New York Rangers forward Artemi Panarin posted a picture to Instagram on Thursday showing support for Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was arrested on Sunday several months after he was poisoned.
Panarin, a native Russian, posted the picture of Navalny, his wife and their two children with the caption “Freedom for Navalny.”
Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most well-known critic, was arrested on Sunday when he returned to Russia from Germany, where he had spent five months recovering from nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin.
Panarin declined to comment further on the post through a Rangers spokesperson, ESPN reported.
This isn’t the first time the Rangers alternate captain has spoken out against Putin. In a 2019 interview, he criticized the Russian president saying that he “no longer understands what’s right and what’s wrong.”
“Psychologically, it’s not easy for him to judge the situation soberly,” Panarin said at the time, via Sports Illustrated. “He has a lot of people who influence his decisions. But if everyone is walking around you for 20 years telling you what a great guy you are and how great a job you are doing, you will never see your mistakes.”
Panarin’s post comes just days ahead of planned protests against Navalny’s detention.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.