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Statement on the Death of Alexei Navalny from Lyubov Sobol

Lyubov Sobol
Lyubov Sobol, Alexei Navalny, and Yulia Navalnaya march in memory of Boris Nemtsov
Moscow, Russia - February 29, 2020: (from left) Lyubov Sobol, Alexei Navalny, and Yulia Navalnaya march in memory of Boris Nemtsov

Lyubov Sobol is a lawyer and former opposition candidate for Moscow City Duma. She has been a key member of Alexei Navalny’s team since 2011, having worked with the anti-corruption project Rospil and its successor, the Anti-Corruption Foundation; on the Central Council of Navalny’s Russia of the Future party; and as a member of the production team for the Navalny Live YouTube channel. Sobol is currently a George F. Kennan Fellow at the Kennan Institute.

"The world is shocked by the news of Alexei Navalny's death in a remote Russian Arctic penal colony. We, his team, are shocked as well. The Russian authorities have stated that the cause of Navalny's death will be determined by medical professionals, but I deeply doubt that any medical professional in Russia would dare to conduct an independent examination.

I would like to specifically note that Navalny did not suffer from thromboembolism. He was absolutely healthy before being poisoned with Novichok, after which he also managed to recover his health thanks to the assistance of doctors from the renowned German clinic, Charité.

Needless to say how much Navalny did for the people of Russia. His contribution to building a democratic movement is truly immense. Navalny always believed in Russia and our people — so much that he returned home after his poisoning in 2021, ending up in torturous conditions in a Russian colony. Even there, he managed to maintain composure, keep up the good spirits and remain optimistic. In recent months, he looked emaciated as he had been tormented by lack of proper food and repeatedly placed in solitary confinement. But he never gave up. That was always his main message: do not give up, do not be afraid; there are many of us, and we will win.

In the dark and frightening times we're living, Navalny was a guiding star, and he remains one. He has already gone down in the history of our people as a hero. It is up to those he leaves behind to make his life have meaning and significance. For that, we need Putin's regime to come to an end, and we should not be afraid to say this publicly."

About the Author

Lyubov Sobol

Lyubov Sobol

George F. Kennan Scholar
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Kennan Institute

The Kennan Institute is the premier US center for advanced research on Russia and Eurasia and the oldest and largest regional program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Kennan Institute is committed to improving American understanding of Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the surrounding region though research and exchange.  Read more