The Washington PostThe Washington Post

Why the West has itself to blame for Russian corruption

By Toomas Hendrik Ilves

11 Oct 2021 · 3 min read

The Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been hounded, persecuted, beaten, poisoned and jailed for standing up to a thuggish autocracy that is well on its way to classic totalitarian rule. His crime? Peacefully using his fundamental human right of freedom of expression to challenge a regime held together by stormtroopers, violence and murder.

Navalny's story is not a new one. In the decade before the collapse of communism, we saw this tale unfold over and over again. Joseph Brodsky, Natan Sharansky, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Andrei Sakharov and hundreds of others were persecuted for their beliefs by that real-life Mordor, the U.S.S.R.

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