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How the west can help Alexei Navalny without damaging his cause

Western leaders should condemn Navalny’s imprisonment—but offering more direct political support could risk him being seen as a western puppet. So what are their options?

By Paul Lever  

Photo: Jonathan Wells / Alamy Stock Photo

Five months after agents of the FSB, the Russian Security Service, tried to murder him with a Novichok nerve agent, Alexei Navalny returned to Moscow and was immediately arrested. His treatment is not the only instance of the flagrant abuse of human rights which characterises President Putin’s regime. But it is the one which has understandably attracted great public attention.

Throughout his 21 years of rule President Putin has either shrugged off challenges to his authority or repressed them by force. He has ensured that while no political opposition to him has developed, a certain façade of democratic…

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