WASHINGTON (April 23, 2021)— The McCain Institute supports the rights of all Russians to peacefully protest against the tyrannical rule of Vladimir Putin. This week, Russians, again, took to the streets in support of Alexei Navalny and in response to Putin’s annual address to the nation. In that speech, Putin warned both domestic and international critics, saying, “I hope no one gets the idea to cross the so-called red line with Russia…” Russians have increasingly crossed so-called red lines, especially during the past year. This coincided with opposition leader and chief Putin antagonist Alexei Navalny’s poisoning and arrest.
The McCain Institute remains particularly concerned over the health and well-being of Navalny, who remains unjustly detained by the Kremlin the Pokrov penal colony. Navalny announced today that he is ending his hunger strike after his doctors pleaded with him to end it and he was examined by doctors who he trusted. Navalny’s change of mind came after public reports suggesting he lacked access to proper medical care and was being tortured. His treatment is unconscionable. Poisoning and jailing opponents are the actions of a desperate regime which is trying to cling onto power, but the Russian people are undeterred as they seek freedom from the oppression of Putin. The McCain Institute commends the bravery of Navalny in the face of this depraved cruelty and calls for his unconditional release immediately. Additionally, the attacks on and arrests of Navalny supporters and other democratic activists must discontinue. The McCain Institute supports recent Russia sanctions by the Biden administration pursuant to attacks on American elections, national security entities and such actions directed at US allies. Additionally, those responsible for continued attacks on Navalny and other democratic activists have to be held accountable through targeted sanctions, the seizing and freezing of assets and applying visa bans.
About the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University
Inspired by the character-driven leadership of Sen. John S. McCain and his family’s legacy of public service, the McCain Institute implements programs and initiatives to make a difference in people’s lives across a range of critical areas: leadership development, human rights, rule of law, national security, preventing targeted violence and combating human trafficking.
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