Letter to Vladimir Putin: Release Alexei Navalny

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AHOLY LEXEI, Russia’s main opposition leader, remains a crack in Vladimir Putin’s side. When he flew back to Moscow from Germany in 2021, after being poisoned by Russian agents, he never made it through passport control. He is still in prison and ill-treated. Today we and other publications are publishing a letter from more than 100 actors, writers, playwrights and other public figures, who are asking Mr. Putin to release Mr. Navalny.

As our Next Year in Moscow podcast series explains, for Mr. Navalny, Mr. Navalny’s imprisonment is not the end of the story, it is where the new Russia begins.

28 April 2023

To President Putin,

As we write and you know that Alexei Navalny is being held in IK-6, one of the harshest penal colonies in your country. He is regularly returned to solitary confinement, squeezed into a concrete cell the size of a dog kennel, with no ventilation. Visits from relatives and phone calls are prohibited, his attorney privileges have been suspended. Despite running a fever, he has to stand all day.

We add our voices to those of the 600 Russian doctors who want urgent and immediate independent medical help. Another 100 Russian lawyers and 100 regional representatives are demanding that Navalny’s torture stop and again that medical aid be provided.

Navalny is serving a prison sentence based on charges that would not be upheld under any independent legal system. We support the call of the German government, the US authorities, and the European Union for his immediate release. It is in your power.

Michael Abramowitz (President of Freedom House)

JJ Abrams (filmmaker, composer)

Pamela Adlon (actress)

Paige Alexander (Director of the Carter Center)

Svetlana Alexievitch (journalist, writer, Nobel Prize winner)

Anne Applebaum (journalist, writer)

Margaret Atwood (writer)

Mikhail Baryshnikov (dance, choreographer)

Gina Bellman (actress)

François Berléand (actor)

Ingrid Betancourt (politician, activist, writer)

François Bizot (anthropologist)

William Boyd (writer)

John Burnham Schwartz (author, screenwriter)

Ken Burns (filmmaker)

Carole Cadwalladr (journalist, writer)

Alastair Campbell (journalist, writer)

Éric Cantona (actor, former professional soccer player)

Elizabeth Carling (actress, singer)

Emmanuel Carrère (writer, filmmaker)

Jung Chang (writer)

Enzo Cilenti (actor)

Christopher Clark (historian)

JM Coetzee (writer, Nobel Prize winner)

Costa-Gavras (filmmaker)

Benedict Cumberbatch (actor)

Alan Cumming (actor)

Charles Cummins (writer)

Emma Cunniffe (actress)

Rachel Cusk (writer)

Richard Dawkins (biologist, writer)

David Duchovny (actor, writer, singer)

Pasquale Esposito (actor, singer, filmmaker)

Sir Richard Evans (historian)

Sebastian Faulks (writer)

Neil Ferguson (historian)

Orlando Figes (historian)

Kate Fleetwood (actress)

Jonathan Franzen (writer)

Michael Frayn (writer)

Neil Gaiman (writer)

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (historian, editor, filmmaker)

Jamie Glover (actor)

Linda Goldstein Knowlton (filmmaker, producer)

Vesna Goldsworthy (poet, writer)

Philip Gourevitch (journalist, writer)

Roy Greenslade (journalist, writer)

Sienna Guillory (actress)

Nedim Gürsel (writer)

Matt Haig (journalist, writer)

David Hare (filmmaker, writer)

Irina Higgins (Psychologist)

Stephen Hopkins (filmmaker)

Sharon Horgan (actress, writer, filmmaker)

Anthony Horowitz (writer)

Rebecca Johnson (actress)

Erling Kagge (writer, researcher)

Bentley Kalu (actor)

Daniel Kehlmann (writer)

Etgar Keret (writer)

Jemima Khan (UNICEF Ambassador)

David Lavin (entrepreneur)

Jude Law (actor)

Kathy Lette (writer)

Marc Levy (writer)

Dixie Linder (producer)

Giorgio Marchesi (actor)

Agnes Martin-Lugand (writer)

Mariana Martins (entrepreneur)

Natascha McElhone (actress)

John MacEwan (writer)

Catherine Merridale (historian)

Claire Messud (writer)

Tim Minchin (comedian, writer, musician)

Herta Müller (writer, Nobel Prize winner)

Charlie Murphy (actress)

Peter Nádas (writer)

Azar Nafisi (writer, professor)

Sylvia Nasar (journalist)

Bill Nighy (actor)

Amélie Nothomb (writer)

Trevor Nunn (theatre director)

Tracy Ann Oberman (actress, playwright)

George Packer (journalist, writer)

Orhan Pamuk (writer, Nobel Prize winner)

Daniele Pecci (actor, film director)

Maria Popova (writer, poet)

Ellendea Proffer Teasley (writer, translator, editor)

Philip Pullman (writer)

Charlotte Randall (writer)

Dame Vanessa Redgrave (actress, activist)

David Remnick (journalist, writer, editor)

Jean Reno (actor)

Daniel Roher (Oscar-winning documentary maker)

JK Rowling (writer)

Arundathi Roy (writer)

Salman Rushdie (writer)

Alicia Sams (producer)

Nitin Sawhney (writer, producer)

Simon Schama (historian)

Kristin Scott Thomas (actress)

Simon Sebag-Montefiore (writer, historian)

Zaab Sethna (businessman)

Claudia Silver (actress, screenwriter)

Peter Singer (writer, activist)

Ali Smith (writer)

Timothy Snyder (historian)

Art Spiegelman (cartoonist, editor)

Samantha Spiro (actress)

Juliet Stevenson (actress)

Tom Stoppard (drama)

Alexia Stresi (writer)

Arch Tait (translator, editor)

Paul Theroux (writer)

Olga Tokarczuk (writer, Nobel Prize winner)

Katherine Tozer (writer)

Mark Umbers (actor)

Álvaro Vargas Llosa (writer, political commentator)

Mario Vargas Llosa (writer, Nobel Prize winner)

Indira Varma (actress)

Marina Warner (writer, historian)

Dominic West (actor)

Olivia Williams (actress)

Rowan Williams (former Archbishop of Canterbury, poet, philosopher, peacemaker)

Simon Winchester (journalist, writer)

Susannah Wise (actress)

James Wood (writer)

Lawrence Wright (journalist, writer)

Thom Yorke (singer, composer, songwriter)

Assad Zaman (actor)

Elsa Zylberstein (actress).

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