Navalny and Russia’s Fear Barrier
“Let’s at least not become a nation of frightened silent people…”
Who is Aleksei Navalny? Why is Vladimir Putin afraid of him?
Navalny is Russia’s foremost opposition leader. His YouTube and Tiktok videos documenting Putin’s corrupt rule have attracted millions of views. In 2020 Putin’s assassins tried to kill Navalny with novichok, a deadly military-grade nerve agent. But their plot failed and Navalny recovered in a German hospital.
Navalny returned to Moscow on January 20, 2021. Putin’s agents promptly arrested him. As you can see in today’s picture, he is confined to a small cell in penal colony located 60 miles east of Moscow. His crime is being Putin’s most influential critic.
Although Navalny is in prison, he is aware of the ongoing war in Ukraine. Yesterday his spokesperson successfully posted Navalny’s appeal to the Russian people: “Let’s at least not become a nation of frightened silent people, of cowards who pretend not to notice the aggressive war against Ukraine unleashed by our obviously insane tsar.”
Will the Russian people respond to Navalny’s appeal? A mass protest movement could be the best way to stop the war and end Putin’s lawless reign of terror. Will the Russian people challenge Putin’s big lie that the “special military operation” in Ukraine was forced upon Russia by an overly aggressive NATO and that the Ukrainian people will welcome the Russian soldiers as liberators?
Russians are beginning to break thru the fear barrier. Thousands have taken to the streets to protest Putin’s insane war. But authorities are vigorously moving to crush dissent. During the past week they have detained over 7,000 Russian protestors.
Will Putin’s crackdown succeed? Will NATO’s economic sanctions and Russia’ increasing isolation galvanize the Russian people to launch an irresistible tidal wave of mass protests? In Ukraine fearless unarmed citizens are blocking highways to prevent the movement of Russian tanks. Navalny is calling upon the Russian people to break thru the fear barrier by demonstrating similar commitment to freedom. Much is at stake.
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