Portada » Alexei Navalny: The candle brought some light into Putin’s darkness; now they’ve turned it off | International

Alexei Navalny: The candle brought some light into Putin’s darkness; now they’ve turned it off | International

by Isabella Walker
0 comment

My country and that of Alexei Navalny no longer exist. A Russia that destroys her children in this way cannot be a land of men, a land of men. This state that calls itself the Russian Federation and brings death and calamity to the entire world and its own population should not directly exist.

In today’s Russia, Alexei Navalny would inevitably have lost his life. A dictatorship means that the people remain silent and rejoice at the word of the leader. The regime saw this man as a threat to itself, which it wanted to silence by imprisoning him for more than 20 years. They tried to poison him, without success. Now they have executed him. In Russia there is no official death penalty. But it exists: here it is and this is just the beginning. This criminal power does not care who it kills; to the Ukrainians, to their young people mobilized for this deadly assault or to the political prisoners. The “red wheel” that Solzhenitsyn wrote about continues to turn.

Today, after the brutal carnage in Ukraine and the total destruction of the opposition in Russia, it is impossible to imagine what the possibility was just a few years ago: that Navalny could have been on the campaign trail and speaking at election rallies all the time. Village.

What kind of president would he have been? I do not know. It could have been great, but it could also have been a flop. There would only be one way to prove it: free elections in which he would win. But free elections require free citizens. Democracy begins with the dignity of the person. How much human dignity does the majority of the Russian population feel within?

I will never forget how after an election event in a Russian provincial town, a person approached Navalny after he had given his speech and said: “Alexei, I like what you say, I like you. But first become my president and then I will vote for you.”

Everyone wondered, and now they will ask even more, why Navalny returned to Russia, knowing that he would be arrested. I say “knowingly” because yes, he knew. He was a fighter. I knew I had to get to the bottom of it. But I didn’t want to be a victim just for the sake of being a victim, I didn’t want to go to the slaughterhouse, I wanted to win. He believed that he would win and with this belief he infected everyone, both those around him and the entire country and far beyond.

Join EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits.


In Russia, those who overthrow the regime have always been prisoners. This is what happened in the 1917 Revolution and this is what happened with the end of Soviet power. The Soviet regime, which seemed indestructible, collapsed under the books of Solzhenitsyn, a former recluse. The experience of prison is always advantageous for a Russian politician: those who have been in prison are closer to that “mass of voters” whose entire life is permeated by “prison culture”.

Navalny’s political calculation turned out to be wrong. His sacrifice did not impress the majority of Russians who remained loyal to Putin and did what the regime asked of them. I’m sure he would have been a good president for the country. But where to find a Russia in which to become president? Such a Russia does not exist today.

Alessio didn’t really know the country he gave his life to. He became a politician after the collapse of the USSR, in that brief historical period in which freedom arrived in Russia, public and political life took off and the free press emerged. For him this was his country; a country where everything was possible. Navalny fit the typology of the Western politician, someone who knows that he has to fight for the votes of voters, that he has to be a public person and a transparent human being, responsible for his words and that he has to be held accountable.

But Russian politics doesn’t work like that. In Russia, power is not achieved through elections – these are manipulated anyway – but we need to go where the real power is.

For some time now there has been a phrase that has become internationally known: the political struggle in Russia is a struggle under the carpet. Navalny could not and did not want to be one of these bulldogs. He believed that people would follow him to Russia. This was an idealistic, beautiful but also very naive belief for this country.

The free and active political life to which Alexei devoted himself in the 1990s was just a whisper on the surface of the Russian ocean, or the giant Russian swamp, depending on which metaphor best fits. He judged men according to his own standards. He started from the assumption that, if for him the rights of the person, his freedom and his dignity, were the most important values ​​in life, these were also the most relevant for others. He believed he could convince, inspire and guide men into the future. And, in fact, tens of thousands of young people followed him. But the country has moved in the opposite direction.

Putin’s dream is the rebirth of the USSR. The country is ruled by those who have built their careers and live in the Soviet KGB. His dream – the rebirth of the country of his youth – is coming true before our eyes. In this country the citizens obediently put their heads on the scaffold and sigh: the Tsar knows why we die now, and we must die. In this country there is no place for Navalny and for any young man who does not want to build his life in the gulags but in freedom.

If Alexei had known what would happen after his arrest; If you had known that the opposition would lose completely, that the regime would start an abominable war against Ukraine, and that the majority of the population would support this atrocity, would you have dared to take this step again? Would he return to Russia to go to prison and be murdered? I do not know. But I suspect he would have. Well, there have always been, there are and there will be people who pursue a goal that matters more to them than their own life.

Alexei Navalny helped all of us. He gave us hope thanks to his existence, his will not to give up and to resist until the end. Now we are your hope.

Follow all international information on Facebook AND Xor inside our weekly newsletter.

Sign up to continue reading

Read without limits


You may also like