Alexei Navalny Biography
Alexei Navalny, Alexei Anatolievich Navalny born 4 June 1976 is a Russian lawyer and political activist. A regular participant in Russian March, since 2009, he has gained prominence in Russia, and in the Russian and international media, as a critic of corruption and of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has organized demonstrations promoting reform and attacking political corruption, Putin and Putin’s political allies; he has run for a political office on the same platform. In 2012, The Wall Street Journal described him as “the man Vladimir Putin fears most”.
A self-described nationalist democrat, Navalny is a Russian Opposition Coordination Council member and the leader of the political party Progress Party. In September 2013, he ran in the Moscow mayoral election, supported by the RPR-PARNAS party. He came in second, with 27% of the vote, losing to incumbent mayor Sergei Sobyanin, a Putin appointee. Navalny and his allies insisted that the actual number was still higher and that authorities had committed election fraud in order to prevent a runoff election from taking place.
Russian police raid opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s office.
Police in Moscow have again detained Alexei Navalny. He is most prominent foe of President Vladimir Putin and the governing United Russia party. https://t.co/eG68GRvxWK
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 26, 2019
Alexei Navalny-Early life and career
Navalny is of Russian and Ukrainian descent. His father is from Zalissia, a village near the border of Belarus in Ivankiv Raion, Kiev Oblast, Ukraine. Navalny grew up in Obninsk about 100 km southwest of Moscow, but spent his childhood summers with his grandmother in Ukraine. His parents, Anatoly Navalny and Lyudmila Navalnaya, own a basket-weaving factory in the village of Kobyakovo, Moscow Oblast, which they have run since 1994.
Navalny graduated from the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia in 1998 with a law degree. He then studied securities and exchanges at the Finance University under the Government of the Russian Federation. Navalny received a scholarship to the Yale World Fellows program at Yale University in 2010.
Alexei Navalny-Anti-corruption investigations
In 2008, Navalny spent around 300,000 rubles on stocks of five oil and gas companies: Rosneft, Gazprom, Gazprom Neft, Lukoil, and Surgutneftegaz, thus becoming an activist shareholder. As such, he began to aim at making the financial properties of these companies transparent. This is required by law, but there are allegations that some of the top managers of these companies are involved in thefts and are obscuring transparency. Other activities deal with wrongdoings by Russian police, such as Sergei Magnitsky’s case, improper usage of state’s budget funds, quality of state services and so on.
In November 2010, Navalny published confidential documents about Transneft’s auditing. According to Navalny’s blog, about $4 billion were stolen by Transneft’s leaders during the construction of the Eastern Siberia – Pacific Ocean oil pipeline.
In December 2010, Navalny announced the launch of the RosPil project, which seeks to bring to light corrupt practices in the government procurement process. The project takes advantage of existing procurement regulation that requires all government requests for tender to be posted online. Information about winning bids must be posted online as well. The name RosPil is a pun on the slang term “raspil” for a corruption practice of appropriating the money allocated from the state budget.
Navalny is married to Yulia Navalnaya and has two children.
Within Russia, reaction to Navalny’s criminal cases varied with political views of commentators: Those who supported Navalny and/or his activities generally declared he was not guilty, while his political opponents generally claimed the opposite.
During and after the Kirovles trial, a number of prominent people expressed support to Navalny and/or condemned the trial. The last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev called it “proof that we do not have independent courts”. Former Minister of Finance Alexei Kudrin stated that it was “looking less like a punishment than an attempt to isolate him from social life and the electoral process”. It was also criticized by novelist Boris Akunin, and jailed Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who called it similar to the treatment of political opponents during the Soviet era.
Other prominent Russians had different reactions: Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the nationalist LDPR, called the verdict “a direct warning to our ‘fifth column'”, and added, “This will be the fate of everyone who is connected with the West and works against Russia”. Duma Vice-Speaker Igor Lebedev stated that he did not understand the “fuss about an ordinary case”. He added, “If you are guilty before the law, then whoever you were – a janitor, a homeless man or a president – you have to answer for your crimes in full accordance with the Criminal Code.
Alexei Navalny-Awards and honors
Navalny was named “Person of the Year 2009” by Russian business newspaper Vedomosti.
Navalny was a World Fellow at Yale University’s World Fellows Program, aimed at “creating a global network of emerging leaders and to broaden international understanding” in 2010.
In 2011, Foreign Policy magazine named Navalny to the FP Top 100 Global Thinkers, along with Daniel Domscheit-Berg and Sami Ben Gharbia of Tunisia, for “shaping the new world of government transparency”. FP picked him again in 2012. He was listed by Time magazine in 2012 as one of the world’s 100 most influential people, the only Russian on the list. In 2013, Navalny came in at No. 48 among “world thinkers” in an online poll by the UK magazine Prospect.
In 2015, Alexei and Oleg Navalny were chosen to receive the “Prize of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience 2015”. According to the Platform’s statement, “The Members of the Platform have voted this year for the Navalny brothers, in recognition of their personal courage, struggle and sacrifices for upholding fundamental democratic values and freedoms in the Russian Federation today. By the award of the Prize, the Platform wishes to express its respect and support to Mr Oleg Navalny whom the Platform considers a political prisoner and to Mr Alexei Navalny for his efforts to expose corruption, defend political pluralism and opposition to the mounting authoritarian regime in the Russian Federation”.
In June 2017, Navalny was included Time magazine’s list of the World’s 25 Most Influential People on the Internet.