Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny speaks plainly when criticizing President Vladimir Putin.
“These are people who are trying to steal my country and I strongly disagree with it,” Navalny told 60 Minutes in 2017. “I’m not going to be, you know, a kind of speechless person right now. I’m not going to keep silent.”
60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl first interviewed Navalny in the lead-up to the 2018 Russian presidential election. Navalny was attempting to challenge Putin for the country’s top office. The Kremlin barred him from running due to his criminal record. The Russian authorities have repeatedly jailed Navalny for organizing unsanctioned anti-government rallies and protests.
Navalny called for a boycott of the election in 2018 after the Kremlin forbid him from running. In the subsequent years, he has not relented with his anti-Putin rhetoric.
On August 20 of this year,while traveling on a flight within Russia. The plane made an emergency landing in Siberia where Navalny was hospitalized for multiple days before the being airlifted to Berlin for further treatment.
Navalny and his team said he was poisoned. They accuse the Kremlin of orchestrating the assassination attempt. The Russian government denies any wrongdoing.
Laboratories in Germany, France, and Sweden confirmed Navalny was poisoned by a Novichok nerve agent. Their findings were further supported by the independent Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
The Soviet Union developed Novichok nerve agents toward the end of the Cold War.
In 1997, the Russian Federation entered into the Chemical Weapons Convention, an agreement between 193 member states to cease the development of new chemical weapons and dismantle chemical weapon stockpiles.
In 2017, Stahl asked Navalny if the movement he leads is worth sacrificing his life.
“I’m trying to not think about it,” Navalny said. “Because look, I think I’m ready to sacrifice everything for my job and for the people who [are] surrounding me. I’m not [going to] let them down. And I’m trying to not to reflect about it all the time.”
This Sunday on 60 Minutes, Stahl interviews Navalny for his first appearance on American television since he was poisoned.
“The Challenger” was produced by E. Alexandra Poolos. Kate Morris was the Associate Producer. 60 Minutes airs Sundays on CBS at 7 p.m. ET/PT.