Who is Alexei Navalny? Poisoned in August 2020 and transported to Germany for treatment, the politician returned to Russia in January 2021 in the full glare of the world media. His immediate detention at passport control set the stage for an explosive showdown with Vladimir Putin.
But Navalny means very different things to different people. To some, he is a democratic hero. To others, he is betraying the Motherland. To others still, he is a dangerous nationalist. This book explores the many dimensions of Navalny’s political life, from his pioneering anti-corruption investigations to his ideas and leadership of a political movement. It also looks at how his activities and the Kremlin’s strategies have shaped one another.
Navalny makes sense of this divisive character, revealing the contradictions of a man who is the second most important political figure in Russia—even when behind bars. In order to understand modern Russia, you need to understand Alexei Navalny.
“”[A]n important and valuable book on a figure central to our understanding of Russia’s present and future”, Owen Matthews, TLS.
‘This book is a timely and expertly-written biographical and political analysis of Alexei Navalny as the emergent force to be reckoned with in Russian politics–very appropriately produced by three rising stars in European academia and foreign affairs. The authors deploy their formidable collective talents to delve into and explain the specifically Russian context of Navalny’s brand of activism. They provide a critical commentary on his personality and popularity, including the reactions he elicits from those who know and work with him, or follow his lead. This is not just a book about Navalny’s struggles with the Kremlin, it is the essential primer for anyone outside Russia trying to understand this astonishingly brave and complicated man and the role he plays in contemporary Russia.’ — Fiona Hill (PhD, Harvard), former U.S. National Security Council advisor on Russia
‘A brilliant and highly readable analysis of the most compelling political figure to emerge from Russia in many years. The authors explain who Navalny is, what he stands for and why he matters. In an era when authoritarianism and strongman politics are advancing all over the world, Navalny is a figure of global significance.’ — Gideon Rachman, chief foreign affairs commentator, Financial Times
‘A timely and important study of the man, the movement and the context, based on detailed analysis and balanced judgement. An indispensable contribution to our understanding of contemporary Russian politics.’ — Richard Sakwa, Professor of Russian and European Politics, University of Kent, author of The Putin Paradox
‘Alexei Navalny’s media image is black-and-white: for the West, a persecuted hero; for the Kremlin, an arch-enemy of the state. This book fills in crucial shades of grey, especially on the question of whether Navalny is a “nationalist.” Sprinkled throughout – astute observations on what draws Russians to his protests and how the government uses “selective repression” to keep them home. A detailed examination of Russia’s most famous opposition activist, politician and protester – and why the Kremlin wants to silence him.’ — Jill Dougherty, former CNN Moscow Bureau Chief
‘Demonised, harassed, poisoned, arrested, imprisoned: Alexei Navalny is not only Putin’s most persistent and arguably bravest critic, but as this balanced and readable book demonstrates, he proves the growing hunger for change in today’s Russia.’ — Professor Mark Galeotti, author of We Need To Talk About Putin