Moscow, Russia – Students For Liberty joins the international community in condemning the unjust imprisonment of Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition leader. On March 21, 2022, Navalny was sentenced to nine years in a high-security facility, replacing the three-and-a-half-year sentence he is already serving.
Navalny was found guilty of fraud and contempt of court after being accused of stealing $4.7 million in donations given to his now banned organizations, including his anti-corruption foundation FBK. This outlandish sentencing is simply a continuation of Vladimir Putin’s longstanding assault on critics, opposition figures, and advocates for government transparency and accountability in Russia.
Alexei Navalny’s public activism and fight against the Kremlin’s suppression of freedom of expression, human rights violations, and increasing restrictions on Russian citizens continues despite his near-fatal poisoning by Russian security services and imprisonment by Putin’s regime. Navalny’s actions have become a symbol of resistance against Putin’s authoritarian regime and its continued violation of the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens.
The crackdown on human rights, especially freedom of expression, intensifies as the Russian regime tries to hide the truth about its brutal and unjustifiable war against Ukraine from the Russian public. More than 15,000 Russian citizens have been arrested for taking part in anti-war protests since the beginning of the invasion on February 24. Russian authorities block access to independent news outlets and social media platforms while threatening journalists and citizens with prison if they speak out against the war or promote anything other than the Kremlin’s talking points.
Now, more than ever, we must hear the voices of the Russian people. We must listen to the truth about the corruption, violence, and blatant disregard for everything from international and domestic law, human rights standards, and the dignity of any Russian citizen who dares to speak out against Putin’s regime.
Students For Liberty calls for the immediate release of Alexei Navalny and an end to the repression of activists in Russia. We support the right of individuals to speak out, seek democratic changes and peacefully protest authoritarianism and human rights abuses. As one of the fundamental values of liberty, freedom of expression must be upheld. We call for a commitment to support free speech, the restoration of the information flow and transparency, as well as support for those opposing authoritarian regimes.
We invite you to join us at LibertyCon Europe on April 23-24, 2022, in Prague, Czech Republic, to talk directly to activists and opposition figures. Our session on Russia and Eastern Europe will feature Thornike Gordadze, Tatsiana Khomich, and Olha Konsevych, who will discuss the repressive actions of Putin’s regime, its aggression against neighbors, and its growing threat to peace and stability in Europe.