Yulia Navalnaya pledges to use US-based rights role to step up battle against Putin

Yulia Navalnaya, widow of late Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, said on Monday she would use a new role as chair of the US-based Human Rights Foundation (HRF) to step up her husband’s struggle against President Vladimir Putin.

The New York-based HRF said in a statement on Monday it had appointed Navalnaya to succeed former world chess champion and Kremlin critic Gary Kasparov as chair of the non-profit rights group, which provides humanitarian aid to Ukraine and runs campaigns against authoritarian leaders around the world.

Alexei Navalny, whom in life the Kremlin described as a dangerous US-backed extremist, died aged 47 in an Arctic prison in February after being sentenced to long jail terms on fraud and extremism charges that he, the West and his supporters said were politically motivated.



‘Heartbreaking tragedy’: thousands gather to mourn Russian opposition leader Navalny

‘Heartbreaking tragedy’: thousands gather to mourn Russian opposition leader Navalny

Navalnaya, who is located outside Russia and had two children with Navalny, accused Putin of having him murdered. The Kremlin denied the allegation which it said was baseless.

Navalnaya said after her husband’s death that she wanted to continue his work and has since met world leaders and suggested sanctions she believes would hasten the end of the current political system in Russia.

“As someone who has personally witnessed the threat dictatorships pose to our loved ones and the world at large, I am deeply honoured to take on the role of chair of the Human Rights Foundation,” Navalnaya, 47, said in the HRF statement.

Writing on X in Russian, she said her appointment would allow the Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF) that her late husband founded to share more widely its experience in conducting high-profile investigations and organising the work of activists.

There were also plenty of ideas which the ACF could borrow from the US-based foundation she would chair, she said.

Navalnaya, widow of Navalny, at the Humboldt Carre in Berlin on Wednesday. Photo: dpa via AP

“We will take on board everything that can be useful to fight Putin, to fight for the beautiful Russia of the future,” said Navalnaya.

“The main thing for me is the continuation of Alexei’s work. I believe that working with HRF can help me and the whole team to do that.”

Authorities in Russia have not so far designated Navalnaya as a “foreign agent” – a tag they have used to try to stigmatise other opponents.

The Kremlin has also commented on her sparingly, while suggesting that her presence outside Russia means she is out of touch with Russians and the pulse of her own country, an idea she has dismissed.



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