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Escape Is Never the Safest Path

Coleman Cowan, a personal injury attorney with the Law Firm of James Scott Farrin was on the cover of our September/October issue. In the story, Cowan discussed being a producer at “60 Minutes” and interviewing dissident Alexei Navalny in 2017. Following Navalny’s recent death, we invited Cowan to share his reflections.

Over the course of 10 years reporting and producing stories for CBS News and 60 Minutes, there were a handful of people I met whom I suspected would not die of natural causes. Alexei Navalny was one of them. I spent two weeks with Navalny in Russia in 2017 as he launched an unlikely campaign to unseat Vladimir Putin.

Navalny struck at the heart of what he saw as Putin’s power – systemic government corruption. His underground movement sparked populist protests across the country, putting Navalny squarely in Putin’s crosshairs.

The Navalny I knew was fearless, stubborn, and wickedly funny. When our film crew followed Navalny to a probation check-in following a bogus criminal conviction meant to silence him, Navalny swung open the office door and announced, “Surprise! I am here with the whole film crew!” Prison officials were livid. Navalny chuckled as we walked out, “They are very angry. But I said I’m not with you.”

Navalny’s sense of humor masked the reality he lived. Every day he remained in Russia his life was in danger. When I learned of Navalny’s death, this exchange from our story came back to me:

Q: What do you think the chances are that you end up dead?

A: 50% I would be killed. 50% I would not be killed.

Navalny never chose to escape. Living in exile was not freedom. He could only be free pursuing his cause in Russia. Navalny knew when this day came, the world would know that a free man stood against a tyrant.

The post Escape Is Never the Safest Path appeared first on Attorney at Law Magazine.

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