Yulia Navalnaya called on the Members of the European Parliament to fight Putin

February 28, 2024

Dear Madam President, dear ladies and gentlemen, thank you for the opportunity to be here today.


Now my husband is dead. I am back in Strasbourg, but I am no longer walking around with my family. I stand here and address you and in your person the whole of Europe.

I thought that in the 12 days since Alexei's death, I would have time to prepare for this speech. But first, we spent a week getting Alexei's body and organizing a funeral. Then I chose the cemetery and the coffin. The funeral will take place the day after tomorrow and I am not sure yet whether it will be peaceful or whether the police will arrest those who have come to say goodbye to my husband.

However, I'm standing here now because your voters have an important question. They're asking you about it and then you're asking me. The question is: "How can I help you in your fight?"

Last Saturday was two years since Putin started a full-scale war against Ukraine. A brutal and sneaky war. The whole world rushed to Ukraine's aid. But two years have passed, there is much exhaustion, much blood, much disappointment, and Putin has gone nowhere. Everything has already been used: Weapons, money, sanctions... Nothing is working. And the worst has happened: Everyone got used to the war. Here and there people started to say: "Well, we will have to come to an agreement with him anyway..."

And then Putin killed my husband, Alexei Navalny. On his orders, Alexei was tortured for three years: he was starved in a tiny stone cell, cut off from the outside world, and denied visits, phone calls, and even letters. And then they killed him. Even after that they abused his body and abused his mother. 

On the one hand, the public murder has once again shown everyone that Putin is capable of anything and that you can not negotiate with him. But on the other hand, I can also see how shocked everyone is. Many people have the feeling that Putin can not be defeated at all. And in this desperation, they are now asking me: "How can I help you?"

And I am thinking about how Alexei would answer this question. I will try to answer it, but to do so I have to tell you a little about what he was like. Alexei was an inventor. He always had new ideas for everything, but especially for politics.

You have elections at the beginning of June. Many of you will be campaigning — meeting voters, giving interviews, shooting commercials. Now imagine that all of this is impossible. No TV station will do an interview with you. No money in the world can help you with a commercial. All the voters who came to the meetings will be arrested along with the candidate.

Welcome to Putin's Russia. And yet Alexei Navalny has managed to become the most famous politician there. He was able to inspire millions of people with his ideas.

How did he do that? He was always fantasizing and experimenting. You're not allowed on TV? Let's learn how to make YouTube videos so the whole country can watch them. You're not allowed to vote? You can come up with a tactical voting strategy to take seats away from the ruling party. Even in Putin's gulag, Alexei managed to pass on ideas for projects that would make the Kremlin panic. He was the opposite of everything boring.

This is the answer to the question. If you really want to defeat Putin, you have to become an innovator. And you have to stop being boring.

You can't hurt Putin with another resolution or another set of sanctions that is no different from the previous ones. You can't defeat him by thinking he's a man of principle who has morals and rules. 

He's not like that, and Alexei realized that a long time ago. You aren't dealing with a politician but with a bloody mobster. Putin is the leader of an organized criminal gang. This includes poisoners and assassins, but they're all just puppets. The most important thing is the people close to Putin, his friends, associates, and keepers of the mafia's money.

You, and all of us, must fight this criminal gang. And the political innovation here is to apply the methods of fighting organized crime, not political competition. Not diplomatic notes, but investigations into the financial machinations. Not statements of concern, but a search for mafia associates in your countries, for the discreet lawyers and financiers who are helping Putin and his friends to hide money.

In this fight you have reliable allies — there are tens of millions of Russians who are against war, against Putin, against the evil he brings. You must not persecute them — on the contrary, you must work with them. With us.

Putin must answer for what he has done to my country. Putin must answer for what he has done to a neighboring, peaceful country. And Putin must answer for everything he has done to Alexei.

My husband will not see what the Beautiful Russia of the Future will look like, but we must see it. And I will do my best to make his dream come true, that evil will fall and this beautiful future will come. Thank you. 

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