Newsletters / Mikhail Khodorkovsky: After Navalny’s death, the West must get tougher with Putin

I call on Russians to demonstrate their resistance by writing the name “Alexei Navalny” on their ballot papers on March 17, in tribute to the regime’s latest and most prominent victim.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was a heroic opponent to President Vladimir
Putin, and he has paid the ultimate price. Putin murdered Navalny.

We salute Navalny’s courage and condemn the cowardice of his murderer — a leader so weak, he cannot tolerate any real opposition to his rule. Now Putin has Navalny’s blood on his hands, as he has the blood of so many before him.

Let this be a wake-up call to the world — not that one should have been needed: Putin’s murderous regime is illegitimate and should be treated as such.

Putin perpetrated this sickening murder one month before the sham officially known as the “Russian presidential election” takes place. Elections in Russia are neither free nor fair. Any genuine opponent to Putin is banned from running, if they haven’t been imprisoned, forced into exile or, as the fate of Navalny makes so tragically clear, killed.
The West must stop indulging this charade and declare this election and its result illegitimate. The last time a “Russian presidential election” took place, the West’s response was weakness and appeasement.

I hope it does not repeat the same mistakes.



Mikhail Khodorkovsky: Statement Regarding Alexei Navalny’s Murder

Vladimir Putin has murdered Alexei Navalny. This is the reality, irrespective of the actual cause of death. Alexei Navalny was first poisoned, and later arrested and locked up in prison, where he was held in torture conditions.

Putin murdered Navalny because Navalny was a charismatic, courageous, and strong politician. And he remained a very serious threat to authoritarian power even in prison conditions.

The tragic and untimely death of Alexei Navalny in a remote prison colony beyond the Arctic Circle once again raises the question of Putin’s legitimacy in international relations. “Presidential elections” are going to take place in Russia on 17 March. Even now it is understood that Vladimir Putin will be declared the victor.

The international community and the leaders of democratic countries must not – do not have the moral right to – recognize as the legitimate president of Russia a person for whom the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for the forcible deportation of Ukrainian children, a person who is going to be conducting his own elections on illegally occupied Ukrainian land, a person who murdered his personal political adversary right before the elections.



In the media:

The Russian opposition just lost its brightest star. What does it do now?

‘The regime killed him’: Khodorkovsky on Navalny’s death

Khodorkovsky: “Putin’s regime is responsible for Navalny’s death”