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Alexei Navalny’s Death Could Harden Vladimir Putin’s Resolve

Pro-Navalny gatherings in cities between Russia’s Baltic and Pacific coasts have sharpened minds on what might happen if he dies.

“This is difficult to talk about, but I think that now that he is in a really bad condition, we are getting prepared. It would not be something really unexpected if something happens to him,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of political analysis firm R.Politik.

She added that Putin was likely to make some effort “to prevent the worst” from happening, but it was as much in the hands of the prison authorities.

“It means that, psychologically, we are ready. Somehow, the international community and Russian society are getting prepared for the worst,” she said, adding that she did not expect the opposition leader’s death to be followed by a spike in sanctions or to fuel large-scale demonstrations.

“I don’t believe we will see a huge wave of protests now because people are frightened and there is a wave of repressions and threats,” said Stanovaya, who is also a non-resident scholar at the Moscow Carnegie Center.

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