Yulia Navalnaya storms into TIME’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people

Photo: TIME magazine

Photo: TIME magazine

Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of late Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, has spoken to TIME magazine about her decision to enter politics, after being featured on the cover of its latest issue, which is dedicated to the world’s 100 most influential people.

Asked if she believed that her late husband, who died in prison in February, would have wanted her to follow in his footsteps, Navalnaya said that she’d rather not “make guesses” on the issue.

“We did not talk about it. I just thought that this can’t be allowed to happen. If they think they can kill Alexey and that’s the end of it, they are wrong,” Navalnaya said, adding that a video she posted three days after Navalny’s death in which she vowed to continue his work was meant to give people “some kind of hope”.

“Most of all, I want the Kremlin and its officials to understand: if they killed Alexey, then I will step up. If they do something to me, another person will come,” she stressed.

Navalnaya also expressed her frustration with Western sanctions on Russia, which she called “laughable” and “an insult to Alexey’s memory”, before reiterating her call for sanctions to target “Putin’s friends and members of his inner circle”.

Navalnaya insisted that millions of Russians did not support the war in Ukraine despite Russian opinion polls providing a different picture. “Almost everyone opposes the war, they just do so in different ways. There is a great number of anti-war people who remain in Russia,” she said, adding that not everyone was willing to “be a hero” and that many who opposed the war preferred to “go on living their normal lives”.

Navalnaya has repeatedly called for harsher sanctions on Russian oligarchs and for Western states not to recognise Vladimir Putin as Russia’s legitimate president given the mathematical proof of widespread ballot-box stuffing in the March election.

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