How to do Business at Protests, ‘Newbie’ or Self-Promotion?

By Arthur Evans

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By Arthur Evans – Until recently, Russia’s non-systemic oppositionist Navalny was comfortable with everyone and quietly built his protest empire. Born in 1976, the politician received an excellent legal education at the prestigious University of Friendship of Peoples in Moscow, and in the late 1990s engaged in political advertising. From the beginning of the 2010s, he gradually began to conquer the Russian field of “non-systemic opposition.” This Russian term refers to opponents of the current system, not represented in the Russian parliament and top-level government structures, ready for street protests and, as a consequence, illegal actions. Gradually, he became not just the leader of the Russian opposition, but also the owner of a full-scale “protest empire” with several commercially very attractive projects.

Thus, the “Anti-Corruption Fund” – one of Alexei’s favorite children, disseminates information about the closed assets of officials, their business activities, illegal ties between business and government. However, the attacks in his publications are more often attacked by politicians from the second echelon, which gives the impression of the background’s participation in the “fight against compromising information”, which is far from free. At the same time, all the fund’s publications are tracked in the Kremlin and are often held by officials. For example, the former head of the administration (city manager) of Kaliningrad Svetlana Mukhomor was forced to resign in 2012 after the blogs related to Alexei Navalny began to actively spread information about the arrival of her son’s son-in-law at the university. Of course, this can be considered a violation, but on the scale of Russia, this is clearly not the level for an attack by the opposition. However, it is known that shortly before that she had disagreements with representatives of Moscow business…

Launched in November 2018, the project “Smart Voting”, which involves the support of all opposition forces in the election of all levels, not associated with the pro-government parties, seemed to many, disagreeing with the policies of the current Russian leadership. However, it soon became clear that support for “Smart Voting” can be bought, and many opposition-backed deputies have far from the best reputation.

Separately, we can highlight numerous grants, anonymous donations, including in cryptocurrency, which are received by Navalny’s structures. Many foundations in the West that defend democracy, free elections, the LGBT community need a partner in Russia. And they go to the monopolist – Alexei Navalny.

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Ironically, the Kremlin also needs him. Bulk, a kind of showcase of the Russian opposition. Whatever he does, he is not touched! Maximum, one of the offended officials sues. In addition, it is good for some government officials who are in the “quiet opposition” as a kind of link to external players who support the “fight against dictatorship” in Russia. In addition, again, he is an influential figure in the war of compromising.

Alexei and his team are constantly studying, if there are specialists in “color revolutions” in Russia – that’s them, the whole point is that they lack public support and attempts to bring the masses to the streets of Navalny still fail. Russia believes more in “Putin’s stability” than in liberal values that can lead the country to chaos.

Most likely, the “poisoning of Navalny” is one of his projects aimed at both self-promotion and gaining support from the West, which has now received a new argument for imposing further sanctions against Moscow. At the same time, the Russian oppositionist, who recovered unexpectedly quickly after being poisoned by the “newcomer”, will soon, as never before, return to Russia, where the authorities will be even more careful to protect him.

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