Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has called on Russians to take to the streets and demand to “stop the war” against Ukraine, calling President Vladimir Putin an “obviously insane czar.”
“We must, gritting our teeth and overcoming fear, come out and demand an end to the war,” Navalny tweeted via a spokesperson to his 2.6 million followers Wednesday.
Navalny said Russians must fight to regain the values of peace, which he says were shared by Soviet citizens and which he claims have been taken away by Putin.
“Let’s at least not become a nation of frightened silent people. Of cowards who pretend not to notice the aggressive war against Ukraine unleashed by our obviously insane czar,” Navalny wrote.
Navalny’s comments come seven days after Putin ordered Russian troops over the border with Ukraine in a full-scale invasion of its western neighbor.
Authorities have since cracked down on dissent, blocking independent news channels Ekho Moskvy and Dozhd TV and detaining over 6,000 anti-war protesters.
“If in order to stop the war we have to fill prisons and paddy wagons with ourselves, we will fill prisons and paddy wagons with ourselves,” Navalny wrote.
“Everything has a price, and now, in the spring of 2022, we must pay this price. There’s no one to do it for us. Let’s not ‘be against the war.’ Let’s fight against the war.”
A fierce critic of Putin and Russia’s most symbolic opposition figure, Navalny is currently serving a 2.5-year prison sentence after surviving a poisoning attack that he blames on the Kremlin.
He is currently on trial for new charges that could extend his prison term by up to 15 years.
Most of Navalny’s top allies and associates have fled the country since Russian authorities banned his groups as “extremist” last summer.