Now Russia is hunting down Alexei Navalny’s allies

Putin's re-election is this weekend, and don't hold your breath. But it's no coincidence, comrade, that Navalny was killed in a Russian prison camp before the election.



March 15, 2024 - 4:20 PM

Russia’s Leonid Volkov, ally of the late opposition leader Alexei Navalny, was brutally attacked Tuesday near his home in Lithuania. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

Apparently Alexei Navalny continues to haunt Vladimir Putin from the grave, because now the someone is going after the late opposition leader’s allies abroad. On Tuesday Navalny associate Leonid Volkov was assaulted outside his home in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Kira Yarmysh, who was Navalny’s spokesperson, says one or two attackers smashed the window of Mr. Volkov’s car, sprayed an irritant into his eyes, and bludgeoned him with a hammer. “Leonid tried to fight them off with his foot and the car door, so the blows mostly hit his leg. There were about 15 blows,” she said. He survived the assault, but “his arm is broken” and he “can hardly walk,” she added.

Russia holds elections this weekend, and don’t wait on the outcome. But it’s no coincidence, comrade, that Navalny was killed in a Russian prison camp before the election. Navalny wanted to use the election to educate Russians about Mr. Putin, and Mr. Volkov and other Navalny associates have tried to continue that work.

A recent campaign featured billboards in several Russian cities with a New Year’s message — and a QR code that led to an anti-Putin website. Mr. Volkov has led this effort, and in December he urged supporters of the anti-Putin campaign to “agitate ten people.”

Mr. Volkov said in a Telegram post Wednesday that the attack was “a characteristic bandit greeting from Putin’s henchmen.” Lithuania’s State Security Department said Navalny’s associates were “the most dangerous opposition force capable of exerting real influence on Russia’s internal processes,” adding that the attack was likely an effort to stop them, according to Reuters.

The Kremlin has repeatedly targeted Mr. Putin’s enemies overseas, including in NATO territory. The attack on Mr. Volkov is another escalation and shows how little he respects national borders or the West’s reaction.