“Dictators see the indecision of the democratic world as a weakness and like to test how far they can go without a response,” Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the leader of the Belarusian opposition, told POLITICO.

She also tweeted: “I urge the global community to act now to protect my husband and other political prisoners, who are in great danger.” Her husband Sergei He has been a prisoner of Belarusian dictator and Putin ally Alexander Lukashenko since 2020.

In Berlin, Scholz called the news “a terrible thing” and added: “It is also a sign of how Russia has changed, after the hopeful progress towards democracy that has unfortunately already taken place.”

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak used similar words, describing Navalny’s death as “terrible news.” He added: “As the fiercest defender of Russian democracy, Alexei Navalny demonstrated incredible courage throughout his life.”

French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné saying: “Alexei Navalny paid with his life for his resistance to a system of oppression. His death in a penal colony reminds us of the reality of Vladimir Putin’s regime.”

Alexei Navalny, long considered Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most important political opponent, died in prison on Friday, the federal penitentiary service announced | Vera Savina/AFP via Getty Images

Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister favored to take over as NATO chief later this year, saying He was “shocked” by the news, adding that it “marks the unprecedented brutality of the Russian regime.”

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By Sam