New York Rangers Striker Artemi Panarin posted a photo on Instagram on Thursday showing his support for Russian Opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was arrested on Sunday several months after he was poisoned.
Panarin, a native of Russia, posted a photo of Navalny, his wife and two children, with the caption “Freedom for Navalny”.
Navalny, an anti-corruption activist and most famous critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was arrested on Sunday when he returned to Russia from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from the nerve gas poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin.
Panarin declined to comment further on the post by a Rangers spokesperson, ESPN mentioned.
This is not the first time that the alternate Rangers captain has spoken out against Putin. In a 2019 interview, he criticized the Russian president, saying that he “no longer understands what is right and wrong”.
“Psychologically, it is not easy for him to judge the situation rationally,” Panarin said at the time. Sports Illustrated. “He has a lot of people who influence his decisions. But if everyone has been wandering around for 20 years telling you how great you are and how good your work is, then you will never see your mistakes.”
Panarin’s post comes just days before the planned protests against Navalny’s arrest.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.