The Kremlin does not seem able to muzzle Alexei Navalny despite his detention. The Russian opponent, whose sentence this week to nearly three years in prison sparked firmly repressed protests, called on Thursday, February 4, 2021, his supporters to “overcome fear” and “liberate” Russia from “Thieves” in power.
“They can hold on to power and use it for personal enrichment by relying solely on our fear. But we, by overcoming this fear, we can free our homeland from this band of thieves who occupy it, ”wrote Alexeï Navalny, in a message posted on his Instagram account. “And we’re going to do it, we have to. For us and for future generations. The truth is on our side. Stay free, ”he continued in this message, his first reasoned reaction since his conviction on Tuesday. The message is accompanied by a photo showing him smiling during his trial in Moscow.
“Illusion of strength”
“Do not be fooled by this illusion of strength,” he added, referring to the muscular police response that has befallen his supporters across the country. Numerous NGOs, Russian media and Western capitals denounced the brutal crackdown on pro-Navalny rallies on January 23, 31 and February 2. This resulted in some 10,000 arrests – a record in recent years – punctuated by police violence.
Alexei Navalny once again accused the Kremlin of wanting to silence him after he survived a poisoning attempt this summer for which he holds Russian President Vladimir Putin responsible. “The manifest illegality that strikes me since I got off the plane is Putin’s revenge against me. Because I survived and dared to come back, ”wrote Alexeï Navalny. The opponent was arrested in Moscow on January 17, upon his return to Russia after five months of convalescence in Germany.