A Russian police officer has been fired after he posted a short video message on social media in support of arrested Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny and other people he called “political prisoners.”
Ruslan Agibalov, who served in Kursk, a town located 460 kilometers southwest of Moscow, was fired for dishonorable behavior less than an hour after posting the video to YouTube on January 22, a day before nationwide protests in support of Navalny.
In the 100-second post, which has garnered more than 20,000 views, Agibalov said he feared his children would grow up in a country where they could be killed or jailed for expressing their dissatisfaction with the government.
"I am also afraid that when my children grow up, they will ask me the question: 'Dad, what have you done to ensure that we live in a free and prosperous country?' And I will have nothing to say to that," Agibalov said.
The police officer said he was also driven to his action following analysis of various criminal cases, including the arrest of former Khabarovsk Governor Sergei Furgal and what he called the “suspicious deaths” of various critics of President Vladimir Putin, including well-known hip hop artist Kirill "Detsl" Tolmatsky and popular TV news anchor Sergei Dorenko.
The arrest of Furgal in 2020 sparked large-scale protests in the Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk.
Tens of thousands of Russians took to the streets across the country on January 23 in the largest demonstration in years to call for the release of Navalny, who was arrested earlier in the week upon his return from Germany, where he was recovering from a poisoning by a military-grade nerve agent.
Navalny called the poisoning an assassination attempt by the state to silence him.