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In the short term, Navalni’s death will not undermine Putin’s power and reinforce the system of repression of the opposition

In the short term, Navalni's death will not undermine Putin's power and reinforce the system of repression of the opposition

Navalny has become Putin’s political martyr. Could his death undermine his leadership role within Russia or is the deterioration in his reputation just external?

Russians who previously had no sympathy for Navalny may change their views toward Putin and his leadership. However, state repression and control of mainstream media will limit both much of the public’s access to this news and the ability of those who oppose Putin to unite and organize.

What can be the future of Navalni’s movement without Navalni?

Navalny’s organization has faced widespread repression in Russia, leading some of its members to leave the country while others were also jailed. This has made it more difficult for them to spread their message. But the organization has continued to function to some extent despite the efforts of the Russian authorities, and I expect that its members will continue their work in one form or another in the future. Navalny’s activities over the past decade have shown that the Russian public is receptive to his investigations and messages about corrupt activities by officials.

Could his death trigger renewed social unrest against the Kremlin, especially now after two years of war in Ukraine?

There could be limited social unrest following Navalny’s death. However, over the past two years, the government has imposed a series of increasingly harsh repressive measures, first in relation to activities such as those of Navalny and then in relation to anti-war activities. This makes it very dangerous for Russians to take to the streets, regardless of their level of anger toward the authorities.

Is Navalny’s death a month before the elections a smart move for Putin?

It probably won’t have much impact on the presidential election. It is a foregone conclusion that Putin will win a unfree and unfair vote and that the security services will suppress any unrest that occurs.

International leaders believe Navalny’s death is evidence of the regime’s weakness. Is that true, or is it reinforcing the terror system that has guaranteed him his hold on power for more than two decades?

In the short term, this is unlikely to undermine Putin’s power and strengthen the system that has suppressed the opposition. In the longer term, it is possible that if economic or social conditions worsen, the lack of a meaningful opportunity to express dissent could lead to unrest that Putin and the security services would be unable to control.

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