Saturday, February 24, 2024

@Russia - FOREIGN NEWS OUTLETS KNOW MORE ABOUT PUTIN AND NAVALNY THAN YOU YOURSELF DO IN RUSSIA

WHY IF THEY ARE RUSSIANS !!???? AND HOW WOULD THEY GET SO MANY DETAILS(many which just suggest facts and which are unconfirmed, however, those speculations wouldn't exist without advanced knowledge) ABOUT THEM IF NOT FROM THEM !!???? KEEP LEARNING FROM FOREIGN WEBSITES WHERE YOU TRAVEL TO LEARN ABOUT YOUR LEADERS AND WHERE YOU LEARN ON HOW TO VIEW YOUR OWN ECONOMICAL SITUATION AS - HOPING TO FINALLY EVEN END RUSSIAN STATE AND IMPROVE OWN LIVES VIA WITH ARRIVAL OF AMERICANS....


Wednesday, February 21, 2024 ABOUT COMING "NUCLEAR" WAR AS PLANNED ON: British prince royal NOBODY DEMANDED from me during MK Ultra torture to take responsibility for possible Russian nuclear attack on Britain  https://ausertimes.blogspot.com/2024/02/about-coming-nuclear-war-as-planned-on.html

-- Saturday, February 24, 2024 What else went on with Navaly and his corpse upon his burial in 2017  https://ausertimes.blogspot.com/2024/02/what-else-went-on-with-navaly-and-his.html 

-- Saturday, February 24, 2024 NAVALNY'S CANCER PROBLEMS COMMENCED AT HIS AGE 8: Navalny did develop heart problem, but not before 2008 to my knowledge. His man thing for which Russia begun to use him was play with Western cancer trial medications    https://ausertimes.blogspot.com/2024/02/navalnys-cancer-problems-commenced-at.html

-- Saturday, February 24, 2024 In 2004, Navalny begun to serve Russian military service - his uncle Vladimir Putin and Sergei Lavrov have based on coming invasion on Ukraine enlisted one into Russian navy, but Navaly didn't last over 3 months(complains commenced after 3 weeks of service) due to health problems https://ausertimes.blogspot.com/2024/02/in-2004-navalny-begun-to-serve-russian.html

-- Tuesday, August 29, 2023 NAVALNY RESPONDED QUICKLY ON BRUTAL TRUTH I WROTE ABOUT HIM AND PUTIN    https://ausertimes.blogspot.com/2023/08/navalny-responded-quickly-on-brutal.html

-- Saturday, February 24, 2024 @Russia - FOREIGN NEWS OUTLETS KNOW MORE ABOUT PUTIN AND NAVALNY THAN YOU YOURSELF DO IN RUSSIA  https://ausertimes.blogspot.com/2024/02/russia-foreighn-news-outlets-know-more.html

-- Friday, February 23, 2024 Navalny and his family claimed me in-front of Joe Biden and other Western politicians one has incurable for of cancer and would go in the jail to die infront of guards eyes   https://ausertimes.blogspot.com/2024/02/navalny-and-his-family-claimed-me-in.html



-- 








Extended-protected article
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Vladimir Putin
Владимир Путин
Putin in 2023
President of Russia
Assumed office
7 May 2012
Prime Minister
Preceded byDmitry Medvedev
In office
7 May 2000 – 7 May 2008
Acting: 31 December 1999 – 7 May 2000
Prime Minister
Preceded byBoris Yeltsin
Succeeded byDmitry Medvedev
Prime Minister of Russia
In office
8 May 2008 – 7 May 2012
PresidentDmitry Medvedev
First Deputy
Preceded byViktor Zubkov
Succeeded byViktor Zubkov (acting)
In office
9 August 1999 – 7 May 2000
PresidentBoris Yeltsin
First Deputy
Preceded bySergei Stepashin
Succeeded byMikhail Kasyanov
Additional positions
Personal details
Born
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin

7 October 1952 (age 71)
LeningradRussian SFSR, Soviet Union
Political partyIndependent
(1991–1995, 2001–2008, 2012–present)
Other political
affiliations
Spouse
(m. 1983; div. 2014)
[a]
ChildrenAt least 2, Maria and Katerina[b]
RelativesPutin family
Residence(s)Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow
Alma mater
AwardsFull list
Signature
Websiteeng.putin.kremlin.ru
Military service
Allegiance Soviet Union
 Russia
Branch/service
Years of service
  • 1975–1991
  • 1997–1999
  • 2000–present
Rank
CommandsSupreme Commander-in-Chief
Battles/wars

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin[c][d] (born 7 October 1952) is a Russian politician and former intelligence officer who has been President of Russia since 2012. Putin has held continuous positions as president or prime minister since 1999:[e] as prime minister from 1999 to 2000 and from 2008 to 2012, and as president from 2000 to 2008.[f][7] He is the longest-serving Russian or Soviet leader since Joseph Stalin.

Putin worked as a KGB foreign intelligence officer for 16 years, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel before resigning in 1991 to begin a political career in Saint Petersburg. In 1996, he moved to Moscow to join the administration of President Boris Yeltsin. He briefly served as the director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and then as secretary of the Security Council of Russia before being appointed prime minister in August 1999. Following Yeltsin's resignation, Putin became acting president and, in less than four months, was elected to his first term as president. He was subsequently reelected in 2004. Due to constitutional limitations of two consecutive presidential terms, Putin served as prime minister again from 2008 to 2012 under Dmitry Medvedev. He returned to the presidency in 2012, following an election marked by allegations of fraud and protests, and was reelected in 2018. In April 2021, after a referendum, he signed into law constitutional amendments that included one allowing him to run for reelection twice more, potentially extending his presidency to 2036.[8][9]

During Putin's initial presidential tenure, the Russian economy grew on average by seven percent per year,[10] driven by economic reforms and a fivefold increase in the price of oil and gas.[11][12] Additionally, Putin led Russia in a conflict against Chechen separatists, reestablishing federal control over the region.[13][14] While serving as prime minister under Medvedev, he oversaw a military conflict with Georgia and enacted military and police reforms. In his third presidential term, Russia annexed Crimea and supported a war in eastern Ukraine through several military incursions, resulting in international sanctions and a financial crisis in Russia. He also ordered a military intervention in Syria to support his ally Bashar al-Assad during the Syrian civil war, ultimately securing permanent naval bases in the Eastern Mediterranean.[15][16][17] In his fourth presidential term, he launched a significant invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, which prompted international condemnation and led to expanded sanctions. In September 2022, he announced a partial mobilization and forcibly annexed four Ukrainian oblasts into Russia. In March 2023, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin for war crimes[18] related to his alleged criminal responsibility for illegal child abductions during the war.[19]

Under Putin's leadership, Russia has undergone democratic backsliding and a shift towards authoritarianism. His rule has been marked by endemic corruption and widespread human rights violations, including the imprisonment and suppression of political opponents, intimidation and censorship of independent media in Russia, and a lack of free and fair elections.[20][21][22] Putin's Russia has consistently received low scores on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions IndexThe Economist Democracy IndexFreedom House's Freedom in the World index, and the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index. Putin is the longest-serving Russian president and the second-longest-serving European president, following Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus.

Early life

Putin was born on 7 October 1952 in Leningrad, Soviet Union (now Saint Petersburg, Russia),[23] the youngest of three children of Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin (1911–1999) and Maria Ivanovna Putina (née Shelomova; 1911–1998). His grandfather, Spiridon Putin (1879–1965), was a personal cook to Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin.[24][25] Putin's birth was preceded by the deaths of two brothers: Albert, born in the 1930s, died in infancy, and Viktor, born in 1940, died of diphtheria and starvation in 1942 during the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi Germany's forces in World War II.[26][27]

Putin's father, Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin
Putin's mother, Maria Ivanovna Shelomova

Putin's mother was a factory worker, and his father was a conscript in the Soviet Navy, serving in the submarine fleet in the early 1930s. During the early stage of Nazi German invasion of the Soviet Union, his father served in the destruction battalion of the NKVD.[28][29][30] Later, he was transferred to the regular army and was severely wounded in 1942.[31] Putin's maternal grandmother was killed by the German occupiers of Tver region in 1941, and his maternal uncles disappeared on the Eastern Front during World War II.[32]

Education

On 1 September 1960, Putin started at School No. 193 at Baskov Lane, near his home. He was one of a few in his class of about 45 pupils who were not yet members of the Young Pioneer organization. At the age of 12, he began to practise sambo and judo.[33] In his free time, he enjoyed reading the works of Karl MarxFriedrich Engels, and Lenin.[34] Putin studied German at Saint Petersburg High School 281 and speaks both German and English as additional languages.[35]

Putin c. 1960s

Putin studied law at the Leningrad State University named after Andrei Zhdanov (now Saint Petersburg State University) in 1970 and graduated in 1975.[36] His thesis was on "The Most Favored Nation Trading Principle in International Law".[37] While there, he was required to join the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU); he remained a member until it ceased to exist in 1991.[38] Putin met Anatoly Sobchak, an assistant professor who taught business law,[g] and who later became the co-author of the Russian constitution and of corruption schemes in France. Putin was influential in Sobchak's career in Saint Petersburg, and Sobchak was influential in Putin's career in Moscow.[39]

In 1997, he received a degree in economics (kandidat ekonomicheskikh nauk) at the Saint Petersburg Mining University for a thesis on energy dependencies and their instrumentalisation in foreign policy.[40][41] His supervisor was Vladimir Litvinenko, who in 2000 and again in 2004 managed his presidential election campaigns in St Petersburg.[42] Danchenko and Gaddy[who?]consider Putin to be a plagiarist according to Western standards. One book from which he copied entire paragraphs is the Russian-language edition of King and Cleland's Strategic Planning and Policy (1978).[42] Balzer wrote on the Putin thesis and Russian energy policy and concludes along with Olcott that "The primacy of the Russian state in the country’s energy sector is non-negotiable", and cites the insistence on majority Russian ownership of any joint-venture, particularly since BASF signed the Gazprom Nord Stream-Yuzhno-Russkoye deal in 2004 with a 49-51 structure, as opposed to the older 50-50 split of British Petroleum's TNK-BP project.[43]

