Alexei Navalny: “If they kill me, others will take my place” – The unpublished interview

He was convinced that his death “would change nothing” in the battle he fought in and that “many others were ready to take his place”. These were stated by Alexei Navalni, Vladimir Putin’s great opponent in Russia, in an interview he granted in December 2020 and had never been aired until today. This video was released today Wednesday (06/03/2024) by the French media Libération and LCI. “I believe that if they kill me nothing will change because there are other faces ready to replace me,” Navalni said then. The members of the groups who supported him “they know how to work without me, because I spend a lot of time in prison every year and are used to working without me,” he added. His organization “would continue to function, but it would certainly be more difficult psychologically as regards motivation,” he continued, stressing: “But there are others who can run”. Navalny died on February 16, under conditions that have still not been clarified, in an Arctic prison colony where he served a 19-year sentence for “extremism”. His funeral took place last Friday in Moscow. He had been imprisoned in early 2021 but continued to constantly denounce the repression and corruption of the Russian elite, as well as Russia’s attack on Ukraine. On 17 December 2020, in Berlin, just a year before his return to Russia and his arrest, Navalny met with Frenchman Jacques Merr who was then a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Mer had been appointed special rapporteur in the inquiry into Navalni poisoning and his goal was to examine the facts legally and verify the responsibility of the Russian authorities, according to the Libération newspaper. In the video testimony that Navalni gave to a hotel, he spoke, in English, about the conditions under which he was poisoned in Siberia in the summer of 2020, the role of secret services in his life after deciding to claim the Russian presidency and what he believed about Vladimir Putin. When Jacques Mer asked him if he believed he would be arrested on his return to Russia, he replied: “It’s a question I prefer not to answer (…) They put out constant threats, confiscated my apartment and my bank accounts (…) Am I going to be arrested at the airport? Or later? I have no idea.” “There are millions of people who refuse to live in a country where all power is concentrated in the hands of a single man,” he continued, adding: “At least half the country wishes Russia to be a normal European country but (Vladimir Putin) wants to do anything to suppress them, to discourage these kinds of thoughts or political movements”. The interview will be published tomorrow in the paper, under the title “Navalni, the posthumous interview”.