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EU Foreign Affairs Council to address Navlany death

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EU Foreign Affairs Council to address Navlany death

Source: BBC

The EU Foreign Affairs Council meets in Brussels today.

The meeting comes a day before the second anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a few days following the death of anti-Putin activist Alexei Navalny and less than a month before Russia holds a presidential election.

Expect leaders attending today’s meeting to devote much attention to Navalny. The opposition leader was arrested in January 2021 after he returned to Russia following a convalescence in Germany from a nerve agent poisoning. He was convicted of several crimes against the state and sentenced to 19 years in prison. Navalny fell dead at an Artic penal colony at which he was serving his sentence.

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With the election drawing near and President Vladimir Putin on the ballot for another six-year term, expect the crackdown against anti-Putin dissenters—already ongoing—to increase in severity. In the short-term, those targeted will likely be Navalny supporters. Also expect in the short-term calls for investigation into Navalny’s death and some outright declarations that he was murdered. In the medium-term, an almost all-but-certain election victory for Putin will likely lead to further erosion of human rights in Russia and a prolonging of the war against Ukraine.

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