«Navalny, as Ukrainians and liberal Russians remember well, vehemently supported the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008 and even used derogatory, dehumanising terms to refer to the Georgian people. Several years later, he would apologise for the terms he used, but never for his support of the Russian war on Georgia.
He saw the Russian people as victims of injustice under Putin’s regime, not the Ukrainians. In his view, no wrong had been committed against Ukraine that was worth righting.»
In late February 2023, Navalny’s team published a 15-point manifesto that sought to clear much of the controversy around their views of Ukraine. Importantly, the manifesto acknowledged the internationally recognised borders of Ukraine, implying the need for the restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty over Crimea and all other currently occupied Ukrainian territories.
The document also insisted on withdrawing all Russian troops from Ukraine, offering reparations, investigating war crimes in cooperation with international institutions, and ultimately letting Ukraine live and develop as Ukrainians want.
For many Ukrainians, however, this change of heart is well past its due date. In today’s Ukraine, very few believe that the Russian aggression can be stopped by anti-Putin activism, even one that is unambiguously pro-Ukrainian.»