Amnesty International has denied Alexander Navalny the status of Prisoner of conscience because in the past he publicly stated things that were racist, xenophobic and incited violence.

What statements of him actually caused this decision?

Since I and probably most readers on this site don't speak Russian an translation to English when necessary would be highly appreciated.

Feel free to give your opinion about whether or not this decision of Amnesty International is correct/justified but I am mostly interested in the actual words of Navalny himself.


  • 2
    Either this is an opinion-requesting question, couched to avoid closure as such, or it is a fact-based question, in which answers should be backed up with citations. Please don't confuse the two.
    – CGCampbell
    Apr 8 '21 at 15:20

I am not familiar with this person, nor the matter, but from a quick web search, I found one of the reasons for the rescission of his status was based on his past Nationalistic statements and support for that cause.

The Past

In one widely circulated video, Navalny compares Chechen rebels to "cockroaches" and suggests that a pistol is the best way to eliminate them. In another video from 2007, Navalny espouses strong nationalistic views, saying, "We have a right to be (ethnic) Russians in Russia. And we'll defend that right." And, his support for Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, which was widely condemned internationally.

(note: most of the above can be found on NPR)


In response following the request to provide specifics about the "past comments", Julie Verhaar, Amnesty's acting secretary-general, referred to speculation surrounding the decision on Navalny, saying it is "detracting attention" from the organization's efforts to win his release.

"This distraction only serves the Russian authorities, who have jailed Navalny on politically motivated charges, simply because he dared to criticize them," Verhaar said.

"We note that some of Aleksei Navalny's past comments have been actively used by his opponents to discredit him," Verhaar added.

Amnesty International says it uses seven criteria to decide whether someone is a prisoner of conscience, determining, among other things, that the person "has not used or advocated violence but is imprisoned because of who they are (sexual orientation, ethnic, national or social origin, language, birth, colour, sex or economic status) or what they believe (religious, political or other conscientiously held beliefs)."


It is your call.

Follow up (Edit on 8 April 2021)

The quote below is excerpted from Amnesty International's Statement on Aleksei Navalny, to reflect/echo the statement made by Julie Verhaar in response to NPR that was cited above.

In closing, Amnesty International stated:

"*The fact that Amnesty International decided not to refer to Aleksei Navalny as a POC has no bearing on our insistence that Navalny has been unlawfully detained, and subjected to state-sponsored harassment and prosecution for exercising his right to freedom of expression.

Our ongoing assessment of past comments made by Navalny is unrelated to our position on the Russian authorities’ intensifying and brutal crackdown on human rights - including the arbitrary detention of Navalny - which we condemn in the strongest possible terms. 

However, we recognize that the poor timing of this internal decision has unintentionally distracted from the campaign for Navalny's immediate release. We deeply regret any damage this may have caused to the campaign to free Navalny, as well as the distress caused to Navalny and his many friends and supporters.

Speculation around our internal decision has detracted attention from the mounting human rights violations being committed by the Russian authorities, and from our core demand that Navalny be released. The controversy around Amnesty’s use of the term POC has been weaponized by the Kremlin, against us and against those who are expressing critical views against the Russian government.

There should be no confusion: nothing Navalny has said in the past justifies his current detention, which is purely politically motivated. Navalny has been arbitrarily detained for exercising his right to freedom of expression, and for this reason we continue to campaign for his immediate release.*"

End of Exerption

Interested readers can read the full document here, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2021/02/aleksei-navalny-prisoner-of-conscience/

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    Please consider backing your post with credible sources. Unbacked posts can be criticized and downvoted, and considering the fact that we have a powerful lobby of politically motivated users, the post will be criticized for sure. For instance, Navalny has actively participated neo-Nazi events like Russian March, and there are many articles to link to.
    – bytebuster
    Apr 7 '21 at 20:08
  • @bytebuster Please read my opening statement carefully, also the ending sentence. The contents provided can be easily found on the internet, I am just organizing some of his past actions that were used to against him for ease of understanding. You shall write your own response if you happen to know more than I do. We all politically motivated to participate in this forum, you are obviously not an exception. I shall be criticized if intentionally providing false information, so be it if that is the case.
    – r13
    Apr 7 '21 at 21:04
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    @r13 This site is not a "use google, q.e.d." site. The entire network would have little to no reason to exist, otherwise. It's a question and answer site. Answers should always be supported by provided sources (inline links are generally fine). Those that aren't may be downvoted, as bytebuster suggests. Though, to be fair, not always. Due to the natures of humans, the word "politics", and the effects of things like Hot Network Questions, unsourced/speculative answers will exist and may even receive many upvotes and either few downvotes or simply not enough to counter the upvotes. Apr 8 '21 at 1:12
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    The purpose of an answer is to provide that information and not expect others to search for things on the internet to make sense of it.
    – Joe W
    Apr 8 '21 at 13:48
  • 4
    If you're looking for feedback, you've got 3 sections here. Only the first actually answers the question. And that section made assertions with no sources or quotes. Italian Philosophers 4 Monica added a link, which is good, but before they did that there was no way to know where you go those quotes or whether you simply made them up. You certainly don't have to do anything you don't want to, but you can't complain about downvotes in that case
    – divibisan
    Apr 8 '21 at 19:24

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