Speed Reads

Navalny vs. Putin

Navalny labels Putin 'Vladimir the Underpants Poisoner' in scathing hearing speech

During a hearing Tuesday that will determine if he will remain in prison for several years, Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny gave a scathing speech directly aimed at Russian President Putin, whom Navalny has accused of ordering the poisoning that nearly took his life last year.

Navalny began by the speech, which Meduza translated into English, by arguing he is on trial for a fabricated, seven-year-old embezzlement case, and that the real reason he was detained upon returning to Moscow from Berlin last month is Putin's "hatred and fear" because "I mortally offended him by surviving." Navalny added that he didn't "run and hide" after the poisoning and ultimately went on to prove Putin was responsible for the murder attempt (the Kremlin denies any involvement.) As a result, Navalny said, Putin is "simply going insane" while he hides in a bunker.

"Murder is the only way [Putin] knows how to fight. He'll go down in history as nothing but a poisoner. We all remember Alexander the Liberator and Yaroslav the Wise. Well, now we'll have Vladimir the Underpants Poisoner," Navalny continued, referring to the fact that he may have been exposed to the nerve agent through his underpants.

Navalny expanded the speech beyond Putin toward the end, painting a bleak picture of Russia, where he said millions of people live in poverty with "no prospects for the future" while the "only thing growing ... is the number of billionaires." But he promised to keep fighting so the "law prevails" even though "my life isn't worth two cents," acknowledging there are Russians "who aren't afraid ... who will never hand our country over to a bunch of corrupt officials." Read the full translation at Meduza.