The Washington Post
A win for the dream of a free Russia
Oscar-winner ‘Navalny’ reminds us of the stakes in the struggle against dictatorship.
THE FILM “Navalny,” awarded best documentary feature film at the Academy Awards on Sunday, is not being screened at maximum security penal colony No. 6 east of Moscow where its star, Alexei Navalny, sits in solitary confinement. Nor is it being shown in public in Russia.
But the film’s well-deserved Oscar, with the spotlight it brings, should be a reminder of the enormous stakes for Russia and the world in the current calamity of war and dictatorship. “Aleksei, I am dreaming of the day when you will be free and our country will be free,” his wife, Yulia Navalnaya, said from the Oscar stage.
Mr. Navalny, the leading opposition voice to President Vladimir Putin, was the target of an assassination attempt by Russian security services using the chemical weapon Novichok in 2020, followed by sham charges of fraud and a prison sentence totaling 111/ years. He has
2 endured maltreatment and isolation from his family — and should be freed.
As Mr. Navalny wrote in our pages last year, Mr. Putin’s war of aggression not only seeks to destroy Ukraine but also raises the question of what kind of Russia will emerge from the war. Mr. Navalny warned that it could turn toward more militarization and authoritarianism, posing fresh dangers. Or, he suggested, a concerted effort could be made to create a Russian renaissance, taking power out of the hands of one leader and building a
It appears unlikely Russia will return to the democratic path it began in 1990s. Much will depend on the war’s outcome. Hopefully, Ukraine will become a thriving, open European society. But we agree with Mr. Navalny that postwar Russia must escape Mr. Putin’s grip and the oppressive autocracy he has imposed.