Russian President Vladimir Putin has so far kept his silence on President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the November election. But other Russians have not been so circumspect. Opposition leader Alexei Navalny, still in recovery from being poisoned with a military grade nerve agent in August, congratulated Biden in a Tweet on Nov. 8. He praised the “free and fair elections” in the U.S, pointedly describing them as a “privilege which is not available to all countries.”
When Biden enters the White House in January, Russia’s embattled opposition figures want the U.S. President to more forcefully confront the Putin regime with more rigorous and widespread sanctions in order to help them rebuild democracy in Russia. Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russian democracy activist and chair of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation, tells TIME that “It’s only for Russians to bring democracy to Russia. But the president must stop legitimizing and enabling [a] Putin regime that flouts and violates democratic norms. Frankly, it’s something no U.S. president in 20 years of Putin’s power has done.”
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