Prepared Floor Remarks by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
On the Poisoning of Alexei Navalny
Monday, September 14, 2020
The poisoning of Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, last month was disgusting, but not unprecedented. In 2015, the leading democracy advocate in Russia, Boris Nemtsov, was gunned down within sight of the Kremlin.
The square in front of the Russian Embassy in Washington is now named in his honor, echoing the effort I led to name the street in front of the then Soviet Embassy after the dissident Andrei Sakharov.
Nemtsov’s protégé in the Russian opposition, Vladimir Kara-Murza, was then poisoned twice, but miraculously survived and continues to work for Russian democracy.
The good news is that Mr. Navalny is reportedly conscious.
A silver lining may also be that Putin’s latest attempted assassination is bringing our allies toward a consensus to treat Putin as a pariah.
There are reports of senior German politicians reconsidering their support of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which divides our European allies.
This pipeline is opposed by countries like Poland and the Baltics who understand that Putin will use it as a strategic influence tool, as well as by the Trump administration and bipartisan majorities in Congress.
I hope this is the start of a new era of cooperation with our European allies to counter Russian influence.