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For Zimbabwe and Russia, silencing the opposition and trying to re-establish a one-party state under the shaky guise of democracy is a priority. And for both countries, the Covid-19 pandemic could not have come at a better time — it has enabled both de facto dictatorships to crush their countries’ popular opposition parties. In Russia this is Alexei Navalny’s Russia of the Future, while in Zimbabwe it is the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDCA), headed by Nelson Chamisa. 

According to recent reports, Navalny is close to death. Last week he was transferred to hospital from prison, where he is serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence after being arrested in January when he voluntarily returned from Germany. He had been treated there for poisoning by a highly toxic nerve agent, allegedly administered by Russian state agents. Navalny recently embarked on a hunger strike in prison in protest against being denied medical treatment, saying he was left with no choice because ...

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