News / Europe

    Russia’s Navalny: From Protests to Prison to Politics

    Russia’s Navalny: From Street Protests to Prison to Politicsi
    X
    August 05, 2013 1:42 PM
    Russia’s street protests have faded. President Vladimir Putin has another five years in the Kremlin. What has happened to Russia’s opposition? James Brooke reports from Moscow.
    Russia’s Navalny: From Street Protests to Prison to Politics
    James Brooke
    Last year, Alexei Navalny led street rallies against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
     
    This year, President Putin pushed back.
     
    Navalny was tried on charges of stealing timber.  Two weeks ago, he was convicted and sentenced to five years behind bars.  The sentence knocked Russia’s most popular opposition leader out of the country's next presidential election in 2018.
     
    Then the unexpected occurred.  The morning after going to jail, Navalny was released to run for mayor of Moscow, Russia’s largest city.  He is up against Sergei Sobyanin,  Putin's former chief of staff, who was appointed mayor three years ago.
     
    “They want Moscow elections to be legitimate, to legitimize Sergei Sobyanin, and to get him re-elected having at least some viable opponent,” said, Lilia Shevtsova, who analyzes Russian politics for Carnegie Moscow Center, referring to Kremlin strategists. “And at the same time, they would like to play a chess game and to undermine Navalny’s potential, and they believe this is still possible.”
     
    Sobyanin wants to earn the mayor's title in elections scheduled for September 8.
    Out on the street, there is strong support for Sobyanin, who is changing Moscow, creating new pedestrian streets, cutting traffic into downtown, rebuilding parks, and tearing down billboards and outdoor advertising.
     
    Vagan Davidyants, a lawyer, has his office on one of the new car-free streets.
     
    “For the last two years we have seen the changes, and I think he is at the halfway mark of his job, his plans,” he said one day after work. “So I think we have to give him the next four years or five years to do all the things he planned to do.  Because two years is not enough, he’s on the first step of his changes for Moscow.  So I’m going to vote for him.”
     
    Yuliya Zueva, a pedicab driver, also likes the changes she sees. She said that Sobyanin did a good job running an oil-rich region of Russia five years ago and that now, he is making positive changes in Moscow.
     
    Navalny is blocked from state-run television.  His supporters communicate and raise money through the Internet.  Others say Russia needs a change, what they call more political fresh air.
     
    Maria, a retired theater director, voiced her support for Navalny as she stopped by a sidewalk campaign tent.
     
    “I’m voting for Navalny, and not because he’s some kind of superhero, but because I think that he’s a real person,” she said. 
     
    Igor Tarasov, an IT worker, was handing out leaflets for Navalny and said, “With him the government will become more transparent, more democratic, and more pro-Western.”
     
    But then a policeman intervened to stop volunteers from handing out the leaflets.
    Later, Tarasov told VOA that the officer first wanted to arrest him, but that in a compromise, said only one person would be allowed to distribute the leaflets.
     
    In Vladimir Putin’s Russia, old habits die hard.  Many people predict that, once the mayoral election is over, the Kremlin will return Navalny to prison.
     
    But this time, he would go bolstered by the votes of tens - maybe hundreds -- of thousands of people in the nation’s capital.
     

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora