Jailed Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny called early Wednesday for Russians to protest Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, and he labeled President Vladimir Putin an “obviously insane czar.”
“Let’s at least not become a nation of frightened silent people. Of cowards who pretend not to notice the aggressive war against Ukraine unleashed by our obviously insane czar,” Navalny said Wednesday in a statement published on Twitter by his spokesperson.
“We cannot wait any longer,” Navalny said. “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.”
Navalny was first detained in January 2021 when he returned to Russia from Germany, where he had been recovering from a near-fatal nerve agent attack. He was put on a new trial in February 2022 for charges that could add 10 years to his current prison sentence.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Both Navalny and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy have received praise from the West for their courage in the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime. Zelesnkyy was reportedly offered the opportunity to evacuate Kyiv by the U.S., but declined, asking for “ammunition, not a ride.”
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