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Yulia Navalnaya receives the prize for freedom of expression, to continue fighting


Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, received the Deutsche Welle Freedom of Speech Award in Berlin on Wednesday.

Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation was also recognized at the ceremony for its fight against the Russian government’s attempts to crack down on press freedom.

In her acceptance speech, Navalnaya said the foundation would continue its work despite the death of her husband, widely seen as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s main opposition rival, under unexplained circumstances in a Siberian prison camp earlier this year.

Navalnaya said Putin “killed (her) husband Alexei Navalny, but he did not silence his ideas.”

She warned of Russian disinformation and sabotage operations in the European Union ahead of this week’s European Parliament elections.

Putin is trying to impose his agenda, she said. “And time and time again he succeeds,” she added.

“We will continue our struggle,” Navalnaya vowed, concluding: “We believe that freedom of expression will triumph over the poison of propaganda.”

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner was at the ceremony to present Navalnaya with the award.

He praised her as a “strong partner” to Navalny, who described Lindner as a “super-spreader of free thought.”

“Like a virus, he was first isolated and then suppressed in the most brutal way. In the end, the regime undoubtedly even killed him,” Lindner said.

Lindner said Putin’s time was running out. “In the long run, the will to be free will always prevail over oppression,” he added.

The event was the tenth edition of the award, which aims to draw attention to restrictions on freedom of expression and press around the world.

Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international public broadcaster, had its accreditations to work in Russia revoked in 2022. The Moscow office was closed and transferred to the Latvian capital Riga.

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