Alexei Navalny fell into a coma earlier in the week after drinking a cup of tea at an airport, which was allegedly laced with poison. Navalny, who is 44 years old, is among Russia’s best opposition leaders. Russian doctors recently cleared him for special treatment in Germany, where he continues fighting for his life.
Navalny has managed to stand out in Russia’s political scene despite President Vladimir Putin’s rule. President Putin has dominated the political life in Russia for more than two decades now. Unfortunately, since Navalny is a controversial and influential political figure in the country, his position has come with potential risks.
Navalny has not only faced legal attacks in the past, but he has also been hospitalized numerous times for several alleged attacks.
Alexei Navalny early life
Navalny was born in Obninsk, Moscow, in 1976. Since his father was born in Ukraine, he spent some holidays in Chernobyl up to 1986 when the nuclear accident occurred. Navalny is well educated, and he acquired several degrees in finance and law from Russian universities before joining politics in 1999.
At the time, Putin had just taken up national leadership. Navalny joined Yabloko, a liberal opposition party, and over the years, he pushed it towards a more nationalist message. This started his wars with the party leadership.
Alexei Navalny political career
In 2007, Yabloko expelled Navalny because of his controversial immigration comments and his decision to attend a party named “Russian March,” which was anti-Putin. Navalny ran a small corporate law firm in Moscow, where he developed a strategy that would see him become a minority shareholder in banks and other companies. This way, he could question their leadership.
Later on, Navalny founded the Anti-Corruption Foundation, a group that expanded his investigations into companies. In a 2017 expose, Prime Minister Dmitry was alleged to have a network of more than $ 1 billion worth of palaces. Navalny released a YouTube video detailing the investigation, and it now has around 35 million views.
Navalny quickly rose to fame because of his efforts in activism and his personal charisma. He once referred to Putin’s political party as a group of thieves and crooks.
Navalny is Russia’s most popular opposition leader, and he has served as a leader in various political movements. But, Navalny has had his own share of misfortunes as he has faced many obstacles while running for office.
In Russia’s 2008 election, Navalny was banned from running for president because his campaign was ineligible. The Central Election Commission argued that his conviction for an embezzlement case in 2014 contributed to their decision.
However, when Navalny did run for office, he received political support. In 2013 during a mayoral election in Moscow, Navalny won 27% of the vote, which came as a surprise to many individuals.
Alexei Navalny being targeted politically
Due to his activism, Navalny and his supporters have been targeted on numerous occasions and harassed, including physical and legal threats. He was sentenced to five years in prison in 2014 for allegedly embezzling funds amounting to $ 500 000.
While the case was later suspended, the European Court of Human Rights deemed it unfair in 2016. This forced the Russian court to reopen the case in 2017. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the last time Navalny had run-ins with the law. Over the years, he has faced several legal cases that have seen him under house arrest or in court.
Oleg Navalny, his brother, was also sentenced for embezzling from Yves Rocher, a French cosmetics firm. His brother spent three years in prison and was released in 2018. As of 2020, all bank accounts belonging to Navalny and his family have been seized by Russian authorities.
Navalny has also been forced to close his Anti-Corruption Foundation following a lawsuit from a Putin supporter. However, he pledges to continue his work under a different name.
Navalny’s supporters blame Putin for his poisoning, whether he was directly involved in it or not.