The darkness is clearing: Navalny's message to protestors

Anti-corruption blogger and activist was arrested and jailed for 15 days on Dec. 5, during the first day of protests against the fraudulent Duma election. Navalny coined the now eponymous phrase “Party of Crooks and Thieves,” in referring to the ruling party of United Russia. He wrote this letter from jail.

December 10, 2011

To stand up for your rights is easy and agreeable. And it is not at all frightening. Don’t believe the nonsense you hear about unavoidable civil unrest, fights with the police and burning cars.

We all have the only weapon we need, and the most powerful: that is the sense of self-respect.

You just have to realize that this feeling cannot be put on and taken off like a velvet little jacket. It is not turned on by a button in the kitchen with friends and turned off bashfully during a conversation with a bureaucrat, policeman or a member of the election commission.

Navalny

Alexei Navalny was absent from the Moscow Sunday rally, since he was serving a 15-day jail sentence he received for supposedly disobeying police orders in a previous demonstration. His letter sent from behind bars was read out from a stage by Oleg Kashin, journalist of the Kommersant daily and victim of an horrendous assault last year.

People with self-respect exist. And there are a lot of them. Dozens of such people are lying right now on ragged mattresses right next to me. And I know that thousands of them are standing right now on Revolutionary Square and on Bolotnyi Square in Moscow and in other cities in the country.

'We all have the only weapon we need, and the most powerful: that is the sense of self-respect.'

There are no repressions or truncheons. There are no detentions nor arrests of 15 days. This is all nonsense. It is not possible to beat up and arrest hundreds of thousands and millions. They didn’t even frighten us, but for a time convinced us that to live like toads and rats, to live like silent sheep is the only way to be awarded stability and economic growth.

The darkness is clearing and we see that the silence of sheep is but a gift for the bunch of crooks and thieves who became billionaires. This bunch and their blockheaded staff continue trying to convince us that the falsification of votes in the favor of their party of crooks and thieves is the necessary condition for having hot water on tap and having cheap mortgage loans. They fed us this for 12 years.

'We are not sheep and we are not slaves. We have a voice and we have the strength to fight.'

We are fed up. The time has come to break free from our stupor.

We are not sheep and we are not slaves. We have a voice and we have the strength to fight. All people with self-respect should feel their solidarity with each other. It doesn’t matter where they are now: on squares, in kitchens or in detention centers. We feel our solidarity with you and we know that we will win. There is no other alternative.

We are telling you: One for all and all for one!

About the author

Alexei Navalny is a political and social activist best known for his struggle with Russia’s heavy corruption.