Open Letter to Vladimir Putin

It is imperative that the life of Alexei Navalny be spared. He has proven himself a man of great courage in daring to expose corruption in your country and in his willingness to challenge you and your party in elections.

Russia is underperforming as a nation and it seems obvious that the restrictions to free speech and enterprise that your government enforces are the direct cause of it. The challenges to development that the world faces need the contribution of all available talent. Russia has a long history of great accomplishment in science, industry and the humanities. The world needs those contributions.

As of today, Mr Navalny remains incarcerated. He should be freed. He should be allowed to lead his political movement and offer alternatives to Russians.

Why is it that you’re afraid of what Mr Navalny represents?

You think he might defeat you in the elections? Then that would be the expression of the will of the Russian people. Why shouldn’t Russians have a right to express themselves freely?

Mr Navalny’s recent poisoning with the chemical Novichok was intended to kill him. It is a miracle that it didn’t. You denied your government’s involvement but why haven’t the guilty parties been found?

Do you think that the world will forget? It will not.

In the minds of the free citizens of the world you stand as a symbol of oppression not of enlightenment.

But it doesn’t have to stay that way. You could change course. You could hold free elections and let Mr Navalny run against you.

Wouldn’t that be truly revolutionary? Putin versus Navalny for the presidency of Russia.

As it is, you are running out of time. Persist in your current course and history will not be kind. It will remember you as a symbol of political backwardness.

But change your approach and your nation will move to a new level.

Dare to open your country politically and what will follow will likely astound the world and we will all be grateful.

Thank you / / oscarvaldes@widehumr

Letter writers of the Free World, please join me in writing to Mr Putin in defense of Alexei Navalny.

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