Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, slammed Twitter on Saturday for its censorship of President Donald Trump, calling the move “unacceptable.”
The statement from Navalny, who recently survived two assassination attempts via poisoning, comes after Twitter permanently banned Trump after this week’s riot in Washington, D.C.
“I think that the ban of Donald Trump on Twitter is an unacceptable act of censorship,” Navalny said. “Of course, during his time in the office, Trump has been writing and saying very irresponsible things. And paid for it by not getting re-elected for a second term.”
“The election is a straightforward and competitive process. You can participate in it, you can appeal against the results, they’re being monitored by millions of people. The ban on Twitter is a decision of people we don’t know in accordance with a procedure we don’t know,” he continued. “In my opinion, the decision to ban Trump was based on emotions and personal political preferences. Don’t tell me he was banned for violating Twitter rules. I get death threats here every day for many years, and Twitter doesn’t ban anyone.”
“Among the people who have Twitter accounts are cold-blooded murderers (Putin or Maduro) and liars and thieves (Medvedev). For many years, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have been used as a base for Putin’s ‘troll factory’ and similar groups from other authoritarian countries,” he continued. “Those who denied COVID-19 exist freely and communicate on Twitter. Their words have cost thousands of lives. And yet, it was Trump who got banned publicly and ostentatiously. Such selectivity indicates that this was an act of censorship.”
“Of course, Twitter is a private company, but we have seen many examples in Russian and China of such private companies becoming the state’s best friends and the enablers when it comes to censorship,” he continued. “If you replace ‘Trump’ with ‘Navalny’ in today’s discussion, you will get an 80% accurate Kremlin’s answer as to why my name can’t be mentioned on Russian TV and I shouldn’t be allowed to participate in any elections.”
“This precedent will be exploited by the enemies of freedom of speech around the world. In Russia as well. Every time when they need to silence someone, they will say: ‘this is just common practice, even Trump got blocked on Twitter,'” he concluded. “If @twitter and @jack want to do things right, they need to create some sort of a committee that can make such decisions. We need to know the names of the members of this committee, understand how it works, how its members vote and how we can appeal against their decisions.”
Trump’s ban came two days after a riot broke out at the U.S. Capitol Building following a rally that he held as Congress was certifying the Electoral College results for president-elect Joe Biden.
Banning him for two of his least offensive posts ever… ok. Probably better for Twitter to just be honest about why it made the decision. https://t.co/LOA0w3KUrj
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) January 9, 2021