How should the West react to Navalny’s death?

The Russian authorities are refusing to release the body of opposition activist Alexei Navalny, who died in jail, saying it will be held for another two weeks. His family and supporters suspect the intention is to conceal all traces of the cause of death. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell has issued a statement saying that "Ultimate responsibility rests with President Putin and the Russian authorities" for Navalny’s death.

Neatkarīgā (LV) /

Still no appropriate response

Bens Latkovskis complains in Neatkarīgā that the West has been too soft on Putin for too long:

“In 2015, opposition figure Boris Nemtsov was shot dead literally just a hundred metres from the wall of the Kremlin. Before that, there was Georgia in 2008 and the polonium poisoning of Alexandr Litvinenko. The journalist Anna Politkovskaya was killed on Putin’s birthday. Then there was the Skripal case. Did these incidents prompt any serious reaction from Western leaders? ... Now many are blaming the people in Russia because they hardly protest. ... I would like to see these critics protest if they were facing long prison sentences. Meanwhile, there have been no protests, none at all, in either France or Germany against the friendly policies of their heads of state towards the Kremlin bandits.”

Bens Latkovskis
Irish Independent (IE) /

Putin becoming ever more ruthless

The Kremlin leader must not be allowed to simply do as he pleases, the Irish Independent warns:

“Putin believes Mr Navalny’s murder will further deter any possible opposition. The more he gets away with, the more dangerous he becomes. The West, and the US in particular, must recognise there are no lengths to which he will not go. His readiness to slaughter innocent people, and his total contempt for international law, are the terrible hallmarks of his regime. ... Moscow is counting on democracies wearying of supporting Kyiv after two years of bloodshed. Every day that Congress delays is sending an encouraging signal to Moscow that the West is weak, and that brute force and suppression of freedoms are the only ways to hold power.”

Eesti Päevaleht (EE) /

The outlook is bleak

Russia correspondent Anton Alexeyev writes in Eesti Päevaleht:

“Navalny’s death should once again take stock of the truth. Putin, like all of us, has two options in the event of a confrontation: either seek a compromise or an opportunity for destruction. Every time he goes for the second option. If he doesn’t like you and he can kill you, he will. ... We believe in Ukraine’s success because the situation there depends so much on us, on our help and support. We used to believe that something would change in Russia because we knew that there were people there who wanted this change as much as we did. But there were never many, and the most important of them was Navalny. Now he’s gone.”

Aleksejev Anton