KGB career

Putin in the KGBc. 1980

In 1975, Putin joined the KGB and trained at the 401st KGB School in Okhta, Leningrad.[44][45] After training, he worked in the Second Chief Directorate (counterintelligence), before he was transferred to the First Chief Directorate, where he monitored foreigners and consular officials in Leningrad.[44][46][47] In September 1984, Putin was sent to Moscow for further training at the Yuri Andropov Red Banner Institute.[48][49][50]

Multiple reports have suggested Putin was sent by the KGB to New Zealand, corroborated through New Zealand eyewitness accounts and government records. This has never been confirmed by Russian security services. Former Waitākere City mayor Bob Harvey and former prime minister David Lange alleged that Putin served in Wellington and Auckland.[51] He allegedly worked for some time undercover as a Bata shoe salesman in central Wellington.[51][52][53]

From 1985 to 1990, he served in DresdenEast Germany,[54] using a cover identity as a translator.[55] While posted in Dresden, Putin worked as one of the KGB's liaison officers to the Stasi secret police and was reportedly promoted to lieutenant colonel. According to the official Kremlin presidential site, the East German communist regime commended Putin with a bronze medal for "faithful service to the National People's Army". Putin has publicly conveyed delight over his activities in Dresden, once recounting his confrontations with anti-communist protestors of 1989 who attempted the occupation of Stasi buildings in the city.[56]

"Putin and his colleagues were reduced mainly to collecting press clippings, thus contributing to the mountains of useless information produced by the KGB", Russian-American Masha Gessen wrote in their 2012 biography of Putin.[55] His work was also downplayed by former Stasi spy chief Markus Wolf and Putin's former KGB colleague Vladimir Usoltsev. Journalist Catherine Belton wrote in 2020 that this downplaying was actually cover for Putin's involvement in KGB coordination and support for the terrorist Red Army Faction, whose members frequently hid in East Germany with the support of the Stasi. Dresden was preferred as a "marginal" town with only a small presence of Western intelligence services.[57] According to an anonymous source who claimed to be a former RAF member, at one of these meetings in Dresden the militants presented Putin with a list of weapons that were later delivered to the RAF in West Germany. Klaus Zuchold, who claimed to be recruited by Putin, said that Putin handled a neo-Nazi, Rainer Sonntag, and attempted to recruit an author of a study on poisons.[57] Putin reportedly met Germans to be recruited for wireless communications affairs together with an interpreter. He was involved in wireless communications technologies in South-East Asia due to trips of German engineers, recruited by him, there and to the West.[47] However, a 2023 investigation by Der Spiegel reported that the anonymous source had never been an RAF member and "considered a notorious fabulist" with "several previous convictions, including for making false statements."[58]

The Stasi identity card of Vladimir Putin, who worked in Dresden as a KGB liaison officer to the Stasi[59]

According to Putin's official biography, during the fall of the Berlin Wall that began on 9 November 1989, he saved the files of the Soviet Cultural Center (House of Friendship) and of the KGB villa in Dresden for the official authorities of the would-be united Germany to prevent demonstrators, including KGB and Stasi agents, from obtaining and destroying them. He then supposedly burnt only the KGB files, in a few hours, but saved the archives of the Soviet Cultural Center for the German authorities. Nothing is told about the selection criteria during this burning; for example, concerning Stasi files or about files of other agencies of the German Democratic Republic or of the USSR. He explained that many documents were left to Germany only because the furnace burst but many documents of the KGB villa were sent to Moscow.[60]

After the collapse of the Communist East German government, Putin was to resign from active KGB service because of suspicions aroused regarding his loyalty during demonstrations in Dresden and earlier, though the KGB and the Soviet Army still operated in eastern Germany. He returned to Leningrad in early 1990 as a member of the "active reserves", where he worked for about three months with the International Affairs section of Leningrad State University, reporting to Vice-Rector Yuriy Molchanov, while working on his doctoral dissertation.[47]

There, he looked for new KGB recruits, watched the student body, and renewed his friendship with his former professor, Anatoly Sobchak, soon to be the Mayor of Leningrad.[61] Putin claims that he resigned with the rank of lieutenant colonel on 20 August 1991,[61] on the second day of the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt against Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev.[62] Putin said: "As soon as the coup began, I immediately decided which side I was on", although he noted that the choice was hard because he had spent the best part of his life with "the organs".[63]

Political career

1990–1996: Saint Petersburg administration

In May 1990, Putin was appointed as an advisor on international affairs to the mayor of Leningrad Anatoly Sobchak. In a 2017 interview with Oliver Stone, Putin said that he resigned from the KGB in 1991, following the coup against Mikhail Gorbachev, as he did not agree with what had happened and did not want to be part of the intelligence in the new administration.[64] According to Putin's statements in 2018 and 2021, he may have worked as a private taxi driver to earn extra money, or considered such a job.[65][66]

Putin, Lyudmila Narusova and Ksenia Sobchak at the funeral of Putin's former mentor[67] Anatoly Sobchak, Mayor of Saint Petersburg (1991–1996)

On 28 June 1991, he became head of the Committee for External Relations of the Mayor's Office, with responsibility for promoting international relations and foreign investments[68] and registering business ventures. Within a year, Putin was investigated by the city legislative council led by Marina Salye. It was concluded that he had understated prices and permitted the export of metals valued at $93 million in exchange for foreign food aid that never arrived.[69][36] Despite the investigators' recommendation that Putin be fired, Putin remained head of the Committee for External Relations until 1996.[70][71] From 1994 to 1996, he held several other political and governmental positions in Saint Petersburg.

In March 1994, Putin was appointed as first deputy chairman of the Government of Saint Petersburg. In May 1995, he organized the Saint Petersburg branch of the pro-government Our Home – Russia political party, the liberal party of power founded by Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. In 1995, he managed the legislative election campaign for that party, and from 1995 through June 1997, he was the leader of its Saint Petersburg branch.

1996–1999: Early Moscow career

In June 1996, Sobchak lost his bid for re-election in Saint Petersburg, and Putin, who had led his election campaign, resigned from his positions in the city administration. He moved to Moscow and was appointed as deputy chief of the Presidential Property Management Department headed by Pavel Borodin. He occupied this position until March 1997. He was responsible for the foreign property of the state and organized the transfer of the former assets of the Soviet Union and the CPSU to the Russian Federation.[39]

Putin as FSB director, 1998

On 26 March 1997, President Boris Yeltsin appointed Putin deputy chief of the Presidential Staff, a post which he retained until May 1998, and chief of the Main Control Directorate of the Presidential Property Management Department (until June 1998). His predecessor in this position was Alexei Kudrin and his successor was Nikolai Patrushev, both future prominent politicians and Putin's associates.[39] On 3 April 1997, Putin was promoted to 1st class Active State Councillor of the Russian Federation — the highest federal state civilian service rank.[72]

On 27 June 1997, at the Saint Petersburg Mining Institute, guided by rector Vladimir Litvinenko, Putin defended his Candidate of Science dissertation in economics, titled Strategic Planning of the Reproduction of the Mineral Resource Base of a Region under Conditions of the Formation of Market Relations.[73] This exemplified the custom in Russia whereby a young rising official would write a scholarly work in mid-career.[74] Putin's thesis was plagiarized.[75] Fellows at the Brookings Institution found that 15 pages were copied from an American textbook.[76][77]

On 25 May 1998, Putin was appointed First Deputy Chief of the Presidential Staff for the regions, in succession to Viktoriya Mitina. On 15 July, he was appointed head of the commission for the preparation of agreements on the delimitation of the power of the regions and head of the federal center attached to the president, replacing Sergey Shakhray. After Putin's appointment, the commission completed no such agreements, although during Shakhray's term as the head of the Commission 46 such agreements had been signed.[78] Later, after becoming president, Putin cancelled all 46 agreements.[39] On 25 July 1998, Yeltsin appointed Putin director of the Federal Security Service (FSB), the primary intelligence and security organization of the Russian Federation and the successor to the KGB.[79] In 1999, Putin described communism as "a blind alley, far away from the mainstream of civilization".[80]

1999: First premiership

Putin with President Boris Yeltsin on 31 December 1999, when Yeltsin announced his resignation

On 9 August 1999, Putin was appointed one of three first deputy prime ministers, and later on that day, was appointed acting prime minister of the Government of the Russian Federation by President Yeltsin.[81] Yeltsin also announced that he wanted to see Putin as his successor. Later on that same day, Putin agreed to run for the presidency.[82]

On 16 August, the State Duma approved his appointment as prime minister with 233 votes in favor (vs. 84 against, 17 abstained),[83] while a simple majority of 226 was required, making him Russia's fifth prime minister in fewer than eighteen months. On his appointment, few expected Putin, virtually unknown to the general public, to last any longer than his predecessors. He was initially regarded as a Yeltsin loyalist; like other prime ministers of Boris Yeltsin, Putin did not choose ministers himself, his cabinet was determined by the presidential administration.[84]

Yeltsin's main opponents and would-be successors were already campaigning to replace the ailing president, and they fought hard to prevent Putin's emergence as a potential successor. Following the September 1999 Russian apartment bombings and the invasion of Dagestan by mujahideen, including the former KGB agents, based in the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, Putin's law-and-order image and unrelenting approach to the Second Chechen War soon combined to raise his popularity and allowed him to overtake his rivals.

