Widow Of Russian Dissenter Vows To Carry His Cause

Monday brought news that might provide some solace to the Russian people, who were still grieving the loss of Alexei Navalny.

On Monday, the opposition politician’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, said that she will continue her husband’s fight to overthrow Vladimir Putin’s dictatorship, three days after Russian officials announced his death in a jail north of the Arctic Circle.

Navalnaya seems to be taking a page out of Belarus’s book: when her husband was jailed, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya became a political lightning rod for protests against dictator Alexander Lukashenko, even though she had no prior expertise in the field.

At the Munich Security Conference, Navalnaya was caught in the middle of a discussion with Tsikhanouskaya on the same day that word of Navalny’s death emerged, leading to questions about her intentions.

Navalnaya has spent years denying that she ever sought a career in politics. Thus, her Monday revelation came as a shock to many.

While on vacation in Turkey in 1998, she met Alexei, who was trained as an economist. After having their first child, a girl named Dasha, a few years later, Navalnaya decided to remain home and raise her family.

Despite her husband’s rising prominence and the Kremlin’s attack on him, she seemed to project normality in rare interviews.

On the other hand, Navalnaya supposedly shared and even helped mold her husband’s beliefs, according to individuals who knew them well behind the scenes.

Navalnaya accompanied her husband to every rally and court session, where her poise and beautiful figure drew media attention despite her protestations that she preferred to stay out of the spotlight.

Navalny kept far less family information under wraps. He was very public about sharing family vacation images and videos and lavished praise on his wife, even going so far as to say she revived him from a poisoning.

One of many adoring declarations of love, his last Instagram post was on Valentine’s Day.

Putin, who is very private about his private life, is divorced and has allegedly had many girlfriends and illegitimate children; the public nature of the couple’s relationship highlighted the contrasts between Navalny and Putin.