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PANARIN GETS POLITICAL, SHOWS SUPPORT FOR JAILED RUSSIAN LEADER WHO OPPOSES PUTIN

In an Instagram post on Thursday, New York Rangers forward Artemi Panarin showed his support for jailed Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny. The post shows a picture of Navalny with his family, and the caption says "Freedom for Navalny.

The post was liked by many players and coaches across the NHL and KHL including Dallas Stars forwards Alexander Radulov, and Denis Gurianov. Former Montreal Canadien and current coach of HC Kunlun Red Star Alexei Kovalev was also among those who liked Panarin's post, while Former Canuck Nikolay Goldobin left a comment in support.

For those not familiar with Navalny, or the situation as a whole, he is the current opposition leader in Russia. In recent years, he has been very vocal and critical about current Russian president Vladimir Putin and his regime.

In August 2020 while on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow, Navalny was poisoned with a new type of Novichok nerve agent. The flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Omsk, where he was taken to hospital and placed in a medically induced coma. A couple days later, Navalny was flown to a hospital in Germany out of concerns for his safety.

Navalny was taken out of the coma on September 7th, and released from hospital on September 22nd.

He flew back to Russia from Berlin on Sunday, January 17th and was immediately detained, and the next day he was sentenced to 30 days in jail for "violating the terms of his probation".

It's extremely rare for top Russian athletes to speak out like this, according to Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post. Panarin joins former Russian soccer player Igor Denisov who posted a video in support of Navalny early on Thursday.



Panarin, 29, is off to a hot start this season. The Korkino, Russia native was named an alternate captain prior to the season, and has recorded four points (2 G, 2 A) in three games.

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JANUARY 21, 2021  (14H08)
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