Return to Transcripts main page


Interview With Russian Historian And International Affairs At The New School Professor Nina Khrushcheva; Interview With Former U.S. Secretary Of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Interview With "All The Kremlin's Men" And "War And Punishment" Author Mikhail Zygar; Interview With "This is Not Propaganda" Author And Johns Hopkins University Agora Institute Senior Fellow Peter Pomerantsev; Interview With Wife Of Jailed Russian Opposition Figure Vladimir Kara-Murza Evgenia Kara-Murza. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired February 16, 2024 - 13:00   ET



BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR. Here's what's coming up.

The Russian prison service says Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is dead. We bring you the very latest.

And Christian gets reaction from Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at this year's Munich Security Conference.

Plus --


ALEXEI NAVALNY, RUSSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER: The choice is very simple. You are either scared or you go on. I chose to go on a long time ago. I won't

give up on my country. I won't give up on my civil rights.


GOLODRYGA: -- a thorn in Putin's side, Correspondent Matthew Chance looks back at the courageous life of the anti-corruption campaigner.

Then with dissent being quashed inside Russia and all-out war in Ukraine, we'll delve into what Navalny's death might mean for the world with

journalists Mikhail Zygar and Peter Pomerantsev.

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.

It's news that stunned the world. Alexei Navalny, Russia's most famous opposition figure, has died while in jail. That's according to the

country's prison authorities. A chorus of world leaders are calling for accountability, from the NATO secretary general who says Russia has

"serious questions" to answer, to U.S. President Joe Biden, who praised Navalny for bravely standing up to corruption and violence. He said that he

was outraged, but not surprised. Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Make no mistake. Putin is responsible for Navalny's death. Putin is responsible. What has happened to Navalny is yet

more proof of Putin's brutality.


GOLODRYGA: Now, it comes as leaders converge in Munich for the Annual Security Conference where Russia was already top of the agenda. This

morning, Alexei Navalny's wife, Yulia, took to the conference stage urging the International Community to take a stand.


YULIA NAVALYANA, ALEXEI NAVALNY'S WIFE (through translator): I want them to know that they will be punished for what they have done with our

country, with my family, and with my husband. They will be brought to justice, and this day will come soon.


GOLODRYGA: It is unclear how Navalny may have died, but state media is reporting the doctors tried to resuscitate him for more than half an hour.

Like all outspoken Kremlin critics, Navalny knew that he had a target on his back. In 2020, he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok and

treated in Germany. Navalny blamed Putin for that. Moscow denied it. But despite great risk, he wanted to return home as he explained to Christiane

just before he flew back to Russia.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Why do you want to go back? And, I guess, do you think you'll be safe when you go back?

ALEXEI NAVALNY, RUSSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER: Well, I don't think that I can have a such a privilege being safe in Russia, but I have to go back because

I don't want these, you know, groups of killer exist in Russia. I don't want Putin be ruling of Russia. I don't him being president. I don't want

him being czar of Russia because, well, he's killing people. He's the reason why ours -- the whole country is degrading. He's the reason why

people are so poor. We have 25 million people living below the poverty line, and the whole degradation of system.

Fortunately for me -- including system of assassination of people, he's the reason over that. And I want to go back and try to change it.


GOLODRYGA: While there have been reports of Navalny's deteriorating health for months now, the news has come as a shock to many. As Navalny's mother

says she saw her son on Monday, and he was healthy and cheerful. And just yesterday, Alexei Navalny got laughs in court when he joked with the judge

in one of his final appearances.


NAVALNY (through translator): Your honor, I am waiting, and I will send you my bank account number so that you could warm it up a little from your

huge salary of the federal judge. Because my money is running dry, and because of the decision you took, it will end even sooner. So do transfer,

Alexander Alexandrovich. You too. Please have the whole prison chip in. Bye.


GOLODRYGA: Up until the very end, he used his humor as a weapon to fight the system. So, how is it that Alexei Navalny rose to become Vladimir

Putin's most prominent opponent? And what drove him to continue his opposition knowing the inevitable consequences? Correspondent Matthew

Chance reports.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A blogger and lawyer- turned opposition politician and anti-corruption campaigner. Alexei Navalny was a menace for the Kremlin, who was not afraid to call President Putin

out directly.

NAVALNY (through translator): Corruption is not just Putin, yet his is the base. He's a man who governs openly with the help of corruption.

CHANCE (voice-over): Navalny rose to prominence in 2008, exposing corruption in state-owned corporations. Three years later, he emerged as

the leader of mass protests in the country after allegations of fraud in parliamentary elections.

Navalny was arrested several times during his life, including in 2013 after being convicted of embezzlement charges just as he was preparing to run for

mayor of Moscow. It was a campaign he would lose. Navalny denied all the charges and called them politically motivated.

A retrial in 2017 prevented him from running for office, this time for president against Vladimir Putin. That same year, he was attacked with a

green antiseptic fluid. It caused him damage in the vision of his right eye and temporarily dyed his skin green.

One year later, Navalny told me what kept him going.

