Posthumous memoir by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny to be published Oct. 22


NEW YORK (AP) — A memoir Alexei Navalny began working on in 2020 will be published this fall. “Patriot,” which publisher Alfred A. Knopf is calling the late Russian opposition leader’s “final letter to the world,” will come out Oct. 22.

Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, said in a statement released Thursday by the publisher, “This book is a testament not only to Alexei’s life, but to his unwavering commitment to the fight against dictatorship—a fight he gave everything for, including his life. Through its pages, readers will come to know the man I loved deeply—a man of profound integrity and unyielding courage. Sharing his story will not only honor his memory but also inspire others to stand up for what is right and to never lose sight of the values that truly matter.”

Navalny, 47, died in February while serving a 19-year prison sentence on extremism charges that he condemned as politically motivated. He was jailed after returning from Germany in January 2021, where he was recuperating from the 2020 nerve agent poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin, and was given three prison terms since.

He died in a remote penal colony above the Arctic Circle. Russian officials have vehemently denied involvement both in the poisoning and in his death.

According to Knopf, Navalny began working on the book in Germany, and continued writing it in Russia, both in and out of prison.

“In vivid, page-turning detail, including never-before-seen correspondence from prison, Navalny recounts, among other things, his political career, the many attempts on his life, and the lives of the people closest to him, and the relentless campaign he and his team waged against an increasingly dictatorial regime,” Knopf’s announcement reads in part.

“Written with the passion, wit, candor, and bravery for which he was justly acclaimed, ‘Patriot’ is Navalny’s final letter to the world: a moving account of his last years spent in the most brutal prison on earth; a reminder of why the principles of individual freedom matter so deeply; and a rousing call to continue the work for which he sacrificed his life.”

In a thread on X, formerly Twitter, Navalnaya said Thursday that she had envisioned her husband writing a memoir much later in his life, when they’re both “around 80” and have grandchildren.

Many prompted Navalny to start writing after the poisoning, she said, but he initially brushed off these suggestions: “What kind of memoir is it when you’re 44? It’s only been a little more than half (his) life. He wasn’t in a rush — so much was yet to come. But it turned out the way it turned out. Horrible and very, very unfair. It turned out there was no other half ahead.”

She said the memoir has already been translated into 11 languages and will “definitely” be published in Russian, as well. It wasn’t clear from her remarks if the book will come out in Russia, however, where Navalny was convicted as a leader of an extremist group, and his foundation and offices were outlawed.

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