“Others will come to take our place.”

Story of Pulitzer winner Vladimir Kara-Murza, an oppositionist imprisoned in Russia: Part 2

Foreign Policy Brief #145 | By: Yelena Korshunov| June 10, 2024
Featured Photo: www.reuters.com


In September 2023, the US Embassy in Moscow issued a public press statement dedicated to Russian publicist, politician, and historian Vladimir Kara-Murza’s imprisonment, “The United States strongly condemns the politically motivated case against Mr. Kara-Murza and the Russian government’s escalating campaign of repression against those who want their voices to be heard in the direction of the country. We reiterate our call for the immediate release of Mr. Kara-Murza, as well as the release of more than 600 political prisoners in Russia.”

In April 2024 the US State Department issued a statement on the two-year anniversary of the detention of Vladimir Kara-Murza by Russian authorities, “Two years ago, Russian authorities detained Vladimir Kara-Murza on flimsy and politically motivated grounds, accusing him of opposing the Russian government’s war against Ukraine,” states foreign ministry spokesman Matthew Miller. “His unjust sentence, egregious 25-year sentence, and ongoing prison sentence demonstrate the Kremlin’s desire to silence dissent, punish critics, and suppress fundamental freedoms. He [Kara-Murza] continues to demonstrate commitment to the principles of democracy, freedom of speech and the rule of law in a country where the government does everything possible to suppress them,” a State Department spokesman said. “We stand in solidarity with Kara-Murza and his family at this difficult time and once again call for his release, as well as the release of all political prisoners unjustly detained in Russia.”

Members of the US Senate and House of Representatives called for the Biden administration to officially label Russian opposition leader Vladimir Kara-Murza as “unlawfully and wrongfully detained”. The politician was sentenced to a long term for “a powerful voice in support of democratic Russia and dreams of a peaceful rule of law state”, and “his only crime was opposing the crimes of the Putin regime,” emphasizes the letter from congressmen and senators. The appeal, initiated by the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ben Cardin and Senator Roger Wicker, notes that Kara-Murza is a legal permanent resident of the United States, and his wife and three children are US citizens. “Releasing him and saving his life is in the national interests of the United States. The time has come to act,” they say in Congress. The appeal to the US administration was signed by 80 legislators from both houses of parliament and from both major parties – Republican and Democratic.

After the death of Aleksei Navalny, Vladimir Kara-Murza sent an open letter to the Russian opposition portal Medusa now located in Latvia. “Remember, Brodsky [Iosef Brodsky – Nobel laureate, Russian poet and essayist, 1940-1996] wrote to a friend that he [Brodsky] liked a thief better than a bloodsucker. Today there is no such choice – the people in power in Russia embody both. And they are completely hypocritical and deceitful,” he said in the letter. “Official propaganda has been creating a myth about Putin’s ‘popularity’ for many years. Even some opponents of the current government believe in this. But a strong and popular leader is not afraid of opponents – he defeats them in open debate and in free elections. Putin’s regime relies on instilling fear in society and destroying any alternative – not in the figurative, but in the literal sense of the word.”

“The Putin’s regime is not really fighting the opposition – it is fighting the future”, he continued. “This, of course, can be done for some time (even, as we see, quite a long time) but the result is still clear in advance. It is impossible to stop the future. Russia will definitely become a democracy. In the foreseeable future it [Russia] will be a ‘normal European country’ that Alexei Navalny liked to talk about. I am telling you this as a historian. Even if they kill all of us, who today are called ‘faces of the opposition,’ it means that others will come to take our place.”

For part one of the Kara-Murza series, click here.

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