While not formally associated with any party, Putin pledged his support to the newly formed Unity Party,[85] which won the second largest percentage of the popular vote (23.3%) in the December 1999 Duma elections, and in turn supported Putin.

1999–2000: Acting presidency

On 31 December 1999, Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned and, according to the Constitution of Russia, Putin became Acting President of the Russian Federation. On assuming this role, Putin went on a previously scheduled visit to Russian troops in Chechnya.[86]

The first presidential decree that Putin signed on 31 December 1999 was titled "On guarantees for the former president of the Russian Federation and the members of his family".[87][88] This ensured that "corruption charges against the outgoing President and his relatives" would not be pursued.[89] This was most notably targeted at the Mabetex bribery case in which Yeltsin's family members were involved. On 30 August 2000, a criminal investigation (number 18/238278-95) in which Putin himself,[90][91] as a member of the Saint Petersburg city government, was one of the suspects, was dropped.

On 30 December 2000, yet another case against the prosecutor general was dropped "for lack of evidence", despite thousands of documents having been forwarded by Swiss prosecutors.[92] On 12 February 2001, Putin signed a similar federal law which replaced the decree of 1999. A case regarding Putin's alleged corruption in metal exports from 1992 was brought back by Marina Salye, but she was silenced and forced to leave Saint Petersburg.[93]

While his opponents had been preparing for an election in June 2000, Yeltsin's resignation resulted in the presidential elections being held on 26 March 2000; Putin won in the first round with 53% of the vote.[94][95]

2000–2004: First presidential term

Putin taking the presidential oath beside Boris Yeltsin, May 2000

The inauguration of President Putin occurred on 7 May 2000. He appointed the minister of financeMikhail Kasyanov, as prime minister.[96] The first major challenge to Putin's popularity came in August 2000, when he was criticized for the alleged mishandling of the Kursk submarine disaster.[97] That criticism was largely because it took several days for Putin to return from vacation, and several more before he visited the scene.[97]

Between 2000 and 2004, Putin set about the reconstruction of the impoverished condition of the country, apparently winning a power-struggle with the Russian oligarchs, reaching a 'grand bargain' with them. This bargain allowed the oligarchs to maintain most of their powers, in exchange for their explicit support for—and alignment with—Putin's government.[98][99]

Putin with Tom Brokaw before an interview on 2 June 2000

The Moscow theater hostage crisis occurred in October 2002. Many in the Russian press and in the international media warned that the deaths of 130 hostages in the special forces' rescue operation during the crisis would severely damage President Putin's popularity. However, shortly after the siege had ended, the Russian president enjoyed record public approval ratings—83% of Russians declared themselves satisfied with Putin and his handling of the siege.[100]

In 2003, a referendum was held in Chechnya, adopting a new constitution which declares that the Republic of Chechnya is a part of Russia; on the other hand, the region did acquire autonomy.[101] Chechnya has been gradually stabilized with the establishment of the Parliamentary elections and a Regional Government.[102][103] Throughout the Second Chechen War, Russia severely disabled the Chechen rebel movement; however, sporadic attacks by rebels continued to occur throughout the northern Caucasus.[104]


ICC arrest warrant

Vladimir Putin in a meeting with Maria Lvova-Belova in the Kremlin during the Russian invasion of Ukraine

On 17 March 2023, the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for Putin's arrest,[320][321][322][323] alleging that Putin held criminal responsibility in the illegal deportation and transfer of children from Ukraine to Russia during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[324][325][326]

It was the first time that the ICC had issued an arrest warrant for the head of state of one of the five Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council,[320] (the world's five principal nuclear powers).[327]

The ICC simultaneously issued an arrest warrant for Maria Lvova-Belova, Commissioner for Children's Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation. Both are charged with:

...the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation,...[322]

...for their publicized program, since 24 February 2022, of forced deportations of thousands of unaccompanied Ukrainian children to Russia, from areas of eastern Ukraine under Russian control.[320][322] Russia has maintained that the deportations were humanitarian efforts to protect orphans and other children abandoned in the conflict region.[320]

2023 Wagner rebellion

Putin making an address to the Russian people regarding Yevgeny Prigozhin's private military company Wagner Group rebellion on 24 June 2023

On 23 June 2023, the Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary organization, rebelled against the government of Russia. The revolt arose amidst escalating tensions between the Russian Ministry of Defense and Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of Wagner.[328]

Prigozhin portrayed the rebellion as a response to an alleged attack on his forces by the ministry.[329][330] He dismissed the government's justification for invading Ukraine,[331] blamed Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu for the country's military shortcomings,[332] and accused him of waging the war for the benefit of Russian oligarchs.[333][334] In a televised address on 24 June, Russian president Vladimir Putin denounced Wagner's actions as treason and pledged to quell the rebellion.[330][335]

Prigozhin's forces seized control of Rostov-on-Don and the Southern Military District headquarters and advanced towards Moscow in an armored column.[336] Following negotiations with Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko,[337] Prigozhin agreed to stand down[338] and, late on 24 June, began withdrawing from Rostov-on-Don.[339]

On 23 August 2023, exactly two months after the rebellion, Prigozhin was killed along with nine other people when a business jet crashed in Tver Oblast, north of Moscow.[340] Western intelligence reported that the crash was likely caused by an explosion on board, and it is widely suspected that the Russian state were involved.[341]

Domestic policies

Putin's domestic policies, particularly early in his first presidency, were aimed at creating a vertical power structure. On 13 May 2000, he issued a decree organizing the 89 federal subjects of Russia into seven administrative federal districts and appointed a presidential envoy responsible for each of those districts (whose official title is Plenipotentiary Representative).[342]

In May 2000, Putin introduced seven federal districts for administrative purposes. In January 2010, the 8th North Caucasus Federal District (shown here in purple) was split from the Southern Federal District. In March 2014, the new 9th Crimean Federal District was formed after the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation. In July 2016, it was incorporated into the Southern Federal District.

According to Stephen White, under the presidency of Putin, Russia made it clear that it had no intention of establishing a "second edition" of the American or British political system, but rather a system that was closer to Russia's own traditions and circumstances.[343] Some commentators have described Putin's administration as a "sovereign democracy".[344][345][346] According to the proponents of that description (primarily Vladislav Surkov), the government's actions and policies ought above all to enjoy popular support within Russia itself and not be directed or influenced from outside the country.[347]

The practice of the system is characterized by Swedish economist Anders Åslund as manual management, commenting: "After Putin resumed the presidency in 2012, his rule is best described as 'manual management' as the Russians like to put it. Putin does whatever he wants, with little consideration to the consequences with one important caveat. During the Russian financial crash of August 1998, Putin learned that financial crises are politically destabilizing and must be avoided at all costs. Therefore, he cares about financial stability."[348]

The period after 2012 saw mass protests against the falsification of elections, censorship and toughening of free assembly laws. In July 2000, according to a law proposed by Putin and approved by the Federal Assembly of Russia, Putin gained the right to dismiss the heads of the 89 federal subjects. In 2004, the direct election of those heads (usually called "governors") by popular vote was replaced with a system whereby they would be nominated by the president and approved or disapproved by regional legislatures.[349][350]

This was seen by Putin as a necessary move to stop separatist tendencies and get rid of those governors who were connected with organised crime.[351] This and other government actions effected under Putin's presidency have been criticized by many independent Russian media outlets and Western commentators as anti-democratic.[352][353]

During his first term in office, Putin opposed some of the Yeltsin-era business oligarchs, as well as his political opponents, resulting in the exile or imprisonment of such people as Boris BerezovskyVladimir Gusinsky, and Mikhail Khodorkovsky; other oligarchs such as Roman Abramovich and Arkady Rotenberg are friends and allies with Putin.[354] Putin succeeded in codifying land law and tax law and promulgated new codes on labor, administrative, criminal, commercial and civil procedural law.[355] Under Medvedev's presidency, Putin's government implemented some key reforms in the area of state security, the Russian police reform and the Russian military reform.[356]

Economic, industrial, and energy policies

Russian GDP since the end of the Soviet Union (beyond 2014 are forecasts)

Sergey Guriyev, when talking about Putin's economic policy, divided it into four distinct periods: the "reform" years of his first term (1999–2003); the "statist" years of his second term (2004 – the first half of 2008); the world economic crisis and recovery (the second half of 2008–2013); and the Russo-Ukrainian War, Russia's growing isolation from the global economy, and stagnation (2014–present).[357]

In 2000, Putin launched the "Programme for the Socio-Economic Development of the Russian Federation for the Period 2000–2010", but it was abandoned in 2008 when it was 30% complete.[358] Fueled by the 2000s commodities boom including record-high oil prices,[11][12] under the Putin administration from 2000 to 2016, an increase in income in USD terms was 4.5 times.[359] During Putin's first eight years in office, industry grew substantially, as did production, construction, real incomes, credit, and the middle class.[360][361] A fund for oil revenue allowed Russia to repay Soviet Union's debts by 2005. Russia joined the World Trade Organization in August 2012.[362]

In 2006, Putin launched an industry consolidation programme to bring the main aircraft-producing companies under a single umbrella organization, the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC).[363][364] In September 2020, the UAC general director announced that the UAC will receive the largest-ever post-Soviet government support package for the aircraft industry in order to pay and renegotiate the debt.[365][366]

Putin, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Russian economy is heavily dependent on the export of natural resources such as oil and natural gas.[367]

