U.S. lawmakers pay tribute to Navalny, blame Putin for his death

February 16, 2024
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WASHINGTON — Lawmakers from both sides of the political divide united to condemn President Vladimir Putin for the death of Alexei Navalny on Friday and pay tribute to Russia’s most prominent opposition figure.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers from both the Senate and the House were quick blame the Russian leader and his government for his death, although Navalny’s own team has not confirmed his death.

Image:
President Joe Biden said Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin was to blame for Alexei Navalny’s death.Evan Vucci / AP

Leading the condemnation was President Joe Biden, who said in a speech at the White House that Putin was to blame. “We don’t know exactly what happened, but there is no doubt that the death of Nalvany was a consequence of something that Putin and his thugs did,” Biden said.

Here are some of the other lawmakers who paid their respects.

Senators

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner, D-Va., said in a post on X: “The death of Alexei Navalny is yet another heartbreaking reminder of who Vladimir Putin is: a bloodthirsty tyrant who thinks he can get away with anything. It’s another reason why we must continue to stand with the cause of freedom in opposition to Putin’s brutality.”

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said on X: “Putin’s regime is pure evil. Putin’s cronies murdered Alexei Navalny for having the courage to stand up for freedom.”

Senator Thom Tillis, R-N.C., said in a post on X: “Navalny laid down his life fighting for the freedom of the country he loved. Putin is a murderous, paranoid dictator. History will not be kind to those in America who make apologies for Putin and praise Russian autocracy. Nor will history be kind to America’s leaders who stay silent because they fear backlash from online pundits.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) speaks during a meeting on Capitol Hill May 18, 2023.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin.Francis Chung / Politico via AP file

In a post on X from the Munich Security Conference in Germany, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said: “More blood on Putin’s hands with the tragic death of Aleksei Navalny in prison, all for the ‘crime’ of wanting a free Russia. Why do Trump and his congressional enablers want to further appease this Russian tyrant?”

Also attending the conference was Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., who said on X: “The mood at the Munich Security Conference is somber as news spreads that Alexei Navalny died in Russian custody.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in a post on X, said: “Russian opposition ldr Alexei Navalny has died behind Russian bars Says all U need to kno abt Putin’s Russia Im praying for his wife & kids & other political prisoners like Kara-Murza.”

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said in a post on X: “Make no mistake — Putin removes his opposition because he fears them. Alexei Navalny spoke up for freedom. In Navalny’s death, Putin has immortalized one of his staunchest critics.”

Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Jack Reed, D-R.I., said in a post on X: “Alexei Navalny stood up to tyranny. He died a hero of the Russian people & an enemy of the corrupt Kremlin kleptocrats he systematically exposed. Our thoughts are with Mr. Navalny’s family & the Russian people.”

In a statement, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said: “I’m heartbroken to hear reports of the passing of Alexei Navalny. His death is not just a blow to those who care about the freedom of Russian citizens, but to those who care about freedom and democracy everywhere. His choice to go back to Russia — even after an attempted assassination attempt — was inspiring.”

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) on Jan. 11, 2024.
Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., said Navalny was “a tireless fighter for freedom.”Anna Rose Layden / Getty Images

Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., said on X: “I’m saddened to see reports of Alexei Navalny’s death. He was a tireless fighter for freedom and democracy in Russia. His death is a reminder of the true nature of the Putin regime.”

Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., said on X: “House members blocking critical aid to Ukraine can revel in another high-five for Putin who just murdered his most vocal and visible critic.”

Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., said in a post on X: “Alexei Navalny stood up to Putin and his Russian cronies, and he dies a hero for freedom’s cause. All Americans must be clear eyed about Putin’s ambitions. We should endeavor to make Putin a global outcast.”

House Representatives

In a statement, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said: “If confirmed, the death of Alexei Navalny is a tragedy. He was a voice for a better Russia amid the corruption and brutality of Putin’s genocidal regime. The Kremlin must be held to account for this outrage.”

House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner, R-Ohio, said in a statement: “Alexei Navalny had the courage to stand up to Vladimir Putin. He was wrongfully imprisoned and died in captivity. My deepest condolences go out to Navalny’s family.”

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said on X: “Vladimir Putin has a long history of murdering political opponents and silencing dissent. He is an enemy of freedom and the American people.”

House Minority Whip Katherine Clark, D-Mass., said on X: “My thoughts are with the family of Alexei Navalny. And my heart is with every patriot who dares to defend democracy. Now is not the time for us to waiver in our support of Ukraine. We must stand with our ally in its fight for freedom from Putin’s tyranny.”



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