Navalny’s ‘Next Year in Jerusalem’ Revealed in Correspondence With Natan Sharansky

Israeli human rights activist Natan Sharansky poses for a photo in Kyiv, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

American journalist Bari Weiss revealed an exchange between the late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and the renowned Prisoner of Zion, Natan Sharansky, in April 2023. This exchange, which occurred while Navalny was still imprisoned and just months before his death under mysterious circumstances, provides insight into Navalny’s thoughts and struggles.

In a letter penned by Navalny, he expressed gratitude for Sharansky’s book, Fear No Evil, which he had read in his cell. Navalny humorously remarked about potentially being transferred to the same facility as Sharansky, and drew parallels between the oppressive systems described in the book and present-day Russia under Vladimir Putin. He spoke of how Sharansky’s experiences in solitary confinement gave him hope and inspiration to continue his own fight for freedom and against the current regime.

“And yet, the virus of freedom is not dead. Not tens or hundreds, but tens and hundreds of thousands are ready to go out for freedom and against the war, despite the threats. Hundreds of them are already in prisons, but I am convinced that they will not break and will not surrender. Many of them find strength, among other things, in your story and legacy, and I am one of them. Thank you.” Navalny concludes the letter with the words “Next year in Jerusalem,” written in Cyrillic letters.

In response, Sharansky praised Navalny’s courage and style, highlighting the importance of his actions in inspiring others and standing up to oppression. He urged Navalny to maintain his inner freedom despite the physical challenges he faced.

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