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“You’re not dealing with a politician, but a bloody mobster”: Yulia Navalnaya addresses European Parliament in Strasbourg

Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of murdered Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday. She devoted her speech to the fight against organized crime in Russia.

“Last Saturday marked two years since Putin launched a full-scale war against Ukraine. A treacherous, despicable one. The whole world rushed to help Ukraine. But two years have passed, a lot of fatigue, a lot of blood, a lot of disappointment, and Putin has not gone anywhere. All means have been used: weapons, money, sanctions.... Nothing works. And the worst thing happened: everyone got used to the war. Here and there people began to say: ‘Well, we will have to come to an agreement with [Putin] anyway…’.
And then Putin killed my husband, Alexei Navalny.
And on the one hand, I can see how shocked everyone was. A public murder has once again made everyone remember that Putin is capable of anything and that you can't negotiate with him. But on the other hand, I see a great deal of confusion. Many people feel that Putin cannot be defeated at all. And in despair they are now asking me: how can I help you?” — Yulia Navalnaya said in her speech.

According to Navalnaya, there will be no victory in the confrontation with Vladimir Putin with the methods that are being used now:

“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. [The gang] includes poisoners and assassins, but they're all just pawns. The most important thing is the people close to Putin, his friends, associates, and keepers of the mafia's money.”

She added that finding methods of fighting organized crime was the key to counter Putin, instead of attempting to create political competition:

“[...] 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.”

At the end of her speech, Yulia Navalnaya promised to make every effort to realize her husband's dream of seeing a “Beautiful Russia of the Future”:

“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.”

Earlier today, Ivan Zhdanov, one of Navalny’s closest aides, reported that no funeral hall had been booked for the politician’s public memorial service on March 1.

Numerous funeral companies and venues had refused to deal with the politician’s relatives, leaving them with the only option of holding a wake for Navalny in the church itself, thereby limiting the amount of people that could be present at any one time.

Yulia Navalnaya responded to the news in a tweet:

“Two people are to blame for the fact that we do not have a place for a civil memorial service and farewell to Alexei — Vladimir Putin and Sergei Sobyanin. The people in the Kremlin killed him, then they mocked Alexei’s body, then they mocked his mother, and now they mock his memory.
We don't want any special treatment — just to give people the opportunity to say goodbye to Alexei normally. Just stay out of the way, please.”

On February 24, Russian authorities handed over the body of the murdered opposition politician Alexei Navalny to his mother, Lyudmila Navanaya, ending a week-long standoff.

Two days earlier, on February 22, Navalny’s spokesperson Kira Yarmysh confirmed that the medical death certificate, shown to Lyudmila Navalnaya, listed her son’s cause of death as “natural.”

Over 400 people were detained across Russia at vigils in Navalny's memory and while attempting to lay flowers at memorials to victims of political repression, as per the rights and legal aid group OVD-Info.

The day after Navalny's murder, Yulia Navalnaya released an address in which she vowed to continue her husband's cause:

“By killing Alexei, Putin killed half of me, half of my heart and my soul. But I still have the other half, and it tells me that I have no right to give up. I will continue Alexei Navalny's cause. I will continue to fight for our country. And I urge you to stand with me. To share not only the grief and the endless pain that has enveloped us and will not let go. I ask you to share with me the rage. [The] rage and anger at those who dared to kill our future.”

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