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Navalny and the Courage of His Convictions

flowers laid for Alexey Navalny
flowers laid for Alexey Navalny

As I gather my thoughts to commemorate the life and legacy of Alexey Navalny, who passed away or, more likely, was cowardly murdered in a remote Siberian penal colony on 16th February 2024, I still find it hard to articulate my profound emotions and feelings of grief and devastation.

To the Australian reader, and indeed to any observer around the globe, Navalny's story is a poignant reminder of the cost of standing up to an oppressive, authoritarian regime. His numerous arrests, the brazen attack on his life with a nerve agent, and his unwavering resolve in the face of relentless oppression until his very end is a testament to the strengths of his convictions.

In the wake of Russia's recent "elections", which once again have been marred by countless allegations of irregularities and multiple arrests, Navalny's absence is profoundly felt. The outcome of these "elections", widely criticised for their lack of fairness and transparency, underscores the very issues Navalny dedicated his life to fighting.

For the writer, who left Russia over two decades ago to make Australia home, Navalny's journey resonates deeply not only as a fellow lawyer, but as a great human being embodying the unyielding spirit of resistance and the fervent hope for a brighter, more just future around the world. Alexey had an excellent way with words, way beyond being extremely articulate, he was able to relate to almost anyone about any topic. He was able to reach out to a wide audiance, not necessarily even interested in politics, because what he said resonated and mattered to people.

Alexey was not just a political figure, he was a symbol of unwavering courage and an advocate for the voiceless. His relentless fight against corruption, his advocacy for transparency, and his unshakeable belief in justice made people take note and really listen. To many, Navalny represented the possibility of a brighter future, a departure from the web of corruption that has long plagued their country.

His campaigns were not merely political — they were a call to the common people to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the light of integrity, dignity, and accountability. His indomitable spirit, even in the face of grave danger, inspired countless individuals, myself included, to believe in the possibility of change in the most hopeless of circumstances.

Alexey's life is a testament to having the courage of one's convictions, even when the stakes are at their highest point imaginable. When it comes to Alexey, his resilient courage and convictions really encapsulate the measure of a man. His ideals and aspirations continue to live on. He has laid the groundwork for a movement that transcends borders, one that champions the universal values of freedom, integrity, and human dignity. His life's work serves as an indelible blueprint for all who strive for justice and equity, not just in Russia, but across the globe.

Finally, my deepest condolences go to Alexey's family, his mother, beautiful wife Yulia and their children. I cannot fathom their feelings in the wake of Alexey's death. I know they will be immensely proud of the beloved son, husband, father for his principles, convictions and unbreakable character until the very end. It is unmistakably clear, Alexey’s legacy will live on. This legacy is palpable, it permeates the air.  This is not the end, but rather the beginning of demise of the corrupt oppressive regime.

In one of his final letters Alexey wrote: "If your beliefs are worth anything, anything at all, you must be prepared to stand up for them. And if necessary, make some sacrifices." I encourage the reader to delve deeper into this and take the time to listen to the British actor Benedict Cumberbatch reading a translated extract of one of Navalny's letters.

A powerful oscar-winning documentary about Alexey's life, called "Navalny", by briliant director Daniel Roher, is also currently available to the Australian viewers on Stan. It is extraordinary and is worth every minute of your time.

As we commemorate Alexey's life and legacy, let us renew our commitment to the principles he championed. Let us stand in solidarity with those who continue the fight for justice and democracy around the world. His extraordinary life reminds us of the profound impact one individual can have in challenging the status quo and inspiring a collective quest for change.

In memory of Alexey Navalny, let us all have the courage of our convictions to advocate for truth, justice and human rights and be prepared to make sacrifices whilst doing so.

Serge Filippov, Principal Solicitor

Surge Legal



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