Poisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny heads back to Russia | DW Deutsch
Internal strife flared up in the ranks of the Russian opposition again
An article by prominent liberal Grigory Yavlinsky criticizing Navalny sparked heated debate
WASHINGTON – Prominent Russian liberal politician Grigory Yavlinsky provoked internal strife in the ranks of the opposition by sharply criticizing Alexei Navalny.
“It is up to everyone to support or not support Navalny as a politician,” Yavlinsky wrote in his article. “But one must understand: democratic Russia, respect for man, freedom, life without fear and without repression are incompatible with Navalny’s policy.”.
Yavlinsky, who ran twice for president, in 1996 against Boris Yeltsin and in 2000 against Vladimir Putin, has repeatedly criticized Navalny in the past, and this week he again called the opposition xenophobe and authoritarian nationalist..
Yavlinsky posted his comments amid recent protests calling for the release of Navalny from prison, which appear to be unresponsive to most Russians..
A poll conducted by the independent Levada Center from January 29 to February 2 shows that the general public has little interest in the unrest.
The poll showed that only 15 percent of Russians are ready to participate in future protests in support of Navalny. That’s four percent less than November 2020.
In addition, only 22 percent of respondents rated the recent protests positively..
Fighting within the Russian opposition is common. Opponents of President Vladimir Putin include representatives from a wide variety of sectors of the political spectrum, from ultra-right nationalists to old-school communists, and in the center are motley liberal groups..
Navalny’s allies have called on the Yabloko party to expel Yavlinsky, and fierce controversy has erupted in opposition forums on social media, raising the likelihood that opposition groups will again move in different directions ahead of the September parliamentary elections.
Navalny was a member of Yabloko himself, but in 2007 he was expelled due to “nationalist” views, which other party members considered unacceptable.
Navalny denies accusations of xenophobia and says that he was expelled from Yabloko because he made no secret of his desire to take Yavlinsky’s place.
Some opposition figures say Yavlinsky should not criticize a person who is now in prison as a political prisoner and is unable to speak out in his defense..
Last week, former oil tycoon and outspoken critic of Putin, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, said he disagreed with Navalny on some issues, but when a person becomes a political prisoner, he must be supported..