Putin’s critic finds support from NHL star Artemi Panarin on social media

New York’s Rangers forward Artemi Panarin posted a photo on Instagram on Thursday showing support for Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was arrested on Sunday, several months after poisoning her.

Panarin, a native Russian, posted a photo of Navalny, his wife and their two children with the caption “Freedom for Navneet.”

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Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner and most famous critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was arrested on Sunday when he returned to Germany from Russia, where he spent five months recovering from the venom of the nerve-agent that he accuses the Kremlin .

ESPN reported that Panarin, through a Rangers spokesman, declined to comment further on the post.

This is not the first time the Ranger alternate captain has spoken out against Putin. In a 2019 interview, he criticized the Russian president, saying that he “no longer understands what is right and what is wrong.”

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Through Sports Illustrated, Panarin said at the time, “Psychologically, it’s not easy to calmly assess this situation.” “They have a lot of people who influence their decisions. But if everyone’s been around you for 20 years, you will tell me what a great person you are and how well you’re doing, you make your mistakes. Will never see. “

Panarin’s post comes just days before planned protests against Navalny’s detention.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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