The wife of politician Alexei Navalny, Yulia, shortly after the victory of the documentary “Navalny” at the Oscar ceremony, gave an interview to the German publication Der Spiegel (it was published on German and English languages). In it, she spoke about her impressions of the ceremony, what her current life consists of, and why she does not plan a political career. Here is a retelling of the main statements from this interview.
About winning at the Oscars
At first, I didn’t feel anything. I heard the title of the documentary, which is also my last name. I got up. I knew that now I need to go on stage, we agreed on this with the team in advance.
Two days later, I can say: I am very happy for the team, for Alexei. It’s a well-deserved win because it’s a very good documentary. I have watched it many times and every time I like it. When I watch it, it seems to me that I am talking to Alexei.
It is a very strange feeling to participate in the ceremony while Alexei is in prison. On the other hand, this probably happens once in a lifetime. You are standing surrounded by a lot of famous people that you have only seen in movies. They come up and say words of encouragement and support. I am, of course, very grateful to them for this.
About political career
I don’t think this is what I want to play. Of course, I have read many articles on this, but in my understanding, in order to participate in elections and become a politician, you need to want to do it. It doesn’t make much sense to think of it in terms of replacement – my husband goes to jail and I replace him.
I admire what she does. But like I said, you have to be willing to be a politician in order to do that. And I made a different choice: my husband is the leader of the opposition, he is in prison, I support him and draw attention to his situation.
On the state of Navalny
Of course, after being poisoned, his health is not in order. He tells me all the time that he’s fine, but I know I’m the last person he’d tell if anything was wrong. So when he publicly says that he is not doing well, I know that he feels really bad. For example, during April 2021. At that moment, I felt that the situation was critical.
He spends most of his time in solitary confinement without proper access to medical care. In such conditions, when you have health problems, they only get worse. In the morning he has problems with his arms, one of his legs goes numb, and he has problems with his back. He is constantly in danger because he is in the hands of the people who tried to kill him. This worries me a lot.
About the ban on meeting with her husband
The last time I saw my husband was a year and a month ago. Since then we have spoken on the phone two or three times. The last one was in March last year. Last summer, he was transferred to a strict regime colony – it is forbidden to call from there.
By law, he can see me or close relatives every six months, but when the time came, he was sent to the ShIZO. This made the meeting impossible. In January, he was transferred to a cell-type room, where he is constantly alone – and any visits to him are prohibited.
About your current life
My life is letters, letters letters. I try to write to Alexey every day, although I know that mail is censored. I write about everything: the weather, children’s education, books, TV shows. I have not yet been able to write to him about my impressions of the Oscar ceremony.
I’m trying to live a normal life. But now, of course, there is still much to be done. I am in constant contact with Alexei’s lawyers. I am a member of the Board of Directors of the International Anti-Corruption Foundation. And, of course, I try to take care of the children as usual.
On the release of Navalny
Alexei has already been sentenced to nine years. Very soon, he will face a new trial, in which he faces up to 35 years in prison. But in fact, these numbers mean nothing, because they have nothing to do with the law. We all understand that it is Vladimir Putin who is keeping Alexei in prison, and as long as he remains in power, it is hard to imagine that Alexei will be released.
I do not hope – I believe that soon I will see Alexei free soon. Nothing is impossible when you are in love. I fell in love with Alexei from the first days of our meeting. Since then, nothing has changed in my feelings.