In 2014, Putin signed a deal to supply China with 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. Power of Siberia, which Putin has called the "world's biggest construction project", was launched in 2019 and is expected to continue for 30 years at an ultimate cost to China of $400bn.[368] The ongoing financial crisis began in the second half of 2014 when the Russian ruble collapsed due to a decline in the price of oil and international sanctions against Russia. These events in turn led to loss of investor confidence and capital flight, though it has also been argued that the sanctions had little to no effect on Russia's economy.[369][370][371] In 2014, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project named Putin their Person of the Year for furthering corruption and organized crime.[372][373]

According to Meduza, Putin has since 2007 predicted on a number of occasions that Russia will become one of the world's five largest economies. In 2013, he said Russia was one of the five biggest economies in terms of gross domestic product but still lagged behind other countries on indicators such as labour productivity.[374]

Environmental policy

In 2004, Putin signed the Kyoto Protocol treaty designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.[375] However, Russia did not face mandatory cuts, because the Kyoto Protocol limits emissions to a percentage increase or decrease from 1990 levels and Russia's greenhouse-gas emissions fell well below the 1990 baseline due to a drop in economic output after the breakup of the Soviet Union.[376]

Religious policy

Putin with religious leaders of Russia, February 2001

Putin regularly attends the most important services of the Russian Orthodox Church on the main holy days and has established a good relationship with Patriarchs of the Russian Church, the late Alexy II of Moscow and the current Kirill of Moscow. As president, Putin took an active personal part in promoting the Act of Canonical Communion with the Moscow Patriarchate, signed 17 May 2007, which restored relations between the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia after the 80-year schism.[377]

Under Putin, the Hasidic Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia became increasingly influential within the Jewish community, partly due to the influence of Federation-supporting businessmen mediated through their alliances with Putin, notably Lev Leviev and Roman Abramovich.[378][379] According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Putin is popular amongst the Russian Jewish community, who see him as a force for stability. Russia's chief rabbi, Berel Lazar, said Putin "paid great attention to the needs of our community and related to us with a deep respect".[380] In 2016, Ronald S. Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, also praised Putin for making Russia "a country where Jews are welcome".[381]

Human rights organizations and religious freedom advocates have criticized the state of religious freedom in Russia.[382] In 2016, Putin oversaw the passage of legislation that prohibited missionary activity in Russia.[382] Nonviolent religious minority groups have been repressed under anti-extremism laws, especially Jehovah's Witnesses.[383]

One of the 2020 amendments to the Constitution of Russia has a constitutional reference to God.[384]


Human rights policy

Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny attends a march in memory of assassinated opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, Moscow, 29 February 2020.

New York City-based NGO Human Rights Watch, in a report entitled Laws of Attrition, authored by Hugh Williamson, the British director of HRW's Europe & Central Asia Division, has claimed that since May 2012, when Putin was reelected as president, Russia has enacted many restrictive laws, started inspections of non-governmental organizations, harassed, intimidated and imprisoned political activists, and started to restrict critics. The new laws include the "foreign agents" law, which is widely regarded as over-broad by including Russian human rights organizations which receive some international grant funding, the treason law, and the assembly law which penalizes many expressions of dissent.[394][395] Human rights activists have criticized Russia for censoring speech of LGBT activists due to "the gay propaganda law"[396] and increasing violence against LGBT+ people due to the law.[397][398][399]

In 2020, Putin signed a law on labelling individuals and organizations receiving funding from abroad as "foreign agents". The law is an expansion of "foreign agent" legislation adopted in 2012.[400][401]

As of June 2020, per Memorial Human Rights Center, there were 380 political prisoners in Russia, including 63 individuals prosecuted, directly or indirectly, for political activities (including Alexey Navalny) and 245 prosecuted for their involvement with one of the Muslim organizations that are banned in Russia. 78 individuals on the list, i.e., more than 20% of the total, are residents of Crimea.[402][403] As of December 2022, more than 4,000 people were prosecuted for criticizing the war in Ukraine under Russia's war censorship laws.[404]

The media

Putin and Konstantin Ernst, chief of Russia's main state-controlled TV station Channel One. About 85% of Russians get most of their information from Russian state media.[405]

Scott Gehlbach, a professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, has claimed that since 1999, Putin has systematically punished journalists who challenge his official point of view.[406] Maria Lipman, an American writing in Foreign Affairs claims, "The crackdown that followed Putin's return to the Kremlin in 2012 extended to the liberal media, which had until then been allowed to operate fairly independently."[407] The Internet has attracted Putin's attention because his critics have tried to use it to challenge his control of information.[408] Marian K. Leighton, who worked for the CIA as a Soviet analyst in the 1980s says, "Having muzzled Russia's print and broadcast media, Putin focused his energies on the Internet."[409]

Robert W. Orttung and Christopher Walker reported that "Reporters Without Borders, for instance, ranked Russia 148 in its 2013 list of 179 countries in terms of freedom of the press. It particularly criticized Russia for the crackdown on the political opposition and the failure of the authorities to vigorously pursue and bring to justice criminals who have murdered journalists. Freedom House ranks Russian media as "not free", indicating that basic safeguards and guarantees for journalists and media enterprises are absent."[410] About two-thirds of Russians use television as their primary source of daily news.[411]

In the early 2000s, Putin and his circle began promoting the idea in Russian media that they are the modern-day version of the 17th-century Romanov tsars who ended Russia's "Time of Troubles", meaning they claim to be the peacemakers and stabilizers after the fall of the Soviet Union.[412]

Promoting conservatism

Putin attends the Orthodox Christmas service in the village Turginovo in Kalininsky District, Tver Oblast, 7 January 2016.

Putin has promoted explicitly conservative policies in social, cultural, and political matters, both at home and abroad. Putin has attacked globalism and neoliberalism and is identified by scholars with Russian conservatism.[413] Putin has promoted new think tanks that bring together like-minded intellectuals and writers. For example, the Izborsky Club, founded in 2012 by the conservative right-wing journalist Alexander Prokhanov, stresses (i) Russian nationalism, (ii) the restoration of Russia's historical greatness, and (iii) systematic opposition to liberal ideas and policies.[414] Vladislav Surkov, a senior government official, has been one of the key economics consultants during Putin's presidency.[415]

In cultural and social affairs Putin has collaborated closely with the Russian Orthodox ChurchPatriarch Kirill of Moscow, head of the Church, endorsed his election in 2012 stating Putin's terms were like "a miracle of God."[416] Steven Myers reports, "The church, once heavily repressed, had emerged from the Soviet collapse as one of the most respected institutions... Now Kiril led the faithful directly into an alliance with the state."[417]

Mark Woods, a Baptist Union of Great Britain minister and contributing editor to Christian Today, provides specific examples of how the Church has backed the expansion of Russian power into Crimea and eastern Ukraine.[418] Some Russian Orthodox believers consider Putin a corrupt and brutal strongman or even a tyrant. Others do not admire him but appreciate that he aggravates their political opponents. Still others appreciate that Putin defends some although not all Orthodox teachings, whether or not he believes in them himself.[419]

On abortion, Putin stated: "In the modern world, the decision is up to the woman herself."[420] This put him at odds with the Russian Orthodox Church.[421] In 2020, he supported efforts to reduce the number of abortions instead of prohibiting it.[422] On 28 November 2023, during a speech to the World Russian People's Council, Putin urged Russian women to have "seven, eight, or even more children" and said "large families must become the norm, a way of life for all of Russia's people".[423]

Putin supported the 2020 Russian constitutional referendum, which passed and defined marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman in the Constitution of Russia.[424][425][426]

International sporting events

Putin, FIFA President Gianni Infantino and French President Emmanuel Macron at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final in Russia as French forward Kylian Mbappé receives the best young player award

In 2007, Putin led a successful effort on behalf of Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2014 Winter Paralympics,[427] the first Winter Olympic Games to ever be hosted by Russia. In 2008, the city of Kazan won the bid for the 2013 Summer Universiade; on 2 December 2010, Russia won the right to host the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2018 FIFA World Cup, also for the first time in Russian history. In 2013, Putin stated that gay athletes would not face any discrimination at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.[428]

Foreign policy

Putin's visit to the United States, November 2001

Generally, Putin's tenure experiences tensions with the west.[429][430] Anna Borshchevskaya, in her 2022 book, summarizes Putin main foreign policy objectives as originating in his 30 December 1999 document which appeared on the government's website, "Russia at the Turn of the Millenium".[431] She presents Putin as orienting himself to the plan that "Russia is a country with unique values in danger of losing its unity—which... is a historic Russian fear. This again points to the fundamental issue of Russia's identity issues—and how the state had manipulated these to drive anti-Western security narratives with the aim of eroding the US-led global order... Moreover, a look at Russia's distribution of forces over the years under Putin has been heavily weighted towards the south (Syria, Ukraine, Middle East), another indicator of the Kremlin's threat perceptions."[432][433]

Leonid Bershidsky analyzed Putin's interview with the Financial Times and concluded, "Putin is an imperialist of the old Soviet school, rather than a nationalist or a racist, and he has cooperated with, and promoted, people who are known to be gay."[434] Putin spoke favorably of artificial intelligence in regards to foreign policy, "Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind. It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world."[435]

Post-Soviet states

Post-Soviet states in English alphabetical order:
  1. Armenia
  2. Azerbaijan
  3. Belarus
  4. Estonia
  5. Georgia
  6. Kazakhstan
  7. Kyrgyzstan
  8. Latvia
  9. Lithuania
  10. Moldova
  11. Russia
  12. Tajikistan
  13. Turkmenistan
  14. Ukraine
  15. Uzbekistan

Under Putin, the Kremlin has consistently stated that Russia has a sphere of influence and "privileged interests" over other Post-Soviet states, which are referred to as the "near abroad" in Russia. It has also been stated that the post-Soviet states are strategically vital to Russian interests.[459] Some Russia experts have compared this concept to the Monroe Doctrine.[460]

A series of so-called colour revolutions in the post-Soviet states, namely the Rose Revolution in Georgia in 2003, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004 and the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan in 2005, led to frictions in the relations of those countries with Russia. In December 2004, Putin criticized the Rose and Orange revolutions, saying: "If you have permanent revolutions you risk plunging the post-Soviet space into endless conflict".[461]

Putin allegedly declared at a NATO-Russia summit in 2008 that if Ukraine joined NATO Russia could contend to annex the Ukrainian East and Crimea.[462] At the summit, he told U.S. President George W. Bush that "Ukraine is not even a state!" while the following year Putin referred to Ukraine as "Little Russia".[463] Following the Revolution of Dignity in March 2014, the Russian Federation annexed Crimea.[464][465][466] According to Putin, this was done because "Crimea has always been and remains an inseparable part of Russia".[467]

After the Russian annexation of Crimea, he said that Ukraine includes "regions of Russia's historic south" and "was created on a whim by the Bolsheviks".[468] He went on to declare that the February 2014 ousting of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych had been orchestrated by the West as an attempt to weaken Russia. "Our Western partners have crossed a line. They behaved rudely, irresponsibly and unprofessionally," he said, adding that the people who had come to power in Ukraine were "nationalists, neo-NazisRussophobes and anti-Semites".[468]

Putin hosted a meeting of the Russian-led military alliance, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), in Moscow on 16 May 2022.

