Alexey Navalny (sometimes spelled as Alexei) whose full name is Alexey Anatolievich Navalny is a well-known Russian political leader and has been the most prominent face of the Russian opposition party. He is the most famous anti-corruption campaigner and lawyer of Russia. While he started his political career by setting anti-government policies, organizing an office of advocate reforms, and raising a voice against the corruption of Vladimir Putin and his government in Russia. He is the leader of the ” Russia of the Future ” party and a founding member of the ” Anti-corruption Foundation “.
Moreover, Navalny has millions of followers on social media. His history is complex and difficult to understand. Here is a step by step introduction to his personal life, political career, anti-corruption campaigns, and other facets of his life.
Alexey Navalny was born on June 4, 1976, in Butyn – Old district Moscow Oblast, Russia. He spent most of his childhood with his grandmother’s mother in Ukraine.
His father, Anatoly Navalny, was the owner of a basket-weaving factory situated in the village of Kobyakovo. His mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, has a great part in his success. He is married to Yulia Navalnaya. Alexey has two children. He has one son and one daughter, the son is named Zahar Navalny and his daughter is named Daria Navalny, an undergraduate student at Stanford University.
After his early education, Alexey Navalny graduated from the ” Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia “ in 1998 with a law degree. Moving further, he got certificates in securities and exchanges from ” Financial University Under the Government of Russian Federation “. He has a brilliant career and also received a scholarship in the ” Yale World Fellow Program ” at Yale University in 2010.
Navalny is an Orthodox Christian of Russia.
Start of Political Journey
Multi-talented Alexey Navalny is an opposition leader, lawyer, and also an anti-corruption activist (Founding member of the Anti-corruption Foundation) of Russia.
He started his political career in 2000 by joining the Russian United Democratic Party Yabloko at the time of the announcement of the law that would raise the ‘ electoral threshold ‘ for ‘ State Duma Election ‘. Though he was not an ambitious fan of this party, he joined it because he wants to defend the laws against Yabloko and the’ Union of Right Forces ‘. Being elected to the regional council of the Moscow branch of Yabloko, he headed the Moscow subdivision of the election campaign for the parliamentary election, and in 2004 he became Deputy Chief of the Moscow branch of the party. From 2006 to 2007, he remained a member of the ‘ Federal Council ‘ of his political party.
Being an active politician, he introduced many innovations in the party such as social movements ( Democratic Alternative ), arranged political debates physically as well as via TV channels, and many more activities to promote his party.
In 2007 certain political issues in the party led to his resignation from the post of Deputy Chief. He demanded the resignation of the current leader of the party but the party expelled him instead.
Nationalist Movement, ” The People “
After Alexey Navalny resigned from the ‘ Russian United Democratic Party ‘ in 2007, he founded the nationalist movement named ” The People “. He also started the National Russian Liberation Movement, known as NAROD, in the same year, that set the immigration policies. He worked in affiliation with two other such national groups, i.e. ‘ Movement Against Illegal Immigration ‘ and ‘ Great Russia.
After his release from jail on December 20, 2011, Navalny called on Russian against Putin who was a candidate for the presidential elections of 2012. BBC described Navalny as the only opposition figure to emerge in the last five years.
But Putin was elected president in March 2012 and Navalny protested against him along with 14000 to 20000 protestants. After the rally, he was arrested by higher authorities and released after several hours. His revolt resulted in his frequent jailing by Putin’s government.
“The People’s Alliance“, A New Political Party
After his frequent imprisonment, Alexey Navalny and his fellows announced to launch a new political party on 26 June 2012. The party was named “People’s Alliance“, and Navalny described the party as his party. The party filed for registration many times in 2013 ( April 30 ) and 2014 ( January 8 ). But each time the registration was suspended. After the second suspension of registration, the party changed its name to “ Progress Party “. Following the name change, the party was registered on 25 January 2014. In September, the party had its 43 registered branches all over Russia.
