In Russia, politics may be a prominent discussion amongst citizens, but one thing is clear: President Vladamir Putin isn’t going anywhere. Although many people have accepted this fate, 44-year old blogger, Alexei Navalny, has done nothing of the sort.
After gaining a large social media following, Navalny has used his platform to challenge the Russian government and battle the silence the country has attempted to inflict upon him and his fellow citizens. Up until 2018, when he was convicted of embezzlement, Navalny has led large protests against the Russian government and has influenced others to take a stand as well.
According to BBC, Navalny has made negative claims about the Russian government including the fact that the United Russia party is full of “crooks and thieves” and he accuses the president of “sucking the blood out of Russia” through a “feudal state” concentrating power in the Kremlin.
Putin did not take this lightly, and as soon as Navalny stepped foot into Russia, he was arrested by police and sentenced for 30 days, claiming he violated his parole. Despite this, Navalny has continued to communicate with his viewers through social media posts, illuminating the fact that he believed this was a “fabricated case aimed at silencing him,” according to BBC.
When Navalny’s followers discovered that he had been put in jail, they were infuriated. Nearly 200 of his supporters chanted “Let him go! Russia will be free!” in front of the police station where Navaly was locked away.
According to BBC, his supporters believe this is a true step in the right direction, as it exposes Putin’s fear that Nevalny has the potential to change the balance of power in Russia.
Film director Vitaly Mansky, shared his views on the situation as he attended the protests regarding Nevaly’s arrest.
“They can detain him or arrest him, or take him away, but this movement cannot be slowed down or broken. I am here to witness historic moments. The fact that the authorities are so terrified of him is great, I am glad. Their fear is bringing their end closer,” he said.
According to BBC, Nevalny accuses Putin of poisoning him in August 2020. Back in August, Nevalny collapsed on a flight over Siberia and was taken to a local hospital by an emergency landing. He eventually went into a coma and was airlifted to Berlin for treatment. Last September, the German government revealed that Nevalny was in fact exposed to a “chemical nerve agent.”
Overall, it is obvious that Nevalny has not given up hope and even from behind bars, he will continue to fight for freedom, as will his supporters. He will not be silenced.