In a July 2014 speech during a Russian-supported armed insurgency in Eastern Ukraine, Putin stated he would use Russia's "entire arsenal of available means" up to "operations under international humanitarian law and the right of self-defence" to protect Russian speakers outside Russia.[469][470] With the attainment of autocephaly by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in December 2018 and subsequent schism of the Russian Orthodox Church from Constantinople, a number of experts came to the conclusion that Putin's policy of forceful engagement in post-Soviet republics significantly backfired on him, leading to a situation where he "annexed Crimea, but lost Ukraine", and provoked a much more cautious approach to Russia among other post-Soviet countries.[471][472]

In late August 2014, Putin stated: "People who have their own views on history and the history of our country may argue with me, but it seems to me that the Russian and Ukrainian peoples are practically one people".[473] After making a similar statement, in late December 2015 he stated: "the Ukrainian culture, as well as Ukrainian literature, surely has a source of its own".[474] In July 2021, he published a lengthy article On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians[475] revisiting these themes, and saying the formation of a Ukrainian state hostile to Moscow was "comparable in its consequences to the use of weapons of mass destruction against us",[476][477]—it was made mandatory reading for military-political training in the Russian Armed Forces.[478]

Ukrainian president Zelenskyy, German chancellor Merkel, French president Macron and Putin met in Paris on 9 December 2019 in the "Normandy Format" aimed at ending the war in Donbas.

In August 2008, Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili attempted to restore control over the breakaway South Ossetia. However, the Georgian military was soon defeated in the resulting 2008 South Ossetia War after regular Russian forces entered South Ossetia and then other parts of Georgia, then also opened a second front in the other Georgian breakaway province of Abkhazia with Abkhazian forces.[479][480]

Despite existing or past tensions between Russia and most of the post-Soviet states, Putin has followed the policy of Eurasian integration. Putin endorsed the idea of a Eurasian Union in 2011;[481][482] the concept was proposed by the president of Kazakhstan in 1994.[483] On 18 November 2011, the presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia signed an agreement setting a target of establishing the Eurasian Union by 2015.[484] The Eurasian Union was established on 1 January 2015.[485]

Under Putin, Russia's relations have improved significantly with Uzbekistan, the second largest post-Soviet republic after Ukraine. This was demonstrated in Putin's visit to Tashkent in May 2000, after lukewarm relations under Yeltsin and Islam Karimov who had long distanced itself from Moscow.[486] In another meeting in 2014, Russia agreed to write off Uzbek debt.[487]

A theme of a greater Soviet region, including the former USSR and many of its neighbors or imperial-era states—rather than just post-Soviet Russia—has been consistent in Putin's May Day speeches.[488][489][490]

On 22 December 2022, Putin addressed the Security Council in a speech where he did not use the term "Special Military Operation" but instead called the fighting in Ukraine a "war". Anti-Putin activists have called for Putin to be prosecuted for breaking a law passed to stop people calling the Special Military Operation a war. This law carries a penalty of up to 15 years in jail.[491]

On 25 December, he openly declared in a TV interview that the goal of the invasion is "to unite the Russian people."[492]

On 14 December 2023, President Putin held a press conference where he indicated that Russian would only negotiate with Ukraine "when we achieve our objectives". He stated that another mobilization wasn't required as "617,000" Russian soldiers were fighting in Ukraine.[493]


United States, Western Europe, and NATO

Putin with Pope John Paul II and Holy See's Secretary of State Angelo Sodano on 5 June 2000
Putin with Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and U.S. president George W. Bush at the NATO-Russia Council meeting in Rome on 28 May 2002[494]

Under Putin, Russia's relationships with NATO and the U.S. have passed through several stages. When he first became president, relations were cautious, but after the 9/11 attacks Putin quickly supported the U.S. in the War on Terror and the opportunity for partnership appeared.[495] According to Stephen F. Cohen, the U.S. "repaid by further expansion of NATO to Russia's borders and by unilateral withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty",[495] but others pointed out the applications from new countries willing to join NATO was driven primarily by Russian's behavior in ChechnyaTransnistriaAbkhaziaYanayev putsch as well as calls to restore USSR in its previous borders by prominent Russian politicians.[496][497]

From 2003, when Russia strongly opposed the U.S. when it waged the Iraq War, Putin became ever more distant from the West, and relations steadily deteriorated. According to Russia scholar Stephen F. Cohen, the narrative of the mainstream U.S. media, following that of the White House, became anti-Putin.[495] In an interview with Michael Stürmer, Putin said there were three questions which most concerned Russia and Eastern Europe: namely, the status of Kosovo, the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and American plans to build missile defence sites in Poland and the Czech Republic, and suggested that all three were linked.[498] His view was that concessions by the West on one of the questions might be met with concessions from Russia on another.[498]

One single center of power. One single center of force. One single center of decision making. This is the world of one master, one sovereign. ... Primarily the United States has overstepped its national borders, and in every area.

— Putin criticizing the United States in his Munich Speech, 2007[499]

In a January 2007 interview, Putin said Russia was in favor of a democratic multipolar world and strengthening the systems of international law.[500] In February 2007, Putin criticized what he called the United States' monopolistic dominance in global relations, and "almost uncontained hyper use of force in international relations". He said the result of it is that "no one feels safe! Because no one can feel that international law is like a stone wall that will protect them. Of course such a policy stimulates an arms race".[501] This came to be known as the Munich Speech, and NATO secretary Jaap de Hoop Scheffer called the speech "disappointing and not helpful."[502]

Putin with U.S. president Donald Trump at the summit meeting in Helsinki, Finland, 16 July 2018

The months following Putin's Munich Speech[501] were marked by tension and a surge in rhetoric on both sides of the Atlantic. Both Russian and American officials, however, denied the idea of a new Cold War.[503] Putin publicly opposed plans for the U.S. missile shield in Europe and presented President George W. Bush with a counterproposal on 7 June 2007 which was declined.[504] Russia suspended its participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty on 11 December 2007.[505]

Putin opposed Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008, warning that it would destabilize the whole system of international relations.[506][better source needed] He described the recognition of Kosovo's independence by several major world powers as "a terrible precedent, which will de facto blow apart the whole system of international relations, developed not over decades, but over centuries", and that "they have not thought through the results of what they are doing. At the end of the day it is a two-ended stick and the second end will come back and hit them in the face".[507] In March 2014, Putin used Kosovo's declaration of independence as a justification for recognizing the independence of Crimea, citing the so-called "Kosovo independence precedent".[508][509]

After the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. in 2001, Putin had good relations with American President George W. Bush, and many western European leaders. His "cooler" and "more business-like" relationship with German chancellor, Angela Merkel is often attributed to Merkel's upbringing in the former DDR, where Putin was stationed as a KGB agent.[510] He had a very friendly and warm relationship with the former Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi;[511] the two leaders often described their relationship as a close friendship, continuing to organize bilateral meetings even after Berlusconi's resignation in November 2011.[512] When Berlusconi died in 2023, Putin described him as an "extraordinary man" and a "true friend".[513][514]

Putin held a meeting in Sochi with German chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline in May 2018.

The NATO-led military intervention in Libya in 2011 prompted a widespread wave of criticism from several world leaders, including Putin, who said that the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 is "defective and flawed", adding: "It allows everything. It resembles medieval calls for crusades."[515]

In late 2013, Russian-American relations deteriorated further when the United States canceled a summit for the first time since 1960 after Putin gave asylum to American Edward Snowden, who had leaked massive amounts of classified information from the NSA.[516][517] In 2014, Russia was suspended from the G8 group as a result of its annexation of Crimea.[518][519] Putin gave a speech highly critical of the United States, accusing them of destabilizing world order and trying to "reshape the world" to its own benefit.[520] In June 2015, Putin said that Russia has no intention of attacking NATO.[521]

According to Putin, he and Russia have a particularly good relationship to neighboring country Finland.[522] Picture of Putin handshaking with Sauli Niinistö, the president of Finland, in August 2019.

