Russia opposition leader Alexey Navalny’s memoir to be published in October | Politics News


Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, says he began working on the book in 2020 after he was poisoned.

Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny wrote an autobiography before he died that will be published later this year, his widow Yulia Navalnaya has said, revealing the existence of a text his inner circle had kept secret for years.

Navalny, who died aged 47 in an Arctic prison in February, had wanted to become president of Russia and was Vladimir Putin’s fiercest domestic critic.

His allies, branded extremists by the authorities, have accused President Putin of having him murdered and have said they will provide proof to back that allegation.

The Kremlin has denied any state involvement in his death and, when he was alive, dismissed Navalny, a former lawyer who oversaw corruption investigations into Russia’s political elite, as a marginal US-backed troublemaker out to destabilise Russia.

Navalnaya, his widow, said on Thursday in a post on X from outside Russia that her late husband had started to write the memoir – titled Patriot – in 2020 after he had been poisoned by what Western doctors said was a nerve agent and had been flown to Germany for medical treatment.

Yulia Navalnaya, wife of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, leaves the IK-2 male correctional facility after a court hearing, in the town of Pokrov in Vladimir Region, Russia February 15, 2022. The court started a new criminal trial against Alexei Navalny on charges of embezzlement and contempt of court. REUTERS/Denis Kaminev
Yulia Navalnaya says the book would be released simultaneously in at least 11 different languages [File: Denis Kaminev/Reuters]

“This is not at all how I imagined Alexey would write his biography. I thought that we would be in our 80s, and that he would be sitting at his computer by the open window and be typing away,” Navalnaya said.

“But things turned out the way they did. Horribly and very, very unfairly.

“Nevertheless, Alexey started writing a book at that time (in 2020) and was unexpectedly quickly drawn into the process.

“He liked to recall the events of his life in connection with events in the country. For example, he enjoyed describing his childhood,” Navalnaya said.

She said the book would be released simultaneously in at least 11 different languages on October 22 and appear in Navalny’s native Russian.

Kira Yarmysh, Navalny’s spokesperson, described how Navalny had begun to dictate parts of the book to her while he was convalescing in Germany two months after his poisoning. She said that he had finished the book when in prison after returning to Russia in 2021.

“Alexey had a rare talent of being instantly able to pronounce written text. My job was to keep up with him and occasionally interject: “you just used that same word!” Yarmysh wrote on Telegram.

“I heard people talking about his [social media] posts from prison: ‘Alexey writes so well, I wish he’d write a book!’ And I wanted to clap my hands and shout, ‘He is writing one! He is writing one!’ But we agreed to keep everything a secret. Now the secrets are over,” she said.

Penguin Books UK in a statement on X described the book as the “full story of Navalny’s life and a rousing call to continue the work for which he sacrificed his life”.

In the United States, the autobiography is being published by Alfred A Knopf, which published a separate statement from his widow.

“Sharing his story will not only honor his memory but also inspire others to stand up for what is right and to never lose sight of the values that truly matter,” Knopf cited Navalnaya as saying.

The book is unlikely to be readily available in Navalny’s native Russia, where the authorities outlawed his movement as “extremist” and cast his supporters as US-backed agitators out to foment revolution.

Putin last month called Navalny’s death “sad” and said he had been ready to hand the jailed politician over to the West in a prisoner exchange provided that he never returned to Russia.


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