Russian Opposition Devastated By High-Profile Death

An Arctic prison camp was the site of the alleged murder of Russian journalist and political critic Alexei Navalny, who was serving a 19-year sentence for extremism.

Many people throughout the world are thinking he was killed after it was announced that he suddenly died.

It seems as if most of Russia’s political dissenters are either dead, in jail, or exiled. Opinions on Russia’s leadership and future are divided among the country’s leading political figures and the surviving political groups. Putin is set to fight (although many people feel it is rigged) for reelection for a sixth term next month. Not a single anti-war candidate has been announced.

The biggest problem with the Russian opposition, says UNC-Chapel Hill political science professor Graeme Robertson, is that it can’t win over people who aren’t liberals.

Despite his groundbreaking work coordinating a countrywide resistance, not all members of the Russian opposition approved of Navalny or his organization. Members of his staff and other politicians were already publicly and intensely arguing online on how to challenge Putin in the following March election while he was still alive.

The Russian leader has continued to solidify his rule by stifling domestic dissent, imprisoning those who oppose the crisis in Ukraine, and banning independent media. Disagreements between opposition members don’t help.

The opposition activists and leaders who have managed to escape Russia are now attempting to formulate a strategy to counter the Russian government. To reach Russians living in the country and provide them with a different future than the one envisioned by the Kremlin, it would be necessary to disrupt official propaganda.

In the three years after Navalny’s detention, the Russian government enacted more laws limiting free speech and jailed dissidents, who were often ordinary residents, for decades on end.

The most significant way to cope with Navalny’s death, say some Russian strategists, is to keep working together to convince ordinary Russians to vote in the March presidential election.

Throughout the election, anti-Putin factions encouraged Russians to cast ballots for Navalny to express their discontent.