The ” Progress Party ” was preparing for the elections of 2016. But on April 28, 2015, its registration was canceled by the ministry of justice. The party challenged the orders on the next day but they ended up having nothing.
Navalny as A Candidate for Mayor
Navalny’s Pegging for RPR-PARNAS
After the ‘ Progress Party ‘ flopped, Navalny announced himself as a candidate for mayor of the city on 3 June 2013. But there was a condition for the selection as the candidate for this post that he would need either seventy thousand signatures of the inhabitants of the city or to be pegged for the office by any registered party and collect 110 signatures of the municipal deputies of 110 different subdivisions. Navalny chose to be pegged by a party, RPR-PARNAS.
Well, out of six candidates who were registered for the post, only two were able to fulfill the requirements and unfortunately, Navalny was no more in them. He was able to collect only 49 signatures from the municipal deputies.
Registration for Mayoral Election
Navalny was registered as the mayoral election candidate but was arrested to a five-year prison term for embezzlement and fraud cases. After his release, he started a fundraising campaign that was successful to a large extent. He collected such a large amount before the day of the election that was unprecedented in Russia. It was called a miracle by different political leaders.
At the success of this fundraising campaign, different research organizations predicted that Sobiyanin would win the election scoring 58% to 64% of the total vote and Navalny would get about 15 to 20% share. In the final results, Navalny got 27% of the vote and Sobyanin received 51% of the vote and eventually won the election.
Navalny Challenged the Results
Some people challenged the results. On September 9, Navalny challenged the results saying that ‘we don’t recognize the results’, but the Sobyanin office rejected the challenge. In September, Navalny addressed the results in the Moscow court and Supreme Court of Russia but the courts announced the election to be fair.
Complications in RPR-PARNAS And Navalny
Soon after the mayoral election and repeated arresting, Navalny was offered to take over the charge of co-chairman of RPR-PARNAS but he responded coldly. Russia’s political landscape was changed in 2014 due to civil unrest in Kyiv and Euromaidan demonstrations. This thing created a new twist in the politics of Southern and Eastern Ukraine, and also in Crimea pointing out the thing whether Crimea should join Russian Federation or not.
RPR-PARNAS’s co-chairmen, Boris Nemtsov and Mikhail Kasyanov ( Former PM of Russia ) were focusing on creating a coalition of political forces and making Navalny and Kasyanov the co-chairmen of the party but during this time on Feb 27, 2015, Nemtsov was murdered. His murder had a very strong effect on the party affairs. Now it was decided that the candidates of the party would be appointed by-elections. But the party election was lost as the results showed that the coalitions scored 2% of votes, which was not enough to overcome the 5% threshold. After the results, the party admitted that the election for co-chairmen was lost.
All these complications in RPR-PARNAS had a great effect on Navalny as he struggled very much for its post but his struggle resulted in nothing.
Alexey Navalny & Consequences of 2018 Presidential Election
Navalny’s Entry to Presidential Election
Moreover, the greatest turn in Navalny’s political career was to take part in the presidential election of 2018. On Dec 13, 2016, he announced his entry into this new race. But sorry to Navalny’s bad luck that once again he received 5 years imprisonment. This sentence was announced by the Leninsky District Court of Kirov on Feb 8, 2017. Despite these consequences, Navalny was declared the most strong contender of Vladimir Putin.
Navalny was repeatedly attacked with burning chemicals that caused the loss of 80% of his eyesight from the right eye. He accused the Kremlin of the attack of 27 April 2017, before the Anti-corruption Foundation office. However, he was strong enough to face all the problems bravely. He didn’t lose hope and was released from the accusations on 7 July 2017.
Human Rights Watch and Navalny’s Campaign
The Human Rights Watch, on September 6, 2017, announced the Russian police as a great hurdle in the presidential election campaign of Navalny. They claimed to run Navalny’s election campaign without any interference. However, this struggle resulted in the action of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to call the Russian authorities and warned them not to interfere in Navalny’s election campaign. But as usual, it also resulted in bad. He was again arrested and sentenced to 20 days in jail on October 2, 2017.
