Navalny is Inspiring a Modern Day Russian Revolution

by Shoubhik Sen

Alexei Navalny has become a household name for every Russian & perhaps even outside. This is because he has single-handedly insurrected a united Russian Protest. Thus today, we give you a brief idea about the lore behind Navalny as well as explore how he is etching his name in history.


Alexei Navalny was a breath of fresh air of true democracy, in an otherwise autocratic Russia. He emerged as the biggest current critic of President Putin. Since the late 2000s, he is using his blogs to expose corruption in the Russian government. Since then, he has even moved over the digital domain, to protest physically. Thus, he faced multiple arrests in the previous decade.

His claim to fame came almost at a cost of his life. While some claim a poisonous injection, others claim poison in his tea. One thing was for sure however, there was an attempt on his life using a poisonous agent. Fortunately, he recovered 3 weeks after his coma. He became an overnight hero when on his arrival back home, he was jailed for 30 days.

Navalny’s supporters took to the streets to oppose his arrest, given by a makeshift court hastily. Even the UNOHRC condemned his arrest, as a result there was international out pour of support for him. This made Alexei Navalny the hero that Russian oligarchs should fear.


The greatest impact made by him is the fact that he has united a yet divided Russian opposition: –

  1. STALINISTS: These are people who dream of resurrecting the planned economy that followed the Russian Revolution.
  2. NATIONALISTS: These are people who want to restrict migration and annex more of Ukraine.
  3. LIBERALS: These are people who long for democracy and closer ties with the West.

Divided over ideologies, all of them shared a common dissatisfaction to Putin’s autocracy. But, never have they been on the same page. To be noted, this anti-government stance does not include aimless attacks on members of the establishment. Instead, it has united the left and right, old and young as well as protesters of all ideologies.

The political career of Navalny has also been a success for this particular reason. An advisor to Navalny Vladimir Milov too iterated that he did not prioritize ideologies for mobilizing protests.

“The vast majority of people who come out are not partisans of any ideology or have specific views

— they just want change in the country”


Navalny’s crusade is against corruption and autocracy as well as seeks to preserve true democracy in Russia. Such an idea does not see partisan divisions, as a result his protests have seen increasing number of supporters. Additionally, the attempt on his life and his wrongful conviction has brought more sympathy towards this underdog.

On top of that, his documentary exposing Putin’s secret palace (which the President has himself denied) has also brought him global recognition. The Russian government has easily stifled dissent in the past, often through violent means as well (eg. Custodial deaths). Thus, having a man who’s still standing against this machinery, has brought more and more people to his corner.


A big blame many critics put on Putin is his vast “unseen wealth”. This includes the claim of him owning a magnificent palace near the Black Sea. People finally got to see this “rumored” palace, thanks to ALEXEI NAVALNY. This even lines up with BBC’s report of a mysterious mansion in the same place in 2012.

Currently serving a 30-day jail sentence on charges which he calls “trumped up”, Navalny video shot glimpses of the much talked about palace. Consequently, said video gained more than 100 million views on YouTube in no time. Though the video was published long ago, this milestone was achieved just yesterday. In fact, it was this documentary that spurred the huge anti-establishment protests, for which Navalny was arrested.

Navalny’s documentary titled “Putin’s Palace: History of World’s Largest Bribe”

Putin however denied that he or his family owned it and described the video about it as “boring”. Furthermore, a former business associate of Mr Putin alleged that the mansion was built to his specifications for his personal use.


We can say Navalny has been successful is inciting a united voice against the government. This is evident from the plethora of protesters (>4000) who took to the streets to oppose his arrest. On top of that, sociologist reports say that 42 per cent claimed they had never protested before this year. Such is his influence, that about 45 per cent of those at Navalny’s rally in Moscow were women.

One can also attribute his brash and offhanded approach to criticism to be a selling point. The people of Russia are angry, and Navalny’s style proves to be cathartic for them.