Navalny’s death: silencing a captive voice

Navalny’s death: silencing a captive voice

  • Nigel Gould-Davies - International Institute of Strategic Studies
  • Feb 19th, 2024

Navalny’s death is Russia’s latest test of Western resolve. There are two possible ways the West can respond.

Alexei Navalny was the most talented Russian opposition leader, organiser and communicator of his generation. His sudden death in an Arctic prison reveals the Kremlin’s vindictive insecurity. The key question now is how the international community will respond.  

Just a day before his death, Navalny appeared to be in reasonable health and good spirits. We may never know how he died, and we can have no confidence in the official version. The authorities’ failure to hand over his body to his relatives suggests they wish to conceal the truth, and perhaps also delay the funeral that will be a focal point of protest. But whatever the cause of his death, it is clear Navalny was de facto killed by the Russian state, which succeeded at what it failed to do with the military-grade nerve agent Novichok in 2020. With decades in prison ahead of him, a life sentence in conditions that amounted to slow torture became a death sentence.  

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