[guest post by Dana]
In a wonderful essay by Dasha Navalnaya, daughter of Alexie Navalny, she eloquently and with force, speaks to his courage and his unwavering fight for freedom. Of course, as you know, Navalny is now in solitary confinement at a brutal prison colony, and family visits are no longer allowed. And yet, he continues to fight. Here is an excerpt from Ms. Navalnaya’s essay:
As you read these lines, Navalny is in mortal danger, but he continues to stand by what he believes in. He has proven willing to sacrifice his freedom, health, and even his life to see Russia become a democratic, prosperous country. And right now, even from prison, he is fighting to make it peaceful. By his example, he supports and inspires millions of Russians who, like him, are unwilling to tolerate war and injustice.
Putin must be defeated. He is a threat not only to Russia and Ukraine but to the world. The very essence of authoritarian power involves a constant increase in bets, an increase in aggression, and the search for new enemies. In order not to lose in this struggle, we must unite.
My father is one of the leaders of this struggle, and he must be out there. He challenges Putin every day, but together we can ensure that his efforts are not in vain and that his words are heard around the world. I now turn to world leaders and ask them to support my call to the Russian government to release my father.
Let’s all strive for a better, more prosperous global future where we can choose our own leaders. Free Alexei Navalny!
Read the whole thing. It is inspiring to see Navalny’s continued commitment to fighting for freedom, despite his physical circumstances. Of course, his transfer to such a high level of imprisonment where basic privileges are denied him only speaks to the level of threat he continues to present to Vladimir Putin.
I want to point you to one more essay about another freedom-fighter: President Volodymyr Zelensky. He has just been named Time Magazine’s person of the year. In the essay, one can clearly see that the president’s courage has certainly been contagious. Here is an excerpt describing what motivates critical decision-making in the ongoing war:
When it comes to battlefield decisions, Zelensky usually focuses on human lives—how many would be lost if we take this path? “We could have pushed into Kherson earlier, with greater force. But we understood how many people would have fallen,” he says. “That’s why a different tactic was chosen, and thank God it worked. I don’t think it was some genius move on our part. It was reason winning out, wisdom winning out against speed and ambition.”
About Zelensky’s strategy to win the war:
“I don’t want to weigh who has more tanks and armies,” he says. Russia is a nuclear superpower. No matter how many times its forces are made to retreat from Ukrainian cities, they can regroup and try again. “We are dealing with a powerful state that is pathologically unwilling to let Ukraine go,” Zelensky told me. “They see the democracy and freedom of Ukraine as a question of their own survival.” The only way to defeat an enemy like that—not just to win a temporary truce, but to win the war— is to persuade the rest of the free world to pull Ukraine in the other direction, toward sovereignty, independence, and peace. The loss of freedom in one nation, he argues, erodes freedom in all the rest. “If they devour us, the sun in your sky will get dimmer.”
But his vision of victory now extends beyond the liberation of territory…Zelensky stressed that this year’s invasion is just the latest Russian attempt over the past century to subjugate Ukraine. His intention is to make it the last, even if it takes a lot more time and sacrifice. It is far too early to gauge whether that goal can be reached, Zelensky told me. “Later we will be judged,” he says. “I have not finished this great, important action for our country. Not yet.”
Make sure to read the whole thing. These are two men who have decided to do everything in their power to not let evil triumph. And if that means sacrificing their own lives in order to get the job done, they both appear to have made peace with the possibility.