a report claiming Russian agents tried to kill Navalny. "If someone had wanted to poison him, they would have finished him off," he said.

Kremlin on Navalny

The Kremlin has rejected claims by Navalny about corruption and Putin's wealth. "Corruption is the foundation of contemporary Russia, it is the foundation of Mr Putin’s political power," Navalny told Reuters in an interview in 2011.

Also Read: Alexei Navalny death: What was India's stance after Putin critic was poisoned with nerve agent in 2020?

Navalny's group is banned, and many of his top supporters have left Russia for Europe. Russian officials label Navalny as an extremist controlled by the US CIA, who aimed to stir revolution to weaken Russia for Western control.

Navalny got arrested many times for leading protests and faced several legal cases for corruption, embezzlement and fraud. Navalny argued that all cases against him had been politically driven.

In 2023, Navalny received an additional 19-year sentence. The Kremlin has said President Putin was informed about Navalny’s death.

(With Reuters inputs)

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Sounak Mukhopadhyay
Sounak, spinning the digital news scene since 2012, crafts trendy articles for LiveMint.
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Published: 17 Feb 2024, 07:14 AM IST
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