On 9 November 2016, Putin congratulated Donald Trump on becoming the 45th president of the United States.[523] In December 2016, US intelligence officials (headed by James Clapper) quoted by CBS News stated that Putin approved the email hacking and cyber attacks during the U.S. election, against the Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. A spokesman for Putin denied the reports.[524] Putin has repeatedly accused Hillary Clinton, who served as U.S. secretary of state from 2009 to 2013 of interfering in Russia's internal affairs,[525] and in December 2016, Clinton accused Putin of having a personal grudge against her.[526][527]

With the election of Trump, Putin's favorability in the U.S. increased. A Gallup poll in February 2017 revealed a positive view of Putin among 22% of Americans, the highest since 2003.[528] Putin has stated that U.S.–Russian relations, already at the lowest level since the end of the Cold War,[529] have continued to deteriorate after Trump took office in January 2017.[530]

On 18 June 2020, The National Interest published a nine-thousand-word essay by Putin, titled "The Real Lessons of the 75th Anniversary of World War II".[531] In the essay, Putin criticizes the Western historical view of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact as the start of World War II, stating that the Munich Agreement was the beginning.[532]

On 21 February 2023, Putin suspended Russia's participation in the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with the United States.[533]

On 25 March, President Putin announced the stationing of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. Russia would maintain control of the weapons. President Putin told Russian TV: "There is nothing unusual here either. Firstly, the United States has been doing this for decades. They have long deployed their tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of their allied countries."[534]

United Kingdom

Putin and his wife Lyudmila meeting with Queen Elizabeth II, her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2005

In 2003, relations between Russia and the United Kingdom deteriorated when the United Kingdom granted political asylum to Putin's former patron, oligarch Boris Berezovsky.[535] This deterioration was intensified by allegations that the British were spying and making secret payments to pro-democracy and human rights groups.[536] A survey conducted in the United Kingdom in 2022 found Putin to be among the least popular foreign leaders, with 8% of British respondents holding a positive opinion.[537]

Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko

The end of 2006 brought more strained relations in the wake of the death by polonium poisoning in London of former KGB and FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko, who became an MI6 agent in 2003. In 2007, the crisis in relations continued with the expulsion of four Russian envoys over Russia's refusal to extradite former KGB bodyguard Andrei Lugovoi to face charges in the murder.[535] Mirroring the British actions, Russia expelled UK diplomats and took other retaliatory steps.[535]

In 2015, the British Government launched a public inquiry into Litvinenko's death, presided over by Robert Owen, a former British High Court judge.[538] The Owen report, published on 21 January 2016, stated "The FSB operation to kill Mr. Litvinenko was probably approved by Mr Patrushev and also by President Putin."[539] The report outlined some possible motives for the murder, including Litvinenko's public statements and books about the alleged involvement of the FSB in mass murder, and what was "undoubtedly a personal dimension to the antagonism" between Putin and Litvinenko.[540]

Poisoning of Sergei Skripal

On 4 March 2018, former double agent Sergei Skripal was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent in Salisbury.[541] Ten days later, the British government formally accused the Russian state of attempted murder, a charge which Russia denied.[542] After the UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats (an action which would later be responded to with a Russian expulsion of 23 British diplomats),[543] British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on 16 March that it was "overwhelmingly likely" Putin had personally ordered the poisoning of Skripal. Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the allegation "shocking and unpardonable diplomatic misconduct".[544]

Latin America

Public image

Putin opens the Wall of Grief, a monument to victims of Stalinist repression, October 2017.

Polls and rankings

The director of the Levada Center stated in 2015 that drawing conclusions from Russian poll results or comparing them to polls in democratic states was irrelevant, as there is no real political competition in Russia, where, unlike in democratic states, Russian voters are not offered any credible alternatives and public opinion is primarily formed by state-controlled media, which promotes those in power and discredits alternative candidates.[585]

Putin with local people in the Siberian republic of Tuva in 2007

In a June 2007 public opinion survey, Putin's approval rating was 81%, the second-highest of any leader in the world that year.[586] In January 2013, at the time of the 2011–2013 Russian protests, Putin's rating fell to 62%, the lowest since 2000.[587] After EU and U.S. sanctions against Russian officials as a result of the crisis in Ukraine, Putin's approval rating reached 87% in August 2014.[588] In February 2015, based on domestic polling, Putin was ranked the world's most popular politician.[589] In June 2015, Putin's approval rating climbed to 89%, an all-time high.[590][591][592] Observers saw Putin's high approval ratings in 2010s as a consequence of improvements in living standards, and Russia's reassertion on the world scene during his presidency.[593][594] Putin was also highly popular in some non-Western countries, such as Vietnam, where his approval rating was 89% in 2017.[595]

Despite high approval for Putin, public confidence in the Russian economy was low, dropping to levels in 2016 that rivaled the lows in 2009 at the height of the global economic crisis.[596] Putin's performance in reining in corruption is unpopular among Russians. Newsweek reported in 2017 that a poll "indicated that 67% held Putin personally responsible for high-level corruption".[597] Corruption is a significant problem in Russia.[598][599]

Vladimir Putin approval 1999–2020 (Levada, 2020)
Vladimir Putin's public approval 1999–2020 (Levada, 2020)[600]

In October 2018, two-thirds of Russians surveyed agreed that "Putin bears full responsibility for the problems of the country" which has been attributed[601] to a decline in a popular belief in "good tsar and bad boyars", a traditional attitude towards justifying failures at the top of the ruling hierarchy in Russia.[602] In January 2019, the percentage of Russians trusting Putin hit a then-historic low – 33%.[603] In April 2019 Gallup poll showed a record number of Russians, 20%, willing to permanently emigrate from Russia.[604] The decline was even larger in the 17–25 age group, "who find themselves largely disconnected from the country's aging leadership, nostalgic Soviet rhetoric and nepotistic agenda". Putin's approval rating among young Russians was 32% in January 2019. The percentage willing to emigrate permanently in this group was 41%. 60% had favorable views of the US (three times more than in the 55+ age group).[605] Decline in support for the president and government is visible in other polls, such as a rapidly growing readiness to protest against poor living conditions.

In May 2020, amid the COVID crisis, Putin's approval rating was 68%, when respondents were presented a list of names (closed question),[606] and 27% when respondents were expected to name politicians they trust (open question).[607] This has been attributed to continued post-Crimea economic stagnation but also an apathetic response to the pandemic crisis in Russia.[608] Polls conducted in November 2021 after the failure of a Russian COVID-19 vaccination campaign indicated distrust of Putin was a major contributing factor for vaccine hesitancy, with regional polls indicating numbers as low as 20–30% in the Volga Federal District.[609]

In May 2021, 33% indicated Putin in response to "who would you vote for this weekend?" among Moscow respondents and 40% outside Moscow.[610] A survey released in October 2021 found 53% of respondents saying they trusted Putin.[611]

Observers see a generational struggle among Russians over perception of Putin's rule, with younger Russians more likely to be against Putin and older Russians more likely to accept the narrative presented by state-controlled media in Russia.[612] Putin's support among Russians aged 18–24 was only 20% in December 2020.[613]

The Levada Center survey showed that 58% of surveyed Russians supported the 2017 Russian protests against high-level corruption.[614]

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, state-controlled TV, where most Russians get their news, presented the invasion as a "special military operation" and liberation mission, in line with the government's narrative.[615][616][617] The Russian censorship apparatus Roskomnadzor ordered the country's media to employ information only from state sources or face fines and blocks.[618] The Russian media was banned from using the words "war", "invasion" or "aggression" to describe the invasion,[616] with media outlets being blocked as a result.[619]

In late February 2022, a survey conducted by the independent research group Russian Field found that 59% of respondents supported the "special military operation" in Ukraine.[620] According to the poll, in the group of 18-to-24-year-olds, only 29% supported the "special military operation".[621] In late February and mid-March 2022 two polls surveyed Russians' sentiments about the "special military operation" in Ukraine. The results were obtained by Radio Liberty.[622] 71% of Russians polled said that they supported the "special military operation" in Ukraine.[623][622]

Putin speaking at the "Russia-Africa" parliamentary conference in Moscow on 20 March 2023. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, two-thirds of the world's population live in countries that are neutral or leaning towards Russia.[405]

When asked how they were affected by the actions of Putin, a third said they strongly believed Putin was working in their interests. Another 26% said he was working in their interests to some extent. In general, most Russians believe that it would be better if Putin remained president for as long as possible.[623][622] Similarly, a survey conducted in early March found 58% of Russian respondents approved of the operation.[624][625]

In March 2022, 97% of Ukrainians said they had an unfavorable view of Putin, and 98% of Ukrainians – including 82% of ethnic Russians living in Ukraine – said they did not believe any part of Ukraine was rightfully part of Russia.[626] A poll published on 30 March in Russia saw Putin's approval rating jump, from 71% in February, to 83%.[627][628] However, experts warned that the figures may not accurately reflect the public mood, as the public tends to rally around leaders during war and some may be hiding their true opinions,[629] especially with the Russian 2022 war censorship laws prohibiting dissemination of "fake information" about the military.[630] Many respondents do not want to answer pollsters' questions for fear of negative consequences.[620] When researchers commissioned a survey on Russians' attitudes to the war, 29,400 out of 31,000 refused to answer.[631] The Levada Center's director, stated that early feelings of "shock and confusion" was being replaced with the belief that Russia was being besieged and that Russians must rally around their leader.[619] The Kremlin's analysis concluded that public support for the war was broad but not deep, and that most Russians would accept anything Putin labeled a victory. In September 2023, the head of the VTsIOM state pollster Valery Fyodorov said in an interview that only 10-15% of Russians actively supported the war, and that "most Russians are not demanding the conquest of Kyiv or Odesa."[319]

Cult of personality

Putin driving a Formula One car, 2010 (video)

Putin has cultivated a cult of personality for himself with an outdoorsy, sporty, tough guy public image, demonstrating his physical prowess and taking part in unusual or dangerous acts, such as extreme sports and interaction with wild animals,[632] part of a public relations approach that, according to Wired, "deliberately cultivates the macho, take-charge superhero image".[633] In 2007, the tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda published a huge photograph of a shirtless Putin vacationing in the Siberian mountains under the headline "Be Like Putin".[634]