Rejection of Navalny’s Election Campaign
Russia’s Central Electoral Commission banned Navalny’s election campaign stating that Navalny was indulged in some corruption cases. This time Navalny called to boycott the presidential election of 2018. He appeared in the Russian Supreme Court on January 3, 2018, but the court rejected his appeal on 6th January 2018.
Navalny’s Protesting and Arresting
Following the rejection of his appeal, Navalny started protests against the presidential election but again he was arrested on 28 January 2018. His arrestation continued till September 2018 when he was sentenced to another 20 days in jail.
Smart Voting Project and Moscow City Duma Election of 2019
Despite his repeated imprisonment, Navalny again got the courage and supported independent candidates in the Moscow City Duma Election 2019. His most supporters were not allowed to participate in the election that led again to protests. In July 2019, Navalny was again arrested due to illegal protests. The effect of chemical attacks was still there. Due to severe damage to his skin and eyes, Navalny was hospitalized on 28 July 2019.
Start of the ‘Smart Voting Project‘
He was discharged from the hospital on 29 July 2019 and sent back to prison. His supporters and journalists were attacked near the hospital. They responded to this attack by launching the ‘Smart Voting Project‘.
Russian Constitutional Referendum of 2020
After starting the smart voting project, Navalny started a campaign against the vote on constitutional amendments. He called these amendments a violation of the constitution that would allow President Putin to be president for life. As usual, he did not accept the results of the votes and call them a big lie. These amendments allowed Putin to serve another two terms in the office after his current term ends.
This amendment led Putin to be president for life.
Alexey Navalny and Anti-corruption Foundation
Navalny is the founding member of ‘ Anti-corruption Foundation ‘. He has a great role in unveiling corruption in many facets of Russia. Here are some of his anti-corruption investigations.
Navalny and Five Major Oil and Gas Companies of Russia
Navalny was informed that the managers of five major oil and gas companies of Russia were involved in theft and resisting transparency. For the sake of exposing them, in 2008, he invested 300,00 rubles in stocks of these oil and gas companies. After this, he was able to expose the financial transparency of these companies.
Corruption of Transneft’s Leaders
Navalny exposed the corruption of Transneft leaders by writing a blog in November 2010. According to Navalny, about 4 billion dollars were stolen by the leaders of Transneft during the spreading of the Eastern Siberia Pacific Ocean Oil Pipeline. He exposed all the corrupt Transneft leaders.
To expose the government embezzlement in state funds, Navalny started the RosPil project in DEC 2010. The project claimed to post all government requests for tenders and information about winning bids to be posted online. In this way, he exposed the corruption of government in these fields.
Navalny launched the RosYama project in May 2011 that aimed to allow individuals to report even a minor difficulty and track government responses to the complaints.
Corruption of Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov
Navalny exposed the Deputy Prime Minister’s corruption in 2012 which he made in collaboration with Roman Abramovich’s Company and Alisher Usmanov company. He claimed that these two companies had transferred ten million fillers to Shuvalov’s company, allowing him to share in the profit from Usmanov’s purchase of British steel company Corus.
Corruption in Investigative Committee of Russia
Navalny showed through his investigation that Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Investigative Committee of Russia, owned an undeclared business in the Czech Republic. The post was published in ‘Financial Times’ in 2012 and as proof, Navalny showed Alexander Bastrykin’s leaked emails.
Medvedev as a Corrupt Prime Minister
In his ‘ He is Not Simon to You ‘ of 2017, Navalny accused Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to be a corrupt leader but authorities ignored this accusation. In response, Navalny arranged anti-corruption rallies that ultimately resulted in the imprisonment of lots of protestants, Navalny was no exception. He was also fined 20,000 rubles for these protests. All this is a picture of corruption by higher authorities.
In an investigation report published on 19 January 2021, Navalny and FBK accused President Vladimir Putin to have built a massive estate for himself using the public funds through embezzlement. The cost of this estate construction was about 100 billion rubles. Despite Putin’s photos inside the palace that were leaked in 2011, he refused to accept this palace belonged to him.
