Protesting Putin: The Russian opposition in exile | DW Documentary

Protesting Putin: The Russian opposition in exile | DW Documentary

Protesting Putin: The Russian opposition in exile | DW Documentary

Putin’s re-election laid bare the systematic suppression of the opposition. How are Russians-in-exile continuing the struggle?

People who oppose Putin – both in Russia and abroad – used the occasion to ramp up their volume and visibility. But what can they realistically achieve? And will Navalny’s widow Yulia Navalnaya become the new face of the opposition? Filming for this report by Oxana Evdokimova was completed 17 March 2024.

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Video Transcript

Julia naala in Berlin the Widow of Putin’s most famous rival alexe naali he died suddenly in a prison camp his wife holds the kremlin’s leader responsible there could be no any negotiations and nothing with Mr Putin because he is a killer he is a gangster he is the person who brought my country

To the war jul NAA intends to continue no’s [Applause] fight as do even and Natasha they’re members of a Russian anti-war movement how does it feel to be a Russian national traitor in Exile they’re campaigning for a free Russia and against the war their home country is waging against Ukraine but what can a protest like this from AAR achieve [Applause] Julana Vana in Berlin she wants to fulfill her husband’s final wish to protest Putin’s reelection and encourage Russian opponents of the regime thank you for the hope my deepest condolences thank you you’re the best it’s so nice that you want to continue your husband’s Mission he was a great hope for us it

Died along with him but it’s come back in you we’re from kovan Stand By You and St Petersburg following nal’s death his wife addressed Russians via YouTu all of Putin opponents should go to their polling stations at noon on March 17th and Stand Together against Putin in Russia it’s the only legal opportunity

To gather in public many Russians in Exile abroad also followed y’s call I want Putin to disappear from the lives of Russians here is the most terrible thing that has happened to Russia since the Stalin era yes it’s important to show that we are against War we are not Putin and we are

Against Putin a killer and he’s a Criminal remains in power but many opponents of the regime remain in Russia and they feel isolated we have to show them that they are not alone I know that it makes little sense to protest here but that’s exactly what Putin wants for us not to be weapons for Ukraine good evening my name is Natalia I’m from a Russian survey service we’re conducting a survey would you have time for me only if it’s quick go ahead a few days earlier we meet activists from the global Network free naali they’ve rented co-working spaces to run their anti-putin campaign

From they’re calling voters in Russia to speak to Putin supporters about the war in Ukraine its victims and the costs Natasha has been here from the beginning we aren’t supposed to mention her surname we try to argue very carefully against the Russian government perhaps they have never been confronted with a

Different opinion in their lives we want to make people like that think it’s a difficult task in times of military censorship because anyone in Russia who criticizes the Russian army for its actions in Ukraine risks going to prison for several years many calls go unanswered but the activists carry on

Just as Alexi Nali once Said but how effective is such a protest especially at a distance my impression is that we’re sitting around waiting for someone to finish Putin off we talk lot but never about how to actually topple this regime it could be a mistake Putin is the kind of person who

Only understands power if he understands anything at all a view that is shared by more and more opponents of the regime but unlike their like-minded peers in Russia they can turn their anger into action here in freedom without fear of draconian repression a group selfie admittedly in

Berlin but the message is aimed at [Applause] Russia see Nal has over 1 million followers on Instagram immediately after her husband’s death she declared she would continue his work a month later her followers in Berlin are welcoming her like a star could she become the new face of the Russian

Opposition I hope that she stays alive that what happened to Alex naali doesn’t happen to her for me she’s already the face of the Russian opposition she’ll soon show her potential as a politician she could become president of course she is taking a big risk she

Has already lost her husband but has the strength to fight on if she was in the list she would be the only one in this list who would make the things better yet not everyone here has come to the Russian Embassy to protest or if only symbolically to vote

Against Putin in the rigged election of course we’re for Putin we’re for Russia for the best president no we’re not against Putin no we want everything for Russia and yet Russian supporters of Putin are not in the majority in Berlin they have to listen to the protests if they like it or not

Julana Vana has been standing in the queue for 6 hours now along with hundreds of others some here are worried whether the opposition politician will be able to leave the embassy safely after casting her vote of course it’s dangerous it’s the Russian Embassy they’ll stop nothing the German police can stand for

Democracy but inside the embassy they have no Influence finally she’s made It a change of scene we’re back with Natasha Ian and their friends they’ve called their group free naali Germany Natasha has been living in Germany for a While how does it feel to be a Russian national traitor Natasha is 19 years old she’s never known a Russian president other than Putin dimma and Ian only recently fled Russia to escape mobilization and repression we want peace for Russia we want democracy for Russia and we want we just

Want people to live in Freedom and not be afraid um of them to get in jail every day now I think we have the responsibility to to stop it before Putin wants to like blow up the whole world with his uh nuclear weapons with these stickers they want to draw

Attention to their work and show that they exist we would like to be able to put up these stickers in Russia and not have to fear for our lives and our freedom ideally there would be no need to post these stickers if there was no

War and no Putin if Russia had taken a different path a long time ago but that can no longer be reversed that’s why things are the way they are now we have to keep on Fighting a sigh of relief after about 20 minutes Yulia NAA comes out of the Russian Embassy why are you here you’re probably wondering what I wrote on the ballot paper who I voted for of course I wrote the name naali it can’t be that during the presidential election campaign just

One month before the election Putin’s most important opponent already imprisoned is murdered she’s not yet ready to answer the journalists many questions as if she was still Gathering her strength for her new role a politician who wants to challenge Putin from Exile up until now

She had only wanted to be an adviser to her husband the most important member of the opposition after his unexplained death though she seems to not have another Choice what’s your message to be brave one one day very soon we will win thank you thank you her anger at Putin and his secret

Services is enormous Alexa Nali was once rescued from a nov chock poisoning in a Berlin clinic yet he returned and was immediately arrested he continued to fight from prison until he collapsed there and died it couldn’t be any messages to Mr Putin nothing now she steps into his footsteps

She’s willing to take the risk for the fight that made her husband pay the ultimate price for a free Russia and she’s not [Applause] Alone

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