One of Vladimir Putin’s key political rivals, has warned that the Russian president has become “mad with power and a slave to his maniacal ambitions.”
Ilya Yashin, 39, is already serving time in a Russian jail cell for accusing the Russian army of conducting a massacre in Bucha on his YouTube channel last year.
However, he was able to warn of Putin’s mental state by sending a letter the The Guardian newspaper.
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In the letter, Yashin said: “As long as Putin retains power, war, or at least the threat of war, will be permanent.
“This man has gone mad from unlimited power and impunity, he has become a slave to his maniacal ambitions.”
Putin invaded Ukraine in February last year and Yashin warns that a political revolution would be how the country could avoid “the risks of a new world war.”
There has been backlash from Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine and inflict violence. However, the president has continued to punish those that criticise his actions.
Yashin is currently serving out a eight and a half year sentence for his accusations against the Russian army. However, he admits the reality is unknown.
Yashin said: “Obviously, I will have a chance to get out of prison if the government changes in Russia.
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“[But this is] not a question of today or tomorrow. It is clear that Putin’s goodwill cannot be counted on. He hates people who have publicly opposed military aggression in Ukraine and considers them enemies.”
Thousands of people have been arrested or imprisoned for conducting peaceful anti-war protests since the invasion of Ukraine.
However, despite the risks, Yashin believes this criticism is necessary to change the current state of Russian politics.
In the letter, Yashin said: “From the first day of fighting, I understood that an anti-war voice should be speaking in Russia. It should speak as loudly as possible under the circumstances.
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“Putin has done everything to silence the opponents of the attack on Ukraine.
“He intimidated Russians, he established military censorship, forced his critics abroad under threat of arrest.
“The Kremlin did its best to create the illusion of mass, total support for military aggression in Russian society. And I live here and I know that there is no total support, that many are against the war.”
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