Alexei Navalny’s Widow Is Invited As Biden’s Guest To The State Of The Union

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden have extended an invitation to Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, to attend Thursday’s State of the Union address, according to the White House.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre informed reporters on Tuesday that the invitation had been extended to Ms. Navalnaya. However, she clarified that the Russian opposition figure will not be present in First Lady Jill Biden’s box above the House floor during President Biden’s address to Congress on Thursday.

In response to inquiries about Ms Navalnaya’s attendance at the State of the Union, Ms Jean-Pierre confirmed that she was indeed invited. However, she is no longer able to attend. For further questions, Ms Jean-Pierre directed them to Ms Navalnaya’s representatives.

Thousands of people gathered in Moscow on Friday to bid farewell to Mr. Navalny, the opposition leader who died under mysterious circumstances at a penal colony in the Arctic Circle over two weeks ago. The funeral drew a large crowd, with a significant police presence. Reports suggest that his death occurred on February 16.

There has been a widespread accusation against Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding the death of Mr. Navalny. The 47-year-old lawyer was poisoned during a flight in 2020 using a substance commonly associated with the Russian security services.

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After receiving treatment in Germany, where Ms. Navalnaya now resides in exile, Mr. Navalny made a remarkable recovery from his life-threatening condition. Despite the high probability of his detainment and the potential risk to his life, the couple decided to return to Russia.

Yulia Navalnaya, the wife of Alexei Navalny, was unable to attend her husband’s funeral. Despite the heartbreaking circumstance, she remains determined to carry on his important work. In a heartfelt statement, she expressed her gratitude for the more than 25 years of “absolute happiness” that they shared together.

In an emotional Instagram post, she expressed her struggle with the idea of living without him, but she vowed to try her best to make him proud and find happiness in her life.

After years of staying out of the public eye, Ms. Navalnaya has made a commitment to carry on her husband’s work.

Taking on a daunting task, it is still unclear if she can, along with her husband’s followers and other opposition groups, seriously challenge the rule of Mr. Putin. He is set to be re-elected once again in March for another six-year term. Mr. Putin has been ruling his country since becoming acting president on the last day of 1999. He has held power as either president or prime minister, with a four-year period from 2008 to 2012 when one of his key allies was installed as president to accommodate term limit rules at that time.

According to the non-profit organization Freedom House, Russia is deemed “not free.” They assert that power within Russia’s authoritarian political system is concentrated in the hands of President Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin controls the media environment, has loyal security forces, a compliant judiciary, and a legislature that consists of a ruling party and malleable opposition groups. As a result, elections are manipulated, and genuine dissent is suppressed.

In an accusation directed towards Mr. Putin, Ms. Navalnaya has claimed that he is responsible for her husband’s death. However, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has dismissed this claim as both unfounded and insolent.

“After Alexei’s death, Putin not only took his life but also shattered a significant part of me – my heart and soul,” she expressed, her voice heavy with grief. “However, I refuse to let despair consume me, for I still possess the other half, urging me to persevere.”

During a recent gathering of the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council, she strongly advised leaders against acknowledging the outcomes of the Russian election held in March. Additionally, she emphasized the need for imposing sanctions on a wider range of Mr. Putin’s inner circle. Moreover, she called for increased support and assistance for Russian individuals who have sought refuge outside the country.

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