‘Navalny’ is a documentary by director Daniel Roher produced by HBO Max and CNN Films. It chronicles the life of Russian politician and lawyer Alexei Navalny and the alleged assassination attempt on his life in August 2020. Despite Alexei’s turbulent and often dangerous public life, he has always been supported by his wife of more than two decades, Yulia Navalnaya. She served as Alexei’s pillar over the years and has been popularly referred to as the First Lady of the Russian opposition. So, let’s find out more about her then, shall we?
Who is Yulia Navalnaya?
Yulia Borisovna Abrosimova was born in July 1976, and her parents divorced when she was a young girl. After getting a degree in economics, she worked at a bank for a while. In 1998, Yulia met Alexei, a lawyer, while on vacation in Turkey. They got married about two years later. Then, Yulia quit her job to become a stay-at-home mother after the birth of their first child in 2001. She has always maintained that her primary job is to make sure everything at home is normal, especially when it came to their children.
In August 2020, Yulia was supposed to pick up Alexei from the airport but then learned that he had been poisoned. Soon, she rushed to Omsk, Russia, where the plane had made an emergency landing. Yulia remembered the situation at the hospital, saying, “It was horrible to see Alexei and understand that the situation was worse than I’d expected and to see the fear of the doctors, worried about what they are telling me. I just kept thinking, ‘I have to get him out because they are not going to tell me the truth.'”
Once Yulia got there, though, the doctors didn’t let her see Alexei, asking her to provide their marriage certificate and consent from Alexei, who was unconscious. However, she was instrumental in getting her husband out from there and to Germany, where he received treatment and eventually recovered. Yulia had written a letter to Russian President Putin for permission to move Alexei. She later claimed that the doctors at Omsk tried to cover up the poisoning; they had initially stated that Alexei had a metabolic disorder.
The politician was arrested soon after returning to Russia after recovering from what happened a few months prior. Despite that, Yulia said, “Whatever comes next, Alexey has already won. He survived this horrible poisoning and returned to Moscow (in Russia) to face those who tried to murder him. Putin knows it. His advisors, his friends, his government, and everybody in his inner circle know it. Driven by embarrassment and anger, Putin has nothing left to do but to physically torture Alexey in prison.”
Where is Yulia Navalnaya Now?
Yulia has always believed in Alexei and what he set about doing. She even said that she would be disappointed if he stopped. In early 2022, when Alexei stood trial yet again for charges of fraud, Yulia called it “illegal and shameful.” He was eventually sentenced to 9 years in prison for that. In response, Yulia wrote on social media, “The number nine means nothing at all. I love you, my dearest person in the world, and I have not ceased to be proud of you for many, many years.”
With Alexei and Yulia Navalnaya’s son and daughter now grown up and pursuing their education, it seems that Yulia continues to live in Russia. The family used to share an apartment in Moscow. While Yulia has been a staunch supporter of Alexei, she has repeatedly brushed off the idea of becoming a politician herself.
Read More: Where is Alexei Navalny Now?