A. Kubilius. On Alexey Navalny

2024-02-21 | Alexey Navalny, Russia

I want to start from the words of Ilya Jashin, another political prisoner of Putin. In his public statement yesterday from the prison he said:

“The confrontation between Navalny and Putin showed the scale of the personalities of both. Alexey will remain in history as a man of exceptional courage, who went forward for what he believed in. He walked, despising fear and death. He walked with a smile and his head held high. And he died a hero.

Putin will remain a small man who accidentally received enormous power. A character who hides in a bunker, kills on the sly and makes millions of people hostage to his complexes. But I don’t wish him to die. I dream that he will answer for his crimes not only before God’s court, but also before the earthly court.“

Putin killed Navalny. He killed Navalny, because Navalny had a dream. 

Navalny fought for his dream of a “wonderful Russia of the future” (“прекрасная Россия будущего”): a normal, European, democratic Russia. 

This is the prospect of Russia that many Russians still believe in. And that is why Putin killed Navalny. 

Putin killed a man, but it is impossible to kill a dream. It has a life of its own and it will one day become a reality.

When that happens, depends not only on ordinary Russians, not only on the opposition to Putin or on Russian civil society. 

“The wonderful Russia of the future”: a normal, European, democratic Russia is not only Navalny’s dream, which will live on. 

It is also our dream, because the existence of the whole of Europe depends on its realisation – whether we will ever be able to live in a stable peace without the threat of a post-imperial, authoritarian, aggressive Russia. To protect ourselves against such a threat, we need to invest not only in NATO’s “deterrence and defence” strategies, not only in our own military capabilities in our countries, but also in the realisation of Navalny’s dream.

We have in our hands the most important instrument to help Navalny’s dream become a reality. These are the Ukrainian victories, which depend only on the Western support: they will open the window for transformations in Russia.

Putin will lose. He will be crushed first in Ukraine and then in Russia.

Putin’s defeat is our task and our job. This requires a long-term and an ambitious   Western strategy. 

We say goodbye to Alexei Navalny. But our struggle will continue. Dreams never die. We shall continue the fight of A. Navalny, and the entire democratic world will continue his fight. It would be very important for European Parliament to continue to be in the leadership of that fight.