Cases and Allegations Upon Navalny
As you have observed that throughout his life, Navalny has been arrested repeatedly in different cases. Besides the minor cases, there are some major allegations against him too. Here are the most prominent cases and charges inflicted upon Navalny.
Kirovles case of Embezzling
Navalny was accused of embezzlement by ‘Investigative Committee‘ on 30 July 2012. He was guilty of stealing 16 million rubles worth timber from a state-owned company, Kirovles situated in Kirov Oblast. He was sentenced to five years in jail but later on, his sentence was suspended on 16 October 2013. Navalny challenged the decision in the ‘ European Court of Human Rights‘ which ordered the Russian government to pay him 56,000 euros.
Russia’s Supreme Court retrial the 2013 sentence on 16 November 2016 and sent the decision back to Leninsky District Court for revision but the Leninsky district court again sentenced Navalny to a five-year suspended sentence on 8 February 2017. Navalny again challenged the decision as it was against the decision of ECHR. His political career is still under the burden of this sentence.
Yves Rocher Case
On 10 December 2012, Bruno Leproux, general director of Yves Richer Vostok, acclaimed the Investigation Committee to investigate the Glavpodpiska company that had damaged Yves Rocher Vostok. They claimed that Glavpodpiska company made a fraud of 26.7 million rubles from Yves Rocher Vostok, and 4.4 million rubles from the MPC by embezzling money via taking duties and reassigning them to other companies on low charge.
In the persons who performed duties for Glavpodpiska company, Navalny was also included. However, Alexey was proved innocent by the lawyers. They claimed that he was not a part of this embezzlement.
As a result of a violation made by Navalny, he was placed under home arrest on 28 February 2014 and was not allowed to communicate with anyone except his family, lawyers, and investigators. Later on, his blog was also blocked in Russia as it was against the rule on home arrest.
His arrest was eased on 21 August 2014 when he was allowed to communicate with his co defenders. On 19 December of the same year, he was allowed to mail to the authorities and international courts. The final decision was announced on 30 December 2014. Both brothers, Oleg Navalny and Alexey Navalny, were found guilty. Alexey Navalny was sentenced to 3.5 years imprisonment. Navalny broke the home arrest to attend the rally and was arrested on the same evening.
Both brothers challenged the decision in ECHR on 17 October 2017. The ECHR found that Russian Court’s decisions violated articles 6 and seven of ECHR. Subsequently, on 15 November, ECHR upheld the decision, and Navalny was again proved innocent in ECHR rules.
Besides these cases, Navalny was found guilty of many other frauds and embezzlements. Russian Investigation Committee argued that Navalny was charged with the following cases too:
- Fraud of Navalny’s advertising company, Allekt, with Union Of Right Forces (SPS). (2007)
- Yandex search engine’s negative remarks against Navalny.
- Yevgeny Prigozhin and Moskovsky Shkolnik’s fraud cases against Navalny (April 2019).
Alexey Navalny’s Honours
Navalny is a man with great zeal and zest. He has won many awards and honors. Here is a list of his awards:
- Person of the year 2009 by Vedomosti.
- World Fellow award of Yale University (2010).
- Foreign Policy magazine’s award of Top 100 Global Thinkers (2011 and 2013).
- Prize of European Memory and conscience 2015.
- Times Magazine’s award of World’s 25 Most Influential People on the Internet (2017).
- Nobel Peace Prize by Norwegian Members of Parliament (2021).
Alexey Navalny is the most influential and prominent opposition leader of Russia. He followed not only in Russia but all around the world. He has millions of followers on YouTube and other social media accounts. Navalny is a courageous man who, despite all the bad situations, never gave up and always stood in front of the opposition. Besides politics, Navalny is a founding member and has a great role in the Anti-corruption Foundation of Russia. This foundation gave a very tough time to the corrupt leaders and officers. The credit of founding this foundation goes to Alexey Navalny.