NED Statement on the Death of Russian Opposition Leader Aleksey Navalny

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, his wife Yulia, opposition politician Lyubov Sobol and other demonstrators march in downtown Moscow on February 29, 2020. (Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images.)

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is deeply saddened by the tragic death of Russian opposition leader Aleksey Navalny in prison at age 47. Navalny’s death comes after three years of unjust imprisonment, torture, and denial of adequate medical care at the hands of the Russian regime. NED calls for a thorough and transparent investigation into the surrounding circumstances—and the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners arbitrarily detained in Russia for speaking against the regime.

“If this is true, I want Putin and everyone around Putin, Putin’s friends, his government to know they will bear responsibility for what they did to our country, to my family, and to my husband,” said Yulia Navalnaya, wife of Aleksey Navalny, at the Munich Security Conference, which gathers influential policymakers and world leaders only hours after reports of her husband’s death. “I want to call on the entire world community, all the people in this room, and all over the world so that we unite together and defeat this evil, defeat the horrific regime that is now in Russia.”

Navalny has devoted his life to the struggle against the Putin regime’s corruption and repression at huge personal risk. Most notably, only a few months after surviving a Kremlin assassination attempt, he decided to return to Russia in 2021 to face almost certain imprisonment.

His commitment and personal courage have made him a hero to Russians seeking a democratic future for their country and to their allies and supporters around the world. His immense personal sacrifice will inspire those fighting for a democratic Russia to devote even greater effort to their cause.

“The entire team at NED expresses our solidarity with Aleksey Navalny, his family, political prisoners in Russia, and the democratic aspirations of all Russian citizens.” said Miriam Lanskoy, senior director for Eurasia at NED.