Artemi Panarin
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

New York Rangers Russian superstar posts support for weekend protests on personal social media.

In these heightened political times, some athletes have chosen to engage in the conversation on their social media platforms. Rarely, however, do you see Russian athletes speak out. But New York Rangers star forward Artemi Panarin has done just that.

There are protests planned for Saturday all over Russia in support of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Panarin and Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Nikita Zadorov are among Russian players in the NHL showing support for the movement on Instagram.

Panarin posted this on Thursday morning:

The hashtags on this and other posts translate to “Freedom for Navalny.”

Navalny dramatically returned to Russia on Sunday and was immediately arrested. He is currently in a notorious detention facility in Moscow awaiting trial. Navalny earlier made claims that Russian agents tried to kill him using a Soviet-era nerve agent.

Panarin and the Rangers are in Pittsburgh on Friday night.

Tab has written about MLB, the NHL and the NFL for more than a decade for publications including The Fourth Period, Bleacher Report and La Vida Baseball. He is the author of two books about the Chicago Blackhawks and has been credentialed for the MLB All-Star Game and postseason and multiple Stanley Cup Finals. He is the co-host of the Line Drive Radio podcast.