Director's Statement on Alexey Navalny photo

Director’s Statement on Alexey Navalny

February 16, 2024

The entire Yale World Fellows family is heartbroken by reports that Alexey Navalny, courageous Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption dissident, has died.

Alexey was a Yale World Fellow from the class of 2010, who embodied the ideals of the open society and dedicated his life to the pursuit of a better Russia. After being poisoned by the state, he bravely returned to Russia, only to face immediate arrest. He defied a dictatorship, and paid for it with his life.

We will remember his unflagging courage and his selfless sacrifice—and also his mischievous grin, his sense of humor, and his devotion to his family. 

Alexey was a larger-than-life figure. His life was an inspiration to us all. 

Last year, at the World Fellows’ 20th reunion, we saved an empty seat for Alexey in the front row. He will no longer be able to occupy it, but a place remains for all those around the world who continue in his path. His spirit is uncrushable. He lives on in all of us.

Emma Sky, director, International Leadership Center, Yale University