Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny — an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin — quoted U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt as he was taken into into custody by government officials Monday.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of other than fear itself,” he said, according to a translation by CNN global affairs analyst Bianna Golodryga.
Russian authorities escorted Navalny to prison for 30 days after his arrest at a Moscow airport Sunday, according to The Associated Press.
The opposition leader had just returned home from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from nerve agent poisoning he blames on the Kremlin. Navalny had been in Germany since August of last year.
Several world leaders have condemned Navalny’s imprisonment.
Former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk took to Twitter on Sunday to express solidarity with Navalny, who he said “will not break” under the pressure of prison by Russian government officials.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called Navalny’s detainment by the Kremlin “completely incomprehensible.”
“Russia is bound by its own constitution and by international commitments to the principle of the rule of law and the protection of civil rights,” Maas continued. “These principles must, of course, also be applied to Alexei Navalny. He should be released immediately.”
Jake Sullivan, who has been tapped by President-elect Joe Biden to serve as national security adviser, is calling on the Kremlin to immediately release Navalny.
“Mr. Navalny should be immediately released,” said Sullivan, “and the perpetrators of the outrageous attack on his life must be held accountable.”
President Donald Trump’s outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also called for the Putin critic’s release, adding he “strongly condemns” the actions taken by the Russian authorities who arrested Navalny.
In response, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the pushback from world leaders is nothing more than an attempt “to divert attention from the crisis of the Western model of development.”
“Navalny’s case has received a foreign policy dimension artificially and without any foundation,” he argue, nothing Russian authorities are simply “observing the law.”
The Russian politician’s detention comes as prison authorities have claimed he violated the terms of his probation, which was part of a suspended sentence from a 2014 money-laundering conviction. The government is pushing to see Navalny, who made news in the U.S. last week for condemning Twitter’s ban on Trump, serve his remaining three-and-a-half years behind bars.