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Benedict Cumberbatch Reads Alexei Navalny’s Final Letter: “Victory Is Inevitable. We Must Not Give Up”

Above, actor Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch reads the final let­ter writ­ten by Alex­ei Naval­ny, the Russ­ian oppo­si­tion leader who died in a Siber­ian prison on Feb­ru­ary 16th. The let­ter gets at a ques­tion many have asked, even from afar. Why, after being poi­soned with Novi­chok in 2020, did Naval­ny return to Rus­sia, know­ing he would face imme­di­ate and harsh impris­on­ment?

The let­ter, dat­ed Jan­u­ary 17, 2024, begins:

Exact­ly 3 years ago, I returned to Rus­sia after under­go­ing treat­ment for poi­son­ing at the air­port. I was arrest­ed and here I am three years in. For three years, I’ve been answer­ing the same ques­tion. Inmates ask it plain­ly and direct­ly. Prison admin­is­tra­tion staff [ask it] cau­tious­ly, with the recorders off. Why did you come back?

For a coun­try now used to cyn­i­cism and cor­rup­tion, the answer is dis­may­ing:

It’s actu­al­ly very sim­ple. I have my coun­try and my con­vic­tions and I don’t want to renounce either my coun­try or my con­vic­tions.… If your con­vic­tions are worth any­thing, you should be ready to stand up for them and, if nec­es­sary, make some sac­ri­fices. And if you’re not ready, then you have no con­vic­tions at all. You just think you do. But those are not con­vic­tions and
prin­ci­ples, just thoughts in your head.

Naval­ny ends the let­ter with a pre­dic­tion: “Putin’s state is unvi­able. One day we’ll look at its place and it will be gone. Vic­to­ry is inevitable but, for now, we must not give up…” Rest in peace Alex­ei Naval­ny.



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