Photo: The original uploader was Wikipedia brown at English Wikipedia.

U2 Pays Tribute To Alexei Navalny: Look + Listen

During U2’s Saturday (2.17) residency at the Sphere in Las Vegas, Bono and U2 paid tribute to Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was imprisoned in a Russian penal colony where he died on Friday (2.16.)

Prior to their performance of Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” (a staple during their shows,) Bono spoke to the audience about busking in a Kyiv subway in Ukraine several months prior to the Russian President Vladimir Putin invading the country.

“Edge and I got to stand with some of the people in Ukraine as they stood in that train station, which was a converted bomb shelter. We got to stand with some of the people of Ukraine as they waited for the train to arrive with the rest of the free world on it.” “They’re still waiting for some of that train to arrive. America, you’re so generous.” “But let’s get these people what they need.” “Next week it’ll be two years since Putin invaded and tried to destroy the hard-won freedoms” of the Ukrainian people, Bono added. “Next it’ll be Poland, next it’ll be Lithuania, East Germany — who knows where this man will or won’t go.” “To these people freedom is not just a word in a song. For these people, freedom is the most important word in the world — so important that Ukrainians are fighting and dying for it. And it’s so important that Alexei Navalny chose to give his up,” added Bono, referring to Navalny’s decision to return to Russia in 2021, where he was immediately arrested and imprisoned.

Navalny was detained by Russian authorities on what are widely regarded as fabricated charges of corruption intended to silence his criticism of Putin. Prior to being arrested, Alexei had already survived at least two documented assassination attempts on his life. His subsequent incarceration incited widespread protests against the Putin government throughout Russia. And in 2022, Navalny was sentenced to nine years in prison with an additional 19 years added to his sentence in August of 2023.

Leading their audience in a chant of “Alexei Navalny” as he and the Edge launched into their acoustic performance of the Crowded House classic, the band’s frontman said “Apparently Putin would never, ever say his name. So I thought tonight, the free people, from here, people who believe in freedom — we must say his name. Not just remember it, but say it.”

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Author: Saul Goode

Photo: The original uploader was Wikipedia brown at English Wikipedia.