Russia’s Navalny calls Putin insane and urges anti-war protests

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny delivers a speech during a rally to demand the release of jailed protesters, who were detained during opposition demonstrations for fair elections, in Moscow, Russia September 29, 2019. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

 Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has called on Russians to stage daily protests against Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, depicting President Vladimir Putin as an “obviously insane tsar.”

Navalny called for protests across the country and abroad to signal that not all Russians support the war and show solidarity with the thousands of people detained in anti-war protests in Russia since last week’s invasion.

Navalny continued his Twitter thread as follows:

I cannot, do not want and will not remain silent watching how pseudo-historical nonsense about the events of 100 years ago has become an excuse for Russians to kill Ukrainians, and for Ukrainians to kill Russians while defending themselves. It’s the third decade of the 21st century, and we are watching news about people burning down in tanks and bombed houses. We are watching real threats to start a nuclear war on our TVs. I am from the USSR myself. I was born there. And the main phrase from there – from my childhood – was “fight for peace.” I call on everyone to take to the streets and fight for peace. Putin is not Russia. And if there is anything in Russia right now that you can be most proud of, it is those 6824 people who were detained because – without any call – they took to the streets with placards saying “No War”. They say that someone who cannot attend a rally and does not risk being arrested for it cannot call for it. I’m already in prison, so I think I can. We cannot wait any longer. Wherever you are, in Russia, Belarus or on the other side of the planet, go to the main square of your city every weekday and at 2 pm on weekends and holidays. If you are abroad, come to the Russian embassy. If you can organize a demonstration, do so on the weekend. Yes, maybe only a few people will take to the streets on the first day. And in the second – even less. But we must, gritting our teeth and overcoming fear, come out and demand an end to the war. Each arrested person must be replaced by two newcomers. If in order to stop the war we have to fill prisons and paddy wagons with ourselves, we will fill prisons and paddy wagons with ourselves. Everything has a price, and now, in the spring of 2022, we must pay this price. There’s no one to do it for us. Let’s not “be against the war.” Let’s fight against the war.

@navalny Twitter

Some 6,840 people have been detained at anti-war protests since the invasion began on Feb. 24, according to the OVD-Info protest-monitoring group.

Navalny, 45, has been the biggest thorn in the Kremlin’s side for over a decade, persistently detailing what he says is high-level corruption and mobilising crowds of young protesters in a country where the opposition has no meaningful power.

But his appeal to Russians outside big cities appears limited and the opposition’s ability to challenge Putin has been hampered by the authorities’ moves to stifle dissent in the past few years and by the state’s tight grip on the media.

Reuters The Week

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