Garry Kasparov: The Real Reason Putin Killed Navalny

Democracy Examined

Last Friday, we wrote to you about Tucker Carlson’s “interview” with Vladimir Putin. Today, we’re heartbroken and enraged to share with you that Putin’s regime has killed Alexei Navalny, one the most prominent voices of the Russian opposition.

Putin brutally suppresses his critics because he feels he has impunity, not only in Russia, but globally. Shameless self-promoters like Tucker Carlson have given him cover in American media. A veritable pro-Russia caucus lends him support in Congress by blocking critical aid to Ukraine. And we should have no illusions: Russia will only be free if Ukraine is victorious.

Well-meaning leaders in Washington and other Western capitals share responsibility as well. I learned about Navalny’s demise at the Munich Security Conference. I am surrounded by officials from NATO countries who treat the imprisonment, harassment, and murder of people like Navalny as just another negotiating point to take up with a legitimate leader rather than the actions of a dangerous criminal. Their misplaced decorum and indecision is read in the Kremlin as a green light. They must understand that Putin will not stop—he needs to be stopped.

This outrageous tragedy marks a critical juncture in our work advancing democracy. There will be more to say in the coming days and weeks. For now, I want to share with you a reflection written by my colleague, Evan Mawarire, who, like Navalny, returned to his homeland to face down a brutal dictator. I also encourage you to listen to Evan’s words, recorded after the news broke this morning and spoken from the heart.

My thoughts are with Navalny’s family, and with all of the victims of Russian persecution in aggression, from Moscow to Mariupol and beyond. 

In solidarity,


Garry Kasparov,
Chairman, Renew Democracy Initiative