Numerous Kremlinologists have accused Putin of seeking to create a cult of personality around himself, an accusation that the Kremlin has denied.[635] Some of Putin's activities have been criticised for being staged;[636][637] outside of Russia, his macho image has been the subject of parody.[638][639][640] Putin's height has been estimated by Kremlin insiders to be between 155 and 165 centimetres (5 feet 1 inch and 5 feet 5 inches) tall but is usually given at 170 centimetres (5 feet 7 inches).[641][642]

There are many songs about Putin,[643] and Putin's name and image are widely used in advertisement and product branding.[633] Among the Putin-branded products are Putinka vodka, the PuTin brand of canned food, the Gorbusha Putina caviar, and a collection of T-shirts with his image.[644]

Public recognition in the West

In 2007, he was the Time Person of the Year.[645][646] In 2015, he was No. 1 on the Time's Most Influential People List.[647][648] Forbes ranked him the World's Most Powerful Individual every year from 2013 to 2016.[649] He was ranked the second most powerful individual by Forbes in 2018.[650]

In Germany, the word "Putinversteher" (female form "Putinversteherin") is a neologism and a political buzzword (Putin + verstehen), which literally translates "Putin understander", i.e., "one who understands Putin".[651] It is a pejorative reference to politicians and pundits who express empathy to Putin and may also be translated as "Putin-empathizer".[652]

Putinisms

Putin has produced many aphorisms and catch-phrases known as putinisms.[653] Many of them were first made during his annual Q&A conferences, where Putin answered questions from journalists and other people in the studio, as well as from Russians throughout the country, who either phoned in or spoke from studios and outdoor sites across Russia. Putin is known for his often tough and sharp language, often alluding to Russian jokes and folk sayings.[653] Putin sometimes uses Russian criminal jargon (known as "fenya" in Russian), albeit not always correctly.[654]


Electoral history

Personal life

Family

Putin and Lyudmila Putina during their wedding on 28 July 1983

On 28 July 1983, Putin married Lyudmila Shkrebneva, and they lived together in East Germany from 1985 to 1990. They have two daughters, Mariya Putina, born on 28 April 1985 in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), and Yekaterina Putina, born on 31 August 1986 in Dresden, East Germany (now Germany).[708]

An investigation by Proekt published in November 2020 alleged that Putin has another daughter, Elizaveta, also known as Luiza Rozova,[709] (born in March 2003),[710] with Svetlana Krivonogikh.[4][711] In April 2008, the Moskovsky Korrespondent reported that Putin had divorced Lyudmila and was engaged to marry Olympic gold medalist Alina Kabaeva, a former rhythmic gymnast and Russian politician.[2] The story was denied,[2] and the newspaper was shut down shortly thereafter.[3] Putin and Lyudmila continued to make public appearances together as spouses,[712][713] while the status of his relationship with Kabaeva became a topic of speculation.[714]

On 6 June 2013, Putin and Lyudmila announced that their marriage was over; on 1 April 2014, the Kremlin confirmed that the divorce had been finalised.[715][716][717] Kabaeva reportedly gave birth to a daughter by Putin in 2015;[718][719] this report was denied.[718] Kabaeva reportedly gave birth to twin sons by Putin in 2019.[5][720] However, in 2022, Swiss media, citing the couple's Swiss gynecologist, wrote that on both occasions Kabaeva gave birth to a boy.[6]

Putin has two grandsons, born in 2012 and 2017,[721][722] through Maria.[723] He reportedly also has a granddaughter, born in 2017, through Katerina.[724][725] His cousin, Igor Putin, was a director at Moscow-based Master Bank and was accused in a number of money-laundering scandals.[726][727]

Wealth

Official figures released during the legislative election of 2007 put Putin's wealth at approximately 3.7 million rubles (US$280,000) in bank accounts, a private 77.4-square-meter (833 sq ft) apartment in Saint Petersburg, and miscellaneous other assets.[728][729] Putin's reported 2006 income totaled 2 million rubles (approximately $152,000). In 2012, Putin reported an income of 3.6 million rubles ($270,000).[730][731] Putin has been photographed wearing a number of expensive wristwatches, collectively valued at $700,000, nearly six times his annual salary.[732][733] Putin has been known on occasion to give watches valued at thousands of dollars as gifts, for example a watch identified as a Blancpain to a Siberian boy he met while on vacation in 2009, and another similar watch to a factory worker the same year.[734]

Putin's close associate Arkady Rotenberg is mentioned in the Panama Papers, pictured 2018.

According to Russian opposition politicians and journalists,[735][736] Putin secretly possesses a multi-billion-dollar fortune via successive ownership of stakes in a number of Russian companies.[737][738] According to one editorial in The Washington Post, "Putin might not technically own these 43 aircraft, but, as the sole political power in Russia, he can act like they're his".[739] An RIA Novosti journalist argued that "[Western] intelligence agencies ... could not find anything". These contradictory claims were analyzed by Polygraph.info,[740] which looked at a number of reports by Western (Anders Åslund estimate of $100–160 billion) and Russian (Stanislav Belkovsky estimated of $40 billion) analysts, CIA (estimate of $40 billion in 2007) as well as counterarguments of Russian media. Polygraph concluded:

There is uncertainty on the precise sum of Putin's wealth, and the assessment by the Director of U.S. National Intelligence apparently is not yet complete. However, with the pile of evidence and documents in the Panama Papers and in the hands of independent investigators such as those cited by Dawisha, Polygraph.info finds that Danilov's claim that Western intelligence agencies have not been able to find evidence of Putin's wealth to be misleading

— Polygraph.info, "Are 'Putin's Billions' a Myth?"

In April 2016, 11 million documents belonging to Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca were leaked to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The name of Putin does not appear in any of the records, and Putin denied his involvement with the company.[741] However, various media have reported on three of Putin's associates on the list.[742] According to the Panama Papers leak, close trusted associates of Putin own offshore companies worth US$2 billion in total.[743] The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung regards the possibility of Putin's family profiting from this money as plausible.[744][745]

According to the paper, the US$2 billion had been "secretly shuffled through banks and shadow companies linked to Putin's associates", such as construction billionaires Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, and Bank Rossiya, previously identified by the U.S. State Department as being treated by Putin as his personal bank account, had been central in facilitating this. It concludes that "Putin has shown he is willing to take aggressive steps to maintain secrecy and protect [such] communal assets."[746][747]

A significant proportion of the money trail leads to Putin's best friend Sergei Roldugin. Although a musician, and in his own words, not a businessman, it appears he has accumulated assets valued at $100m, and possibly more. It has been suggested he was picked for the role because of his low profile.[742] There have been speculations that Putin, in fact, owns the funds,[748] and Roldugin just acted as a proxy.[749] Garry Kasparov said that "[Putin] controls enough money, probably more than any other individual in the history of human race".[750]

Residences

Official government residences

Putin receives Barack Obama at his residence in Novo-Ogaryovo, 2009.

As president and prime minister, Putin has lived in numerous official residences throughout the country.[751] These residences include: the Moscow KremlinNovo-Ogaryovo in Moscow OblastGorki-9 [ru] near Moscow, Bocharov Ruchey in SochiDolgiye Borody (residence) in Novgorod Oblast, and Riviera in Sochi.[752] In August 2012, critics of Putin listed the ownership of 20 villas and palaces, nine of which were built during Putin's 12 years in power.[753]

Personal residences

Soon after Putin returned from his KGB service in Dresden, East Germany, he built a dacha in Solovyovka on the eastern shore of Lake Komsomolskoye on the Karelian Isthmus in Priozersky District of Leningrad Oblast, near St. Petersburg. After the dacha burned down in 1996, Putin built a new one identical to the original and was joined by a group of seven friends who built dachas nearby. In 1996, the group formally registered their fraternity as a co-operative society, calling it Ozero ("Lake") and turning it into a gated community.[754]

A massive Italianate-style mansion costing an alleged US$1 billion[755] and dubbed "Putin's Palace" is under construction near the Black Sea village of Praskoveevka. In 2012, Sergei Kolesnikov, a former business associate of Putin's, told the BBC's Newsnight programme that he had been ordered by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin to oversee the building of the palace.[756] He also said that the mansion, built on government land and sporting three helipads, plus a private road paid for from state funds and guarded by officials wearing uniforms of the official Kremlin guard service, have been built for Putin's private use.[757]

On 19 January 2021, two days after Alexei Navalny was detained by Russian authorities upon his return to Russia, a video investigation by him and the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) was published accusing Putin of using fraudulently obtained funds to build the estate for himself in what he called "the world's biggest bribe." In the investigation, Navalny said that the estate is 39 times the size of Monaco and cost over 100 billion rubles ($1.35 billion) to construct. It also showed aerial footage of the estate via a drone and a detailed floorplan of the palace that Navalny said was given by a contractor, which he compared to photographs from inside the palace that were leaked onto the Internet in 2011. He also detailed an elaborate corruption scheme allegedly involving Putin's inner circle that allowed Putin to hide billions of dollars to build the estate.[758][759][760]

Since the prelude to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Putin prefers to travel in an armored train to flying.[761]

Pets

Putin's pet, named Verni, was a birthday gift from Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, President of Turkmenistan, during a meeting in Sochi in October 2017.

