Mr Navalny was arrested immediately upon his return to Moscow on January 17, sparking an outcry in Russia which led to mass protests across the country. More than 10,000 people have been arrested by police in a crackdown on the anti-Putin protests. Now, Yuri Felshtinsky has claimed the Russian President is desperate to keep hold of power and has been comparing his situation to Gaddafi’s in 2011.
The Russian-American author said the ongoing protests following Mr Navalny’s arrest has convinced Putin draconian repression of opposition is needed to keep himself in power.
The Atlantic reported in 2017 the President has “watched obsessively” videos of Gaddafi being executed by a Libyan mob.
Mr Felshtinsky agreed with the suggestion Putin is scared he would die if he let up on his oppressive leadership.
He told The Sun: “He’s bright enough to know that under normal rules, his system of government cannot exist. He’s not an idealist.
The Atlantic reported in 2017 Gaddafi’s death “led the Russian premier to believe he must actively cultivate his domestic popular support, especially with his country in economic decline, and to do disrupt American politics, lest he be the next dictator to be deposed by American intervention”.
Speaking from his website, Mr Navalny urged supporters and protesters to resist Putin’s “intimidation” and to continue demonstrating.
He said he still feels like a “free person” because of his “belief in the righteousness of my cause”.
He described his treatment since his return to Russia as “Putin’s personal revenge on me…or the fact that I survived, that I dared to return.”
In a statement on his website, Mr Navalny added: “Do not allow yourself to be intimidated. Don’t allow yourself to be fooled by an illusion of strength and swagger.
“They can only hold on to power, using it for their own enrichment, by relying on our fear.
“Instead, by fighting our fear, we can liberate our Motherland from the little band of thieves and occupiers. And we will do this.
“It is our duty to do it. For ourselves and for future generations. The truth is on our side. Stay free.”