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With Navalny’s Death, Putin Is Feeling More Confident than Ever

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With Navalny’s Death, Putin Is Feeling More Confident than Ever

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After a decade of provoking Russian President Vladimir Putin through organized protest, anti-corruption investigations, and taunting social-media posts, the opposition leader Alexei Navalny has died in a Russian prison, from what the Kremlin claims was a pulmonary embolism. The New Yorker staff writer Masha Gessen, who knew Navalny, calls his death “a shock, but not a surprise,” and says that, had Navalny been killed a decade ago, the incident might have led to even more widespread outrage. But Russian citizens and the world have since grown accustomed to Putin’s iron grip on power. With Putin gaining momentum in his war on Ukraine and Western sanctions seeming to be unable to stop him, Navalny’s death does not appear to signal Putin’s weakness; rather, it suggests that the Russian President feels as emboldened as ever. Despite this, Gessen sees a future for Russia’s political opposition movement. “They’re not going to organize to bring down the regime,” Gessen tells Tyler Foggatt. “That’s not the project. The project is to have a politics in place for when the regime collapses under its own weight. And I think it’s not impossible that they could do it.”

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