Putin has received five dogs from various nation leaders: Konni, Buffy, Yume, Verni and Pasha. Konni died in 2014. When Putin first became president, the family had two poodles, Tosya and Rodeo. They reportedly stayed with his ex-wife Lyudmila after their divorce.[762]

Religion

Putin and wife Lyudmila in New York at a service for victims of the 11 September attacks, 16 November 2001

Putin is Russian Orthodox. His mother was a devoted Christian believer who attended the Russian Orthodox Church, while his father was an atheist.[763] Though his mother kept no icons at home, she attended church regularly, despite government persecution of her religion at that time. His mother secretly baptized him as a baby, and she regularly took him to services.[31]

According to Putin, his religious awakening began after a serious car crash involving his wife in 1993, and a life-threatening fire that burned down their dacha in August 1996.[763] Shortly before an official visit to Israel, Putin's mother gave him his baptismal cross, telling him to get it blessed. Putin states, "I did as she said and then put the cross around my neck. I have never taken it off since."[31]

When asked in 2007 whether he believes in God, he responded: "There are things I believe, which should not in my position, at least, be shared with the public at large for everybody's consumption because that would look like self-advertising or a political striptease."[764] Putin's rumoured confessor is Russian Orthodox Bishop Tikhon Shevkunov.[765] The sincerity of his Christianity has been rejected by his former advisor Sergei Pugachev.[766]

Sports

Putin watches football and supports FC Zenit Saint Petersburg.[767] He also displays an interest in ice hockey and bandy,[768] and played in a star-studded hockey game on his 63rd birthday.[769]

Putin practicing judo in Tokyo, Japan, in September 2000

Putin has been practicing judo since he was 11 years old,[770] before switching to sambo at the age of fourteen.[771] He won competitions in both sports in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg). He was awarded eighth dan of the black belt in 2012, becoming the first Russian to achieve the status.[772] He was rewarded an eighth-degree karate black belt in 2014.[773]

He co-authored a book entitled Learn Judo with Vladimir Putin in Russian (2000),[h] and Judo: History, Theory, Practice in English (2004).[774] Benjamin Wittes, a black belt in taekwondo and aikido and editor of Lawfare, has disputed Putin's martial arts skills, stating that there is no video evidence of Putin displaying any real noteworthy judo skills.[775][776]

In March 2022, Putin was removed from all positions in the International Judo Federation (IJF) due to the Russian war in Ukraine.[777]

Health

In July 2022, the director of the U.S. Central Intelligence AgencyWilliam Burns, stated they had no evidence to suggest Putin was unstable or in bad health. The statement was made because of increasing unconfirmed media speculation about Putin's health. Burns had previously been U.S. Ambassador to Russia, and had personally observed Putin for over two decades, including a personal meeting in November 2021. A Kremlin spokesperson also dismissed rumours of Putin's bad health.[778]

The Russian political magazine Sobesednik (RussianСобеседник) alleged in 2018 that Putin had a sensory room installed in his private residence in the Novgorod Oblast.[779]

The White House, as well as Western generals, politicians, and political analysts, have questioned Putin's mental health after two years of isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.[780][781][782]

In April 2022, tabloid newspaper The Sun reported that based on video footage Putin may have Parkinson's disease.[783][784][785] This speculation, which has not been supported by medical professionals, has spread in part due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which many saw as an irrational act.[785] The Kremlin[783] rejected the possibility of Parkinson's along with outside medical professionals, who stress that it is impossible to diagnose the condition based on video clips alone.[785]

Awards and honours

See also









Alexei Navalny

Page semi-protected
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Alexei Navalny
Алексей Навальный
Navalny in 2011
Leader of Russia of the Future[a]
In office
28 March 2019 – 17 January 2021[b]
DeputyLeonid Volkov
Preceded byIvan Zhdanov
Succeeded byLeonid Volkov (acting)
In office
17 November 2013 – 19 May 2018
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byIvan Zhdanov
Chairman of the Session of the Russian Opposition Coordination Council
In office
27 October 2012 – 24 November 2012
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byGarry Kasparov
Member of the Russian Opposition Coordination Council
In office
22 October 2012 – 19 October 2013
Freelance Advisor to the Governor of Kirov Oblast
In office
4 May 2009 – 11 September 2009
GovernorNikita Belykh
Chief of Staff of the Yabloko Moscow Regional Branch
In office
12 April 2004 – 22 February 2007
Personal details
Born4 June 1976
ButynRussian SFSR, Soviet Union[1]
Died16 February 2024 (aged 47)
Kharp, Yamalia, Russia
Political party
Other political
affiliations
Spouse
 
(m. 2000)
Children2[2]
ResidenceMoscow
Education
Occupation
  • Lawyer
  • politician
  • activist
  • blogger
Known forAnti-corruption activism
Signature
Websitenavalny.com Edit this at WikidataNavalnyLiveChannel
YouTube information
Channel
Subscribers6.21 million[3]
(16 February 2024)
Total views1.49 billion[3]
(16 February 2024)

Alexei Anatolyevich Navalny[c][d] (Russian: Алексей Анатольевич НавальныйIPA: [ɐlʲɪkˈsʲej ɐnɐˈtolʲjɪvʲɪtɕ nɐˈvalʲnɨj]; 4 June 1976 – 16 February 2024) was a Russian opposition leader,[2][4] lawyer, anti-corruption activist, and political prisoner. He organised anti-government demonstrations and ran for office to advocate reforms against corruption in Russia and against President Vladimir Putin and his government.[5] Navalny was founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK). He was recognised by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience, and was awarded the Sakharov Prize for his work on human rights.

Through his social media channels, Navalny and his team published material about corruption in Russia, organised political demonstrations and promoted his campaigns. In a 2011 radio interview, he described Russia's ruling party, United Russia, as a "party of crooks and thieves", which became a popular epithet. Navalny and the FBK have published investigations detailing alleged corruption by high-ranking Russian officials and their associates.

Navalny twice received a suspended sentence for embezzlement, in 2013 and 2014. Both criminal cases were widely considered politically motivated and intended to bar him from running in future elections. He ran in the 2013 Moscow mayoral election and came in second with 27% of the vote but was barred from running in the 2018 presidential election.

In August 2020, Navalny was hospitalised in serious condition after being poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent. He was medically evacuated to Berlin and discharged a month later. Navalny accused Putin of being responsible for his poisoning, and an investigation implicated agents from the Federal Security Service. In January 2021, Navalny returned to Russia and was immediately detained on accusations of violating parole conditions while he was hospitalised in Germany. Following his arrest, mass protests were held across Russia.[6] In February 2021, his suspended sentence was replaced with a prison sentence of over 2+12 years' detention, and his organisations were later designated as extremist and liquidated. In March 2022, Navalny was sentenced to an additional nine years in prison after being found guilty of embezzlement and contempt of court in a new trial described as a sham by Amnesty International;[7][8] his appeal was rejected and in June, he was transferred to a high-security prison.[9] In August 2023, Navalny was sentenced to an additional 19 years in prison on extremism charges.[10]

In December 2023, Navalny went missing from prison for almost three weeks. He re-emerged in an Arctic Circle corrective colony in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug.[11][12] On 16 February 2024, the Russian prison service reported that Navalny had died at the age of 47.[13][14] His death sparked protests, both in Russia and in various other countries. Accusations against the Russian authorities in connection with his death have been made by Western governments and international organisations.

Early life and education

Navalny was of Russian and Ukrainian descent.[15][16] His father was from Zalissia, a former village near the Belarusian border that was relocated due to the Chernobyl disaster in Ivankiv Raion, Kyiv Oblast, Ukraine. Navalny grew up in Obninsk, about 100 kilometres (62 mi) southwest of Moscow, but spent his childhood summers with his grandmother in Ukraine, acquiring proficiency in the Ukrainian language.[15][17] His parents, Anatoly Navalny, and Lyudmila Navalnaya, own a basket-weaving factory, which they have run since 1994, in the village of Kobyakovo, Vologda Oblast. As of 2012, they were still running the factory.[18]

Navalny graduated from Kalininets secondary school (level 3 according to the ISCED) in 1993.[19] He graduated from the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia in 1998 with a law degree.[2] He then studied securities and exchanges at the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, graduating in 2001.[20][21] He received a scholarship to the Yale World Fellows program at Yale University in 2010.[22][23]

Legal career

From 1998, Navalny worked as a lawyer for various Russian companies.[19]

In 2009, Navalny became an advocate and a member of advocate's chamber (bar association) of Kirov Oblast (registration number 43/547). In 2010, due to his move to Moscow, he ceased to be a member of advocate's chamber of Kirov Oblast and became a member of advocate's chamber of Moscow (registration number 77/9991).[24][25]

In November 2013, after the judgement in the Kirovles case had entered into force, Navalny was deprived of advocate status.[26][27]

Political activity

Yabloko

Navalny in 2006

In 2000, following the announcement of a new law that raised the electoral threshold for State Duma elections, Navalny joined the Russian United Democratic Party Yabloko. According to Navalny, the law was stacked against Yabloko and Union of Right Forces, and he decided to join, even though he was not "a big fan" of either organisation.[28] In 2001, he was listed as a member of the party.[28] In 2002, he was elected to the regional council of the Moscow branch of Yabloko.[29] In 2003, he headed the Moscow subdivision of the election campaign of the party for the parliamentary election held in December. In April 2004, Navalny became Chief of Staff of the Moscow branch of Yabloko, where he remained until February 2007. Also in 2004, he became Deputy Chief of the Moscow branch of the party. From 2006 to 2007, he was a member of the Federal Council of the party.[30]

In August 2005, Navalny was admitted to the Social Council of the Central Administrative Okrug of Moscow, created before the Moscow City Duma election held later that year, in which he took part as a candidate. In November, he was one of the initiators of the Youth Public Chamber, intended to help younger politicians take part in legislative initiatives.[30] At the same time, in 2005, Navalny started another youth social movement, named "DA! – Democratic Alternative".[e] The project was not connected to Yabloko or any other political party. Within the movement, Navalny participated in several projects. In particular, he was one of the organisers of