With Navalny’s ‘death’, Russia’s loudest voice of dissent muted – Times of India


The death of Alexei Navalny, reported by the authorities in Russia on Friday, would leave the country without its most prominent opposition voice at a time when President Putin has amassed near-total power, invaded neighbouring Ukraine and drawn the sharpest divisions with US-led Western allies since the end of the Cold War.
The news comes less than a month before an election that will give Putin another six years in power.Escalating repression, internal rivalries and wartime nationalism had already left the opposition adrift.
Though Navalny had never united Russia’s disparate opposition groups, his status as Putin’s most prominent opponent had shaped organised opposition for years. Navalny’s influence was still felt even after he disappeared from the public arena following his imprisonment three years ago. “It would be impossible for someone to become Navalny 2.0 in today’s Russia,” said Ben Noble, a political scientist

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Navalny rose to prominence in the early 2010s when Putin still allowed a degree of political competition. Navalny skillfully combined the use of social media with traditional campaigning, political organising, and personal charisma to build a network of offices and a political media machine.
But now, dozens of political activists are in jail, including seven members of Navalny’s team. Russia’s most vocal opposition figures have been forced into exile. Navalny’s reported death has caused an outpouring of solidarity from opposition figures. “Aleksei is one of the most talented and brave people that I have known, “antiwar politician Boris Nadezdhin, who will run against Putin in next month’s polls.


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