Aleksei Navalny’s wife, doctor and colleagues have sounded an anguished alarm that the incarcerated Kremlin critic’s health is rapidly deteriorating and his heart could stop any minute. They and many other supporters of Mr. Navalny are demanding that his doctors be immediately allowed to see and treat him.
The decision clearly rests with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, and he should promptly agree. It may well be that Mr. Putin would prefer to be rid of his most effective critic — Mr. Navalny’s current ordeal, it will be recalled, began when Kremlin goons tried to kill him with a military nerve agent, an attack he survived only narrowly.
But Mr. Putin should understand that letting Mr. Navalny now perish in a labor camp would solidly confirm Mr. Putin as a “killer,” a characterization President Biden recently said he shares, and as a vengeful despot willing to go to any lengths against his critics. Mr. Putin has been around long enough to know how that would play abroad, and among Russians already showing fatigue with his increasingly authoritarian and open-ended rule. [Continue reading…]
The U.S. warned Russia of “consequences” if jailed opposition leader Alexey Navalny dies, deepening the conflict over the dissident who has already survived an alleged assassination attempt and is now engaged in the third week of a hunger strike.
Navalny’s supporters on Sunday called for demonstrations across Russia on April 21, to coincide with President Vladimir Putin’s state-of-the-nation address. Putin’s most outspoken critic has been imprisoned since March 11 at the notorious IK-2 prison camp about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Moscow for breaking parole rules. He’d gone to Germany to recover from a near-fatal chemical poisoning in Siberia that he and Western governments blamed on the Kremlin. Russian authorities deny any involvement.
“We have communicated to the Russian government…they will be held accountable by the international community,” U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. [Continue reading…]