NAVALNY (through translator): The choice is very simple. You are either scared or you go on. I chose to go on a long time ago. I won't give up on

my country. I won't give up on my civil rights.

CHANCE (voice-over): He exercised those rights by calling on his millions of followers across social media to protest, putting him firmly in the

Kremlin's crosshairs.

In August 2020, on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow, Navalny fell seriously ill. An emergency diversion by the plane's pilot appears to have saved his

life. Amid an international outcry, he was allowed to fly for treatment to Germany, where it was discovered he'd been poisoned with Novichok, a

chemical nerve agent.

Later, the CNN billing cast investigation revealed that for years, Navalny had been trailed by FSB agents. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any

involvement. But an assassination attempt and a medically induced coma didn't deter Navalny from taking his fight to a higher level.

Whilst recovering in Germany, he conducted a sting operation against an FSB agent, convincing the operative to detail in a phone call how the Novichok

was used against him. That was then broadcast on his YouTube channel. Shortly after, he released a video offering Russians a look at what his

team called Putin's Palace, a mansion by the Black Sea estimated to be worth more than a billion dollars. President Putin denied the palace

belongs to him or his family members.

In January 2021, Navalny returned to Moscow after receiving lifesaving treatment in Germany. He was immediately arrested for violating probation

terms imposed from a 2014 case and sent to a penal colony where he went on hunger strike protesting against prison officials' refusal to grant him

access to proper medical care.

He'll be remembered for his bravery in tackling corruption across Russia and as one of Vladimir Putin's biggest adversaries.


GOLODRYGA: Our thanks to Matthew Chance for that report. Well, now Nina Khrushcheva followed Alexei Navalny's opposition campaign against Vladimir

Putin closely. The Russian historian and author is also the great granddaughter of 20th century Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, and she

joins me now.

Nina, I wish we were speaking under better circumstances. Even though we knew that Alexei Navalny was in deteriorating health, there was something

immortal about him given everything that he had overcome and survived, and yet decided, once he was rehabilitated, to go back to Russia where he

clearly was a true patriot of the country in every sense of the word.

Now, news that that he has died a slow death, a slow murder, one could describe given his treatment. What is your reaction to the news?


dead because he's become a symbol of this kind of resistance to the system when you know it's going to destroy you and you still fight it. So, in this

sense, he's like a new Andrei Sakharov of this generation. He's willing to sacrifice his life.


But -- and I was talking to a lot of friends and people who obviously care and the whole world cares, and everybody was saying, we were expecting this

because we knew that the system ultimately -- even if it's not a direct order from the Kremlin, the system was going to kill him because it is the

death by the hand of the state.

And still a shock. It is a shock because somehow you hope that because he was such a brave man, he was such a hero, he was such a patriot that

somehow fate will spare him. And fate, of course, did not spare him. And he died even though just right before his death, he was joking.

He saw his mother. He saw his lawyer on Wednesday who said that he seemed fine. But he wasn't fine. I mean -- think, I think he was sent to solitary

confinement 27 times. He was there for two weeks at a time just because his button was not buttoned the right way or he didn't say hello in a cheerful


So, it was -- the way he was treated was amounting to torture. And in this sense, not only, it is unfortunate history of Russian great leaders --

oppositional leaders that have to sacrifice their lives to oppose the state, but also it yet another evidence of how inhumane, horrific, and

torturous and villainous the state is.

GOLODRYGA: You compare him to Sakharov, but let's recall, we're coming up on the nine-year anniversary of the murder of another opposition

charismatic figure, and that was Boris Nemtsov, who was murdered in 2015 in Moscow. People were saying similar things about him, that his murder would

change the trajectory of Putin's power, of his control over the country.

And we've only seen it clamped down. Recall, Nina, when Navalny returned in 2021, there were mass protests on the street after he was initially

arrested. And now, you see images of people taking to the streets, not in Russian cities at large, but, you know, mostly in neighboring European

capitals. Do you think this impacts Russia at all and specifically Putin's hold on power?

KHRUSHCHEVA: Well, it does. And in fact, Boris Nemtsov's death in 2015, it impacted because -- and I was talking about the torturous and murderous

system is that every time something like that happened, actually the state gets tougher. So, the more blood it spills, the more blood it wants. So, in

this sense, after Nemtsov's death, the state got tougher and tougher on its critics. So, that happened. And I expect that to happen again.

But also, I mean, you say neighboring countries, not just in neighboring countries, I mean, there are images pouring from Moscow and Yekaterinburg

and other cities where people bring flowers. In effect, you so already that FSB, the security forces, the Amva (ph) did -- the internal forces, they

already warned people against any oppositional movements. Anything, anything.

So, I would imagine that soon enough if there is more and more outpouring of support and condolences, people will start getting arrested. In fact, I

was going to this opposition meetings when Navalny returned, and they were indeed massive. And very quickly, I mean, I think they would allow us to

protest for about an hour and then people would be just taken into police stations in giant numbers.

