Democracy, Populism, & Domestic Politics, Power & Security, Russia In Russia, it’s not Navalny vs. Putin. It’s democracy vs. authoritarianism

March 22, 2021
By Alexander Vindman and Garry Kasparov | The Washington Post

On Feb. 25, Amnesty International stripped away the status of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny as a prisoner of conscience. By singling him out, the move was a blunder, one that undermines the Russian people’s fight against Putinism. If international attention remains focused only on the person rather than the protest movement, this will hinder the development of an opposition movement in Russia and inhibit the democratic world’s response to Putin’s authoritarianism.

Russian security services know it is easier to tarnish and eliminate a man rather than a movement. Amnesty’s announcement has aided the Kremlin’s desire to incapacitate the most serious challenge to the Putin regime in almost a decade. Now, with Navalny imprisoned and the protests ruthlessly subdued, the regime may be poised for another attempt on Navalny’s life, after the failure of his poisoning last year.

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