How Navalny built an opposition in Russia despite Putin's tight grip on power

Edited By: Gravitas desk WION
New Delhi Updated: Jan 27, 2021, 10:15 AM(IST)

Alexei Navalny and Vladimir Putin Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Navalny's arrival in Russia was beamed across the world via the internet. It was a much-anticipated return after a near-fatal poisoning attempt

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny's troubles began when he made a daring move to return to Russia after surviving a poisoning attempt last year. It was a symbolic act of defiance which triggered one of the biggest protests that President Putin has had to face.

Navalny's arrival in Russia was beamed across the world via the internet. It was a much-anticipated return after a near-fatal poisoning attempt but barely minutes after his plane landed in Moscow, Alexei Navalny was arrested.

The incident fuelled a massive public rally. Last Saturday, supporters of Navalny braved the bitter cold and attempts at intimidation. Tens of thousands turned up to demand Navalny's release.

More than 3,000 citizens were arrested in 109 cities across Russia despite the crackdown the protesters have not relented. They announced a new round of rallies despite Putin's tight grip on power.

Alexei Navalny has managed to build an opposition movement which has barely existed almost a decade ago. Navalny started his movement with a blog that investigated and exposed corruption in state tenders and government contracts.

On the back of the expos√©,  Navalny built up his media organisation - the anti-corruption foundation which probes corruption and abuse of power in Russia. Navalny has been leading all these efforts with his tough, populist and humorous style.

After surviving last year's poisoning attempt, Navalny began investigating the attempt on his life while he was still in Germany teaming up with journalists Navalny was able to identify eight people.

The Russian opposition leader even managed to extract a confession allegedly from the man who tried to kill him. For the Kremlin, Navalny remains the greatest domestic enemy. Before last year's poisoning attempt, Navalny was arrested repeatedly and detained for protesting.

Navalny faces four legal cases however he says all of them are politically motivated even Navalny's brother Oleg has faced the Russian state's wrath. Oleg Navalny was put behind bars for close to four years over fraud charges.

An international human rights group had called Navalny's brother a political prisoner. Navalny is said to have returned to Russia for what many are calling a final fight against the Russian president.

The world has its eyes on this showdown.

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