Durbin, Cassidy Introduce Bill to Rename Street Near the Russian Ambassador's Residence After Alexei Navalny

WASHINGTON – Following the tragic and inexcusable death of Alexei Navalny, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) today introduced legislation to rename a section of the street near the Russian Ambassador to the United States’ residence as “Alexei Navalny Way.”  Mr. Navalny was an opposition leader and anticorruption activist who led the political opposition against Russian President Vladimir Putin for more than a decade. Putin tried to silence him by poison and later by imprisonment in remote Russia, from where he continued to advocate for a free Russia. Mr. Navalny died in a prison inside the Arctic Circle, according to Russian authorities. The bill was introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley (D-IL-05) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01).

“There’s more blood on Putin’s hands with the recent tragic death of Alexei Navalny in prison, all for the ‘crime’ of wanting a free Russia.  Putin has tried to silence anyone in Russia who might dissent from his strategy—anyone who might have the audacity to suggest there should be democracy or freedom in that country.  He sent one of his harshest critics—Alexei Navalny—to prison and, tragically, to his death,” Durbin said. “A fellow Russian patriot and friend of mine, Vladimir Kara-Murza, is also languishing in one of Putin’s gulags.   Alexei’s memory and his efforts for a free Russia will never be forgotten.”

“The world is shaken at the news of Alexei Navalny’s death,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Renaming the street near the Russian Ambassador’s residence, Navalny Way memorializes his fight for freedom and democracy. When Russians visit our nation’s capital, they will remember his unflinching opposition to Putin’s dictatorial control.”

“Alexei Navalny was a hero who bravely placed himself in harm’s way to show his countrymen that another way of life was possible. His death will not be in vain. Naming this street in his honor pays respect to his legacy and commitment to the principles of freedom. With this step, we show the world where we stand in the fight between liberty and autocracy. Most importantly, we show Vladimir Putin that he cannot silence liberty,” said Quigley.

“There is no doubt or question that Vladimir Putin is responsible forthe murder of Alexei Navalny,” said Fitzpatrick. “Determined to create a truly democratic Russia, Navalny exposed the oppression and corruption of Putin’s dictatorial regime. In recognition of his ultimate sacrifice, I am proud to lead my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan, bicameral bill to rename the street adjacent to the Russian Ambassador’s residence in our nation’s capital as ‘Alexei Navalny Way.’ The United States must continue to stand up for those fighting for freedom in Russia and stand strong with our ally Ukraine in the mission to defeat Putin’s vision of brutally subjugating all of Eastern Europe.”

In addition to Durbin and Cassidy, U.S. Senators John Fetterman (D-PA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Rick Scott (R-FL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Bob Casey (D-PA) cosponsored the bill.

Most recently, Durbin called for the immediate release of Navalny and Russian opposition leader Vladimir Kara-Murza—as well as other political prisoners across the globe—in a speech on the Senate floor last month.  In 2021, Durbin joined a group of bipartisan Senators to introduce the Holding Russia Accountable for Malign Activities Act of 2021, a targeted bill that would impose sanctions on Russian officials complicit in brazen violations of international law, including the poisoning and imprisonment of Mr. Navalny. Durbin also cosponsored the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act.

Some of the recognitions Mr. Navalny has received include: the 2015 Prize of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience, nomination for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, the 2021 Boris Nemtsov Prize for Courage, the 2021 Moral Courage Award by the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, the 2021 Knight of Freedom Award by the Casimir Pulaski Foundation, and the 2021 Sakharov Prize by the European Parliament.