Those who cross swords with Vladimir Putin have a nasty tendency to die before their time. And to many, Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was on borrowed time, especially after he returned to Russia in 2021 from Germany – where he had been recuperating after being poisoned with a nerve agent.

Nonetheless, Navalny’s apparent death came as a blow to pro-democracy campaigners the world over. For over a decade, Navalny tried to push back the tide of authoritarianism in Russia.

The fact that he died weeks before Putin is reelected as president − and the fact that we can say that Putin will be reelected − suggests that he failed.

But today’s article by Indiana University political scientist Regina Smyth suggests that isn’t entirely the right way to see things.

“Navalny understood that opposition in Russia was about exposing the corruption in Putin’s party; shining a light on electoral manipulation; and alerting the world to growing political violence,” she writes. “Navalny highlighted the very real opposition to Putin and authoritarian rule that exists in Russia despite attempts to hide it from the world.”

And in that, he succeeded.

This week we also liked articles about electric vehicles, race cars without drivers, and tips for people who are factoring climate change into their family planning .

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Matt Williams

Senior International Editor

The legacy of Alexei Navalny lives on. Ian Langsdon/AFP via Getty Images

Navalny dies in prison, authorities say − but his blueprint for anti-Putin activism will live on

Regina Smyth, Indiana University

Alexei Navalny, a persistent thorn in the side of Russian President Vladimir Putin, died on Feb. 16, 2024, in prison, authorities said.

Protecting the planet for future children might mean having fewer children. Halfpoint/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Children are expensive – not just for parents, but the environment − so how many is too many?

Trevor Hedberg, University of Arizona

You can donate to environmental charities and even purchase carbon offsets, but not having an additional child typically has a much greater impact.

Everything old is new again. Simon Skafar/E+/Getty Images

Electric vehicles are suddenly hot − but the industry has traveled a long road to relevance

Hovig Tchalian, University of Southern California

This seemingly cutting-edge technology isn’t entirely new to our century.

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