Quote for the Week. President David Sassoli: “We reiterate the European Parliament’s unwavering support for Aleksei Navalny’s immediate release.”

Week-ending 17 December 2021

In awarding the Sakharov Prize to Alexei Navalny, we recognise his immense personal bravery and reiterate the European Parliament’s unwavering support for his immediate release.

David Sassoli, president of the European Parliament at the award ceremony for the 2021 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.. 

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named in honour of the Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov, is awarded each year by the European Parliament. The Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny is the laureate of the 2021 Sakharov Prize. Alexei Navalny is a Russian opposition politician, anti-corruption activist and major political opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He is currently serving a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence, with more than two years still remaining. Alexei Navalny’s daughter, Daria Navalnaya, received European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize on behalf of her imprisoned father.


European Parliament, 15 December 2021: The award ceremony of the 2021 edition of the Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought took place on December 15th, in Strasbourg. The laureate Alexei Navalny, was represented at the ceremony by his daughter, Daria Navalnaya, and Leonid Volkov, friend and political advisor.

European Parliament, 15 December 2021: Alexei Navalny, a leading opposition figure in Russian politics, has been awarded the 2021 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought for his fight for democracy in Russia. Navalny has spent years exposing corruption among Russia’s top officials and leading demonstrations against the regime. His actions struck a chord with millions of people across the country. Since becoming a household name, he has been arrested, harassed and poisoned in an apparent attempt on his life. In February, he was imprisoned in a penal colony. “He once said that corruption flourishes when there is disregard for human rights. And I believe he is right. The fight against corruption is a fight for the respect of universal human rights. It is certainly a fight for human dignity, for good governance and for rule of law.” Navalny’s daughter, Daria collected the prize on behalf of her father, delivering his message to the European Parliament. “When I wrote to my dad and asked: What exactly would you like me to say in the speech from your point? He answered: Say that no one can dare to equate Russia to Putin’s regime. Russia is a part of Europe and we strive to become a part of it.” The European Parliament has condemned the arrest, attempted assassination and imprisonment of Alexei Navalny. It is calling for his immediate release. By awarding him the 2021 Sakharov prize, MEPs recognise his fight for democracy and fundamental freedoms in his native Russia.

RFE/RL, 15 December 2021: The daughter of jailed Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny has urged European Union governments to stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin, as she collected the Sakharov Prize on his behalf during a ceremony in the French city of Strasbourg.

The Moscow Times, 15 December 2021: Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s daughter on Wednesday urged the EU to stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin, as she collected a rights prize on behalf of her father.  “Although coming here is amazing, it is also probably exactly how mine and my family’s worst nightmare looks like,” Daria Navalnaya told the European Parliament as she picked up its annual Sakharov Prize. Navalny — Putin’s highest-profile domestic opponent — has been behind bars since returning to Moscow in January from Germany, where he was recovering from a poisoning attack with a Novichok nerve agent that both he and the West blame on the Kremlin.  

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