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The #1 student news site of Yorba Linda High School

The Wrangler

The #1 student news site of Yorba Linda High School

The Wrangler

Russian Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny’s Legacy

Rolling Stone
Alexei Navalny was known for his ability to organize mass demonstrations against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After a failed prisoner swap attempt, the man described as “the thorn in Putin’s side” Alexei Navalny was reported dead by the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) on February 16th.

The opposition leader was being held in a remote Western Siberian penal colony where temperatures get to below minus 18 degrees Fahrenheit after being arrested for fraud. However, as the highest profile Putin adversary, his treatment is widely seen as politically motivated and an example of the Kremlin’s autocratic and corrupt dealings. 

The Wrangler previously reported on Russia’s longstanding tradition of persecuting political dissidents, as well as a previous assassination attempt on Navalny’s in 2020 and arrest in 2021.

Ever since he described the current Russian regime as a “party of crooks and thieves” and his development of the “Anti-Corruption Foundation,” he has put a target upon himself.

Despite widespread support from the Russian populace, he was forbidden from running in the 2018 election.

Navalny’s death was an unfortunate but foreseeable event that reminds us that Russia is still as despotic as it was forty years ago despite its shift away from communism.

— Ryan Hernandez (12)

In 2022, an eponymous documentary detailing his life and work won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, American Cinema Editors Award for Best Edited Documentary, BAFTA for Best Documentary, amongst 14 other wins and 30 nominations.

Information on states that he was held captive for 1124 days—around three years of his 19 year prison sentence.

YLHS Mustang Ryan Hernandez (12) who has been following Navalny’s actions amidst the past couple years of turmoil shared his opinion on this development: “Navalny’s death was an unfortunate but foreseeable event that reminds us that Russia is still as despotic as it was forty years ago despite its shift away from communism.”

He leaves behind his wife of more than two decades as well as a daughter and a son who have vowed to continue his life’s work. In fact some are calling Yulia Navalnaya the “new face of the Russian opposition movement.”

Navalnaya had scathing words for Putin in her televised speech to the European Union (EU) Parliament on the 28th, calling for him to be treated not as a “politician but [as] a bloody mobster,” and also warned that police could potentially arrest mourners. Regardless of the potential risks, thousands of supporters rallied to memorialize their leader, blaming Putin for his death, and more than 400 were in fact detained according to the Wall Street Journal.

According to Russian state media, if she or her children attempted to attend the funeral, they would also be arrested upon arrival.

During Navalnaya’s visit to the White House, President Biden pledged to sanction Russia and Putin himself. However, she declined his invitation to the State of the Union yesterday.

Navalny’s dedicated family, loyal colleagues, and emboldened advocates have pledged to carry on his legacy, especially in the wake of American Journalist Evan Gershkovich’s detention in Russia.

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About the Contributor
Anjeli Webb
Anjeli Webb, Editor-In-Chief
Anjeli Webb is a senior at Yorba Linda High School. While she is constantly pouring her heart and soul into writing, she also frequently enjoys well-written novels or groundbreaking news pieces. Anjeli values unbiased truth and freedom of speech and never fails to express it. This is her third year of writing for The Wrangler, and she is now an Editor-in-Chief. She is on the debate team, is the President of YLHS’ Turning Point USA chapter, is on the Superintendent’s High School Advisory Council, is a member of CSF and NHS, and is a player on the inaugural Varsity Flag Football team. Off-campus, she is a Junior Ambassador for the Yorba Linda Chamber of Commerce. Anjeli plans to continue journalism and change the world through language.

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