Putin a liar, thief and murderer, Navalny’s widow says as Russian president sworn in for fifth term

Ms Navalnaya, the wife of the late opposition leader Alexei Navalny, urged her supporters to continue the ‘fight’ against Putin’s ‘corrupt’ regime

Matt Mathers
Tuesday 07 May 2024 13:17 BST
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Yulia Navalnaya
Yulia Navalnaya ( )

Yulia Navalnaya branded Vladimir Putin “a liar, a thief and a murderer” just hours before the Russian president was sworn in for his fifth term in office following sham elections.

Ms Navalnaya, the wife of the late opposition leader Alexei Navalny, urged her supporters to continue the “fight” against Putin’s “corrupt” regime.

The Russian president was inaugurated for a fresh six-year stint in office on Tuesday morning at a Kremlin ceremony boycotted by several Western states – including the UK.

“With each of his terms, everything only gets worse, and it’s frightening to imagine what else will happen while Putin remains in power,” Ms Navalnaya, now the opposition leader who is exiled from Russia in an unknown location, told her supporters in a video message before the ceremony.

File photo: Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, poses with the ‘Media Freedom Prize’
File photo: Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, poses with the ‘Media Freedom Prize’ (Reuters)

“The foundation of the Putin regime is lies and corruption.”

Ms Navalnaya’s husband Alexei, who was poisoned with novichok in a suspected assassination attempt by Russia, died in an Arctic prison in February after he was jailed for several offences including terrorism, which his supporters said were politically motivated.

“Huge sums of money are stolen from us every day to fund bombings of peaceful cities, riot police beating people with batons, propagandists spreading lies,” his widower added.

“And also for their own palaces, yachts and private jets. And as long as this continues, we can’t stop the fight.”

Putin, in power as either president or prime minister since 1999, begins his new mandate more than two years after he sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine, where Russian forces have regained the initiative after a series of reversals and are seeking to advance further in the east.

Putin after being sworn in as Russia’s president on Tuesday
Putin after being sworn in as Russia’s president on Tuesday (Getty)

At 71, Putin dominates the domestic political landscape. On the international stage, he is locked in a confrontation with Western countries he accuses of using Ukraine as a vehicle to try to defeat and dismember Russia.

He won a landslide victory in a tightly controlled election from which two anti-war candidates were barred on technical grounds.

Britain, Canada and most European Union nations also decided to boycott the swearing-in, but France said it would send its ambassador.

Ukraine said the event sought to create "the illusion of legality for the nearly lifelong stay in power of a person who has turned the Russian Federation into an aggressor state and the ruling regime into a dictatorship."

“Russia’s assault on Ukraine is an unprovoked, premeditated and barbaric attack against a sovereign democratic state,” a UK Foreign Office spokesperson said.

“The UK condemns the Russian government’s reprehensible actions which are an egregious violation of international law and the UN Charter.”

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