So, that suggests that the state is still an incredibly weak, despite -- you know, still, despite all the clampdown, it shows the absolute weakness

of that state. It doesn't mean it's going to collapse tomorrow, but it means that the more Putin expands his power over people, the more he gets

paranoid, but also the more protests is brewing somewhere underneath. And that's why he's going to clamp down more. But he's also less safe than he

was when he would allow a little bit of opposition to exist, because that's how you get the steam out. So, if I were him, knowing Russian history, I

would be quite worried.

GOLODRYGA: And the Kremlin's spin on all of this is that the death of this Kremlin critic, right, and Alexei Navalny's passing and murder, let's just

call it that, given how he's been treated over the past few years, only benefits the West and not Russia, not the Kremlin.

Do you view it that way? Because the -- we heard from President Biden just a few minutes ago that he -- in his view, and I think many would agree, the

best response for this would be for Congress to get its act together and finally pass that legislation that would see some $60 billion in aid going

to help Ukraine.


KHRUSHCHEVA: Well, that's true. But, you know, part of the Congress that doesn't approve of this legislation is the Trump people. And we remember

that Trump said, well, you know, maybe Putin killed people, but we also kill people. So, for him it's not such a big deal. And hence, for his wing

of the party, Trump's wing of the party, it may not be such a big deal. So, yes. But perhaps, maybe not.

But as for Putin taking advantage of this or not taking advantage of that, I think logically yes, it would be a really horrible thing for Putin before

the elections, Navalny was not forgotten, but it was sort of quiet and under the rug. And, you know, he was somewhere behind the Arctic Circle and

not every day he would be remembered.

And one time, there was another opposition figure journalist of Novaya Gazeta, Anna Politkovskaya, who was similarly killed in 2006 and Putin

said, well, she was more important to me alive than dead because now she's a martyr.

I think that logically, rationally it is the case, but in a paranoid mind of a person who has been in power for 25 years, the dead martyrs are still

better than live martyrs because they cannot -- the image of them, he thinks, is not as important when there's a live figure leading the

potential protests.

So, in this sense, I think where Putin is concerned, just yet another opposition is dead and there is so many still remain. And so, if they

disappear, then he's going to rule forever. But that's how dictators think. That's not how rational politics is done. Putin is a dictator. And

therefore, he thinks in Stalinesque terms, in dictatorial form terms, which has nothing to do with rational explanation of what happened and how to

react to this.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, if you're even darker days ahead for Russia under Vladimir Putin. Nina Khrushcheva, thank you so much for your time.

So, how is the world reacting to all of this and what is the mood like at the Munich Security Conference? Christiane joins me from Munich now.

And, Christiane, this news, just a gut punch to everyone around the world, especially those who are there with you, most notably that being Alexei

Navalny's wife, Yulia, who is so brave to speak to the audience there. I know you're speaking with world leaders about it, and you are going to be

speaking now to Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on this issue.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Indeed. And the former secretary is with me right now.

There was an audible gasp from so many people. I mean, some people cried. Some people yelled. Some people were just completely shocked. It's really

cast a pall over this conference, which already has challenges about America's continued leadership of NATO, about whether Ukraine will survive

another year. So, this has been incredibly difficult for everybody here. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is joining me.

And you very quickly tweeted, Madam Secretary -- thank you for being with us on this day -- you know, your condolences not only to his family and

friends and his staff, but to the people of Russia.


AMANPOUR: You were sending a message.

CLINTON: I was, Christiane. You know, I have gotten to know Navalny's wife and daughter. I have gotten to work with the number of the people who have

been around him exposing corruption, putting together an opposition agenda to Putin. And it was so tragic to hear that he's been killed.

And there's no doubt in my mind -- and I know President Biden just made a statement based on the intelligence available to our government -- that his

death is a result of Putin's brutality. And it is a tragedy for Russia that someone who was willing to stand up and speak out and really represent a

different future for Russia should be killed.

And you probably have heard that he was actually on video yesterday from the prison doing some kind of a legal appearance. He looked healthy. He was

his usual kind of confident, joke-cracking self. In fact, his wife and others who saw that video yesterday were quite reassured that he was OK.

And then we get this terrible news today.

AMANPOUR: And I want to read what you chose of him to put out in your tweet. This is Alexei Navalny, listen, I have got something very obvious to

tell you. You're not allowed to give up. If they decide to kill me, it means that we are incredibly strong. You know, that was him --


AMANPOUR: -- kind of a death foretold --


AMANPOUR: -- and trying to tell his people, do not give up hope one way or the other. And you have had plenty of experience when you were secretary of

state with President Putin, with elections there, with the whole attempt at some kind of democracy. What do you think this means today? I mean, what

room is there in Russia anymore for that?

CLINTON: Well, I think it's important that those of us who believe in the human spirit and freedom and democracy and who believe the Russian people

deserve a lot better than they're getting under Putin and his cronies take to heart what Navalny said in that quote that I used in responding to his

death, because, you know, change doesn't happen easily, and it doesn't happen because we want it.


It happens because, year after year, strong people are willing to say, this is wrong, we deserve better. And, honestly, I think what he is alluding to

in that comment is, it shows weakness. He went back to Russia.

The film about him going back and Putin's first attempt to murder him by poison and how he miraculously recovered, thanks to German medical

treatment -- and we're here in Munich. You know, this film, which you haven't -- if you haven't seen it, you should see it -- it won the Academy

Award -- shows a man who is truly, you know, engaged at every level, every cell of his body, in trying to, you know, stand up for what Russia could


He knew when he went back he was going to be arrested. He was literally arrested at the airport. And I think it may not have been a death foretold,

but an awareness of the risk he was taking. And it -- this is a message also for people in Europe and in the United States, particularly, who think

that you can somehow make a deal with Putin, that you can let down your defenses, when someone who's as brutal a dictator as he is intends only to


And if that means killing your opposition, as he's done with so many people over so many years, or invading a peaceful neighbor and trying to bend it

to his will, that's what he will do.

AMANPOUR: So, you lead me obviously into, before this death, the real questions here, as I alluded at the beginning in introducing you, was, can

Ukraine survive another year? Will the United States step up? And will the United States continue to be a leader of NATO, given former President

Trump's recent comments?

President Biden said this week, supporting this bill, the one foreign aid and military aid, is standing up to Putin; opposing it is playing into

Putin's hands.


AMANPOUR: What -- I mean, you're a former senator. You know, the Senate came kicking and screaming, but they passed it. But the House hasn't passed



AMANPOUR: Where do you think, you know, in the political realm, this is going to go?

CLINTON: Well, one thing I know for sure, if this bill from the Senate were ever put on the floor of the House, it would pass. It would pass

overwhelmingly, because the people who are preventing it, starting with the speaker, Mike Johnson, are not doing America's business. They're doing

Donald Trump's business. And why is Donald Trump so enamored of Putin? Well, part of it is, he's a wannabe dictator. He has told us that


He even said the other day, let's basically get out of NATO and encourage Putin to do what he wants to do. How absurd a statement that is cannot even

be, you know, measured, because you are essentially giving a green light to a murderous, brutal dictator. Nobody who is siding with Trump on this issue

would want to live under that kind of regime.

AMANPOUR: I want to ask you, though. You said, if it came to the floor of the House, it would pass overwhelmingly.

CLINTON: Yes, it would.

AMANPOUR: We know that the majority of Americans believe and support NATO.


AMANPOUR: And they want to support it. But why do you think that? Then why isn't it coming to the floor of the House?

CLINTON: Well, this is one of the great political mysteries of our time, because there are Republicans who feel that they took an oath to Donald

Trump, not to the United States of America.

And I don't say that lightly, but I cannot understand it. There are people I served with in the Senate for eight years who have turned on America in

order to curry favor with Trump. I don't recognize these people. These are people who I worked with, that I traveled with. And to hear what's coming

out of their mouths now is just shocking to me.

So, there's something going on in this minority of the Republican members of Congress, particularly in the House, that makes them seem as though

they're a member of the Trump cult, not that they took an oath to serve our country and work on behalf of their constituents. I'm hoping that better

heads will prevail and we will get that vote.

AMANPOUR: For those who say this is just Trump in campaign mode --

CLINTON: No, that's not true, Christiane. You need to listen to him and take him seriously. He is telling us what he wants to do. He wants to be a

dictator on day one. He wants to round up people because of the way they look. They may or may not be undocumented. It doesn't matter to him. He

wants to call out the Army to do that.


He wants to use, you know, the Insurrection Act to militarize American law enforcement. He has a whole team of right-wing thinkers, so to speak, who

are coming up with an agenda called Project 2025. He wants to rid the government of any kind of independent expertise.

So, you know, he wants people who will say -- when he said memorably during COVID, maybe you should inject yourself with bleach, instead of looking

shocked, they will say, yes, sir, Mr. President. That's what he wants. He wants to bend the government of the United States to his will, just like

Vladimir Putin did to Russia.

AMANPOUR: So, what do you think, then, this Munich Security Conference is going to be able to do? Do you think people like yourself, people like Vice

President Harris, who told the --


AMANPOUR: -- the plenary today that the United States stands firm, it will still carry out its leadership role, and that they hope they can still

continue supporting Ukraine. Do you feel that people will be comforted by that? Will they be able to believe it? How do you think Europe is going to

react to this kind of anxiety about America?

CLINTON: Well, I know, because I have been talking to a lot of European leaders, people that I served with when I was secretary of state, knew in

years even before that. They're worried. They're worried about not just America's leadership. That's like a shorthand of saying America's values,

America's spine, America's conscience, America's values. Are we going to walk away from an aggressive war on the continent of Europe? We have been

down that road before. We have seen this movie. It doesn't turn out well for the United States, Europe, and the world.

So, I think that there is going to have to be some very open, honest conversations about what this will do to the United States. And I thought

the vice president gave a very strong, good speech today outlining some of those consequences.

And I want to just throw in this factoid. If you look at all of the money that Europe has given to Ukraine to support its war efforts, primarily

military, some humanitarian, they have given more money than the United States. They have given more money on a per capita basis. They have given

more money on an absolute comparison. Europe understands what's at stake. Putin would not stop if he got his way in Ukraine.

AMANPOUR: Apparently, Senator Angus King, he told me on the program a week or so ago that the United States actually, in terms of GDP and how much it

puts into its defense budget, is 15.

Actually, the European countries, especially those that surround Russia and are very vulnerable, they do relatively more.

CLINTON: That's right.

AMANPOUR: So, that, he said to me, was a bit of a -- whatever they call it, a straw man.

CLINTON: Yes. And that's what Trump keeps saying. They have to pay their way. They pay their way. On a comparative basis, Senator King is absolutely


AMANPOUR: You know, as I said, it's very, very touch-and-go for Ukraine right now militarily. They're running out of everything.

CLINTON: Yes, they are.

AMANPOUR: The stories from the front lines are really terrifying, not only the personnel exhausted, but they are reporting a lack of shells and all of

that stuff.

I spoke to the former NATO general and commander, General Philip Breedlove, and he said, Ukraine can win, but it depends on us, on Western will --

CLINTON: That's right.

AMANPOUR: -- and on American will and on American political leaders.

CLINTON: Yes. That's right. Well, he's absolutely right. I mean, he knows the military situation. I know the political situation. If we actually

voted to reflect the majority in Congress, the majority in the United States, we would be sending more help to Ukraine right now.

I think, in order to fill the gap between now and when we can try to force a vote on the floor of the House, which I think is what's going to have to

happen, other countries need to look at their weapons stocks. If they were thinking of sending or selling something to someone else, halt that sale,

send it to Ukraine. We have got to keep Ukraine going. And they are running out of ammunition.

I was just speaking with some Ukrainian representatives, and, you know, their front-line soldiers, who have been so brave, are literally getting,

you know, a couple of shells. That's all they're getting. And they need more help, and they need more air defense and more anti-missile defense as


AMANPOUR: Can I switch to another terrible war that's exacting terrible casualties?

CLINTON: Yes. Yes.

AMANPOUR: And the president is very -- trying to figure out a way to stop the worst casualties here. You said last week, Netanyahu should go. This

is, of course, Israel, Palestine, Gaza. He is not a trustworthy leader. It was on his watch that the October 7th attack happened. He needs to go. And

if he's an obstacle to a cease-fire, if he's an obstacle to exploring what's to be done the day after, he needs to go.

CLINTON: Yes, he does.

AMANPOUR: What do you think is going to happen?

CLINTON: It's not clear yet, but I can say what should happen. And I know this is what the United States government, the Biden administration is

working on. They are working very hard for a cease-fire that includes not only a cessation of hostilities in Gaza, but also the release of all the



They are working very hard to persuade Netanyahu not to go forward with what we are hearing him say, which is some kind of massive attack on Rafah.

There is no way you can move a million people out of harm's way. And that has to be stopped. There needs to be a plan to continue to try to extract

those Hamas leaders who are still embedded in the tunnels in Southern Gaza, but not at the cost of, you know, a humanitarian disaster, the likes of

which we have not yet seen.

And there needs to be a conversation starting right now about the so-called day after. Who is going to be at the table? Who is going to actually come

with ideas? How are we going to get a reformed Palestinian Authority? How are we going to get leadership in Israel who understandably reflects the

trauma that has been visited upon Israelis, but understands also that, in order to have a secure Israel, there has to be a movement toward a two-

state solution?

That's a lot of work that all has to go on at the same time. It's my understanding from talks that I have been having that's exactly what the

Biden administration is doing and trying to pull off.

AMANPOUR: Secretary Clinton, thank you very much indeed.

Bianna, back to you. And let's not forget that, actually, when Yulia Navalnaya was out there in the plenary, after she spoke about her husband

and what needed to be done to hold his killers accountable, she got a massive standing ovation.

You can imagine everybody here is with her, and Navalny has been a cause that not just her, her family, staff and the others, not just many Russian

people, but the whole world has been looking at him personifying the quest for freedom and democracy in Russia.

And, clearly, that struggle has a long way to go.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, so much strength in Yulia Navalnaya. And there's been long talk about her carrying the baton and carrying the mantle for him while he

was alive behind bars.

Perhaps she can continue his fight for change in Russia, anti-corruption, for democracy in the country and a regime change herself as well. She is

somebody to be watched very closely.

Christiane, fascinating interview with Secretary Clinton. Thank you.

Well, as we've mentioned, when Navalny fell ill on that flight after being poisoned, it was Germany that gave him medical treatment and safe refuge.

So, it's no surprise the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had strong words today in Berlin upon hearing the reports of Navalny's death.

He and the Ukrainian president presented a united front. And of course, Volodymyr Zelenskyy knows as well as anyone what Vladimir Putin is capable



VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Putin doesn't care who dies as long as he retains his position, and that is why

he must not keep anything. Putin must lose everything. He must not retain anything and must be held accountable for what he has done.

OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): We now, if we didn't already, know exactly what kind of regime this is. Anyone who voices

criticism, who stands up for democracy, must fear for their safety and their lives. This is no longer a democracy and has not been for a long time



GOLODRYGA: Well, just after those wars, the two nations announced a historic security deal, promising $1 billion in military aid for Ukraine's


The erosion of democracy inside Russia and the assault on Ukraine's borders are, of course, intimately intertwined. I'm joined now by Mikhail Zygar,

author of "All the Kremlin's Men" and founding editor of Russian News Channel TV, Rain, and Peter Pomerantsev, a Soviet-born British journalist

and author who has reported extensively from inside Ukraine. Welcome both of you to this program.

Listen, we've all long dreaded having to have this conversation inevitably knowing the condition that Navalny was in and the deteriorating health that

he was facing that this day was just inevitable, sadly. And here we are.

And yet, Mikhail, I'll start with you. It's very hard to digest that he is no longer here. You posted on Instagram, we dreamed of him becoming

president of Russia. He has been our future for so long. Now, we no longer have this future. There will be another one, and Alexei will always be with

us. He will become more than a president. Can you elaborate on that and your feelings when you heard this news?

MIKHAIL ZYGAR, AUTHOR, "ALL THE KREMLIN'S MEN" AND "WAR AND PUNISHMENT": Yes, sure. Thank you for this question, Bianna. You know, I -- all this

morning, I have to speak to my friends or to people I even barely know, because a lot of people are really devastated and a lot of people have a

feeling that the future is over, that we don't have any hopes anymore. And that's my response I usually offer, that, for now, Alexei Navalny is a

historic Superhero.


Nina Khrushcheva has recently compared him to Andrei Sakharov, but now Navalny is probably has a potential of something much bigger than Andrei

Sakharov. He is the first founding father of New Russia because he was really the most popular politician. He was really the person capable to win

the presidential election, unlike Sakharov or Boris Nemtsov. He is the person who is going to be the role model for the future generation's


And I hope that he will be, because in Russian troubled imperial history, we didn't have a lot of genuine superheroes who really believed in

democracy, who really were able to give their life for democracy and freedom of speech, and for the new decent democratic Russia. So -- and

that's the role of Alexei Navalny is going to be remembered for. So, I guess he's going to be the superhero for generations, for decades.

GOLODRYGA: Peter, I want to put up a photo that is just so heartbreaking for me to see now, and that is of Boris Nemtsov, another opposition leader,

a charismatic former leader in Russia who was murdered. We're coming upon the nine-year anniversary of his murder in Moscow, just steps away from the


I don't know if we have it. If we can put it up. There it is. I tweeted it today. It's a photo of Boris Nemtsov standing next to Alexei Navalny, both

of them joking, laughing, smiling. And I really view this photo as a representation of what Russia could have been with either one of these men

at the helm of the country, or at least prominent figures that are allowed to speak publicly and to campaign publicly and not behind closed bars and

not as martyr's post-death or murder.

What are your views now as we assess what the picture, the bleak picture looks like going forward, at least in the short-term for Russia, in terms

of anyone else being able to fill those voids?


pictures, many more pictures of dissidents and journalists killed within Russia. And then the tens and hundreds of thousands of people Putin has

killed in Syria and in Ukraine.

The greatest hope for putting an end to Putin's regime lies with Ukrainians and with us in backing Ukrainians inside Russia. For the moment, we see no

signs of resistance. It is Ukraine that is fighting for its own life, for our freedom, and for theirs.

GOLODRYGA: And, yes, Mikhail, just now you know, as you're speaking in -- from the U.S, as Peter's, speaking from the U.S, as we've had

correspondents and guests on from Western Europe where they're free to say what they want and free to speak out and protest on the streets or

commemorate the life of Alexei Navalny, you're seeing a real crackdown within Russia.

Moscow's prosecutor's office now warns who are the protesting against Navalny's death will not be authorized. Give us a sense of what you expect

to see, if any, in terms of a reaction among Russians to this news.

ZYGAR: You know, I'm not sure that we're going to see a lot of protest rallies today. Although, a lot of people are really heartbroken. And I --

it's weird that I receive a lot of personal messages on my so social media from people who apologized that they cannot put like under my post because

they are in Russia.

But I guess that -- I'm not sure that it's a coincidence or not, but Navalny is murdered right ahead of the presidential election in Russia. And

this time, Navalny had a very clear strategy about this presidential election. His advice and his appeal to Russian audience was to vote for any

candidate except for President Putin.

And we have just seen a phenomenon that a person completely not known by the majority of the audience whose name was Boris Nadezhdin, has become the

second most popular politician in Russia, just opposing the war. So, he was barred from running.

But now, we still have Putin and four -- three puppets. And I guess that Navalny's strategy can be -- it can be a huge pain for the ruling regime

for Putin because there is no hope that a positional candidate would win. But there is a hope that we -- all Russian voters can harm Putin by voting

for anyone else. And I think this Navalny strategy is going to be fulfilled.


GOLODRYGA: And, Peter, let's not forget that we're not even a year into the failed mutiny by Prigozhin, of Vladimir Putin really attempting to

cripple his reign there. One of the biggest threats to his control over the country last summer. Obviously, he then died mysteriously, as we know, it

was blown up in a plane -- in a bomb explosion on a plane.

We have this -- I'll put it in air quotes, "election next month." There had always been this question since Navalny's return. I'm not sure it's a

really productive question to have asked, but was it worth it, especially knowing what would happen a year later, and that is Putin's full-scale

invasion into Ukraine?

Of course, Navalny, being a true patriot of Russia, said that any change would have to come from somebody who was inside the country. I'm wondering

if you still view that that's the future the country faces, that if there is any real change, that it will come from internal pressure and not from

any sort of outside views or pressure that can come on the Kremlin?

POMERANTSEV: I mean, I think Mikhail is the expert on the internal dynamics of Russia. What I can tell you is this, that Putin sees these two

things as deeply connected. He starts his expansionist wars when he sees that there is some danger to himself internally. And at the moment, the

biggest way to stand up to that does come from the outside.

Let's not keep on waiting for the miracle of, I don't know, the bravery of Navalny or the craziness of Prigozhin. We are the ones who have agencies.

Secretary Clinton was just talking about the struggles that Ukrainians have with ammunition in the France, we can easily replenish that ammunition if

the U.S Congress passes the aid bill.

But actually, it is Putin who will face a shortfall in ammunition in just one year. Yes, in just one year, according to analysts. And it's a much,

much, much more fragile system than it looks from the outside. And it's up to us to put pressure back. And then maybe the new generation of Navalny's

will be able to rise up. I don't know. But I do know that at the moment, the agency lies with us.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. And Putin has bet on that he could weather all of the pressure and condemnation that he would receive from the West when he

jailed Navalny upon his return. And he's making that same bet now when it comes to his war on Ukraine, as you said, perhaps another year or two of

this sustained focus on the war now and his fighting. And perhaps he's betting that Congress will not act and that there will be a change in

leadership in the U.S as well with the upcoming elections.

Mikhail Zygar, Peter Pomerantsev, thank you so much. We appreciate your time on a very sad day.

Well, I want to bring in Evgenia Kara-Murza, wife of jailed Russian opposition figure Vladimir Kara-Murza. And she joins me now.

Evgenia, thank you so much for joining us. If anyone can understand what Alexei's family is going through right now and experiencing it, is you.

Your husband also a true Russian patriot. Survived poisoning a number of times. And once again is sitting behind bars unlawfully following his

opposition to the war in Ukraine. I'm curious to get your reaction to the news of the death of Alexei Navalny.

EVGENIA KARA-MURZA, WIFE OF JAILED RUSSIAN OPPOSITION FIGURE VLADIMIR KARA- MURZA: Hello, Bianna. Thank you very much for inviting me. Well, Alexei Navalny's team has not yet confirmed the news.


KARA-MURZA: And Yulia herself has spoken at Munich, but she said that she had not received any confirmation from the Russian authorities either. So,

the Russian authorities have not yet notified the family of Alexei of his death. And I know that the chances of him still being alive are extremely


And maybe I just -- maybe it's what I do. I've been doing this for years. Both times that my husband was poisoned in the past, he was given a 5

percent survival chance, and I thought I'd take that. I take those 5 percent. And I'll do everything I can.

So, I can only imagine how -- what horror they're living through right now, his loved ones, and my heart goes out to them entirely and breaks for them.


I cannot -- if anyone needed yet another demonstration of the nature of Vladimir Putin's regime, and I mean, if the war in Ukraine and the war

crimes committed, there are somehow not enough, well, this is yet another demonstration that the only thing a bully understands is a strong response.

There is nothing else that works.

And I was -- you know, when I was trying to process that information this morning, I thought to the interview with Tucker Carlson recently, and I was

thinking about how he sat there listening to Vladimir Putin's mumbling about this historical nonsense. And thinking, well, he has not asked one

single question about war crimes in Ukraine. He has not asked him about repression in Russia and about hundreds and thousands of Russian political


And Vladimir Putin believed, yet again, that he could get away with all of that. I believe so. It's the only thing a bully understands is force, is

strength of his opponent. And, well, I'm horrified today.

GOLODRYGA: Evgenia, you mentioned Tucker Carlson. I don't want to spend too much time talking about him, but I do want to read to you and to our

viewers about something you just referenced and why he wasn't asked about the war. He was asked in a separate summit a few days after his interview,

whatever you want to call it, with Putin.

He was asked why he didn't talk about freedom of speech in Russia or Navalny or the assassinations, the multiple assassinations coming down at

the hands of the Kremlin and Tucker's response was, "Every leader kills people, including my leader. Some kill more than others. Leadership

requires killing people."

And I raised this not just because this is a jaw dropping response, but it echoes something that we heard from Former President Trump when he was then

Candidate Trump, I believe, in 2015. And that is, you know, we have killers here in the U.S. too.

How dangerous -- speak to how dangerous comments like that are in response to what we're seeing perpetrated by the Russian regime on a daily basis.

KARA-MURZA: These comments are indeed very, very dangerous, and they are absolutely despicable also. And I believe that this is why Vladimir Putin

gave this interview to Carlson, because he did not need a reliable journalist. He needed someone like Tucker Carlson who repeats and

reiterates the messages put out there by Former President Trump.

He needed someone with a large audience and someone who would help him get out his message about his claims on Ukraine being somehow legitimate and

about him not really being a killer, but, well, you know, he's a good guy who really wants peace. This is despicable.

And the only thing I can say about Vladimir Putin is that this despicable atrocity of a man who calls himself the president of the Russian Federation

should be stopped. He has to be stopped, and that is the only way war will be stopped and repression in Russia will be stopped.

GOLODRYGA: There's so many similarities between your husband and Alexei Navalny, I would say, between you and Yulia, obviously, because you're both

partners with your husbands in their missions. And this is something that you both fought for together as a team.

The question a lot of people have is just the incredible courage of someone like Alexei Navalny to go back to Russia, knowing what possibly could await

him there when he could have stayed in the West in safety. The same can be said of your husband, Vladimir, who had survived two assassination

attempts, could have lived in the West, in the United States, and decided to go back. Can you explain why, the rationale behind those actions?

KARA-MURZA: Well, they're both true Russian patriots. And they believe that our country deserves better. My husband has always believed that

Vladimir Putin feels fear and that it was -- his duty has always been -- Vladimir's duty to stand by those Russians who faced those risks and

challenges back home. The risks and challenges of this regime.

And this is -- this has always been his motivation to not back down, to not give in to intimidation, to not give in to fear. Because when we talk about

the courage of these people, we need to realize that they're just as fragile and just as vulnerable as any other human being.


And it is not the absence of fear that pushes them forward, because feeling fear is very human. It's very natural. But it is the understanding of there

is something bigger than fear. There is something more important than your fear. And sometimes, you need to somehow fight your fear and push against

it and go forward.

And my husband has always been such a person and I will always stand by him and continue the fight with him in that -- if that is what's needed of me.

GOLODRYGA: Does the news -- and you're right to say that it hasn't been confirmed by Navalny's family or his team. But if in fact it is, does the

news of his death worry you about the safety of your husband, Vladimir? And when was the last time you spoke with him? Do you know how he's doing?

KARA-MURZA: I believe that the news about Alexei's possible death have affected every single family of political prisoner in Russia. And because

we all know what kind of repressive methods are being used by the authorities against those who refuse to be silent. And we know that these

people are subject to all kinds of torture on a daily basis. And the lives of these people behind bars are indeed in grave danger, as is the life of

my husband.

Last time -- well, just before New Year's -- at the end of December, Vladimir was allowed a 15-minute phone call with our kids. We have three

kids. So, that's five minutes each. And I was standing there with a timer because I couldn't let any one of them to speak to their father for longer

than five minutes because that would have taken time away from the other two. And of course, I did not speak to Vladimir either because I didn't

want to take the time away from the kids. That was the first call, the 15- minute call in over half a year.

Vladimir, you know, on the 14th of February, we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. That was not the way we planned to celebrate it. But here we

are. And Vladimir put in a request for a phone call with me, and the prison authorities responded that this was not an exceptional circumstance that

would allow such a call. So, I have not talked to my husband since last summer.

GOLODRYGA: Oh, that is just so hard to hear. And I am just with you and your children. I've met them before. They're wonderful, beautiful family

when you were all together. And I am praying really, truly, Evgenia, praying for you all to be reunited very, very, very soon.

My last question to you. In terms of the proper or most effective response to the now alleged reported death of Alexei, you heard from President Biden

saying that would be Congress finally signing into law that legislation that provides some $60 billion in aid that Ukraine desperately needs right

now in its war with Ukraine. Would you agree with that?

KARA-MURZA: Absolutely, and it should have been done yesterday. It should have been done without Alexei Navalny dying for this. Because Vladimir

Putin committed similar crimes in the past and got away with it every single time.

Now, for two years, a war of aggression is being led in Ukraine and people are dying on a daily basis. Civilians are dying on a daily basis. And

Vladimir Putin is using all kinds of absolutely war techniques that are forbidden by, you know, everywhere in the civilized world.

So, Ukraine has to be victorious in this war on Ukraine's terms, and that is crucial, because maybe that will send a clear message to the Kremlin

that Vladimir Putin and his government would no longer be allowed to get away with committing such atrocious crimes.

The only thing this regime knows how to do is to steal, kill, and lead wars. And this regime has to be stopped if we want peace to be restored and

if we want repression to end.

GOLODRYGA: Really strong words to end on. Evgenia Kara-Murza, thank you so much for your time.


KARA-MURZA: Thank you very much, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: And finally, the shock of Navalny's apparent death is clearly being felt across the globe. Aside from being a fierce advocate for Russian

democracy, he was also a loving father and husband, who only two days ago, on Valentine's Day, tweeted a photo of his wife and wrote in Russian, I

love you more and more with all my strength. Alexei Navalny, 47 years old.

Well, that is it for now. Thank you so much for watching, and goodbye from New York.