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ICYMI: Rubio Pays Tribute to Alexei Navalny

Feb 21, 2024 | Press Releases

Alexei Navalny’s Death Is a Loss for Russia and the World

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)

February 21, 2024

Newsweek

…For more than 10 years, [Alexei] Navalny openly opposed the Russian dictator, calling out the “crooks and thieves” in the Kremlin who enabled his corrupt reign. Navalny knew exactly what the consequences for his dissent might be…. Still, he continued to press for change in Russia, because he loved his country more than his own life….

In 2020, Putin tried to poison Navalny…. What followed, however, was even more remarkable: Navalny decided to re-enter Russia the following year…. This courage didn’t go to waste. I met with Russian opposition figures in 2022, and even though the Kremlin had just arrested both Navalny and anti-authoritarian activist Vladimir Kara-Murza, I could tell that the Russian people’s aspirations for freedom were alive and well….

I’m sure the Kremlin feels more secure with their chief domestic opponents gone…. But that just shows the weakness of authoritarian governments. Navalny, for one, saw politics more clearly than Putin. His prediction that the dictator’s closed, fear-based system would reap degradation for Russia proved devastatingly accurate, as the war in Ukraine continues to take thousands of lives and waste trillions of rubles.

What would the world look like if Putin had listened to his opponents rather than his yes-men? What would it look like if other authoritarians did the same…? Such a world would be safer for West-aligned democracies…. But it would also be a better world for the people of Russia, Venezuela, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, North Korea, Iran, and so many other countries. 

That dictators like Putin prefer this world to that one reveals their great tragedy—that their ultimate goal is not their nations’ well-being, but self-preservation and self-aggrandizement. Alexei Navalny…was different. He put his nation first, up till the bitter end…. [W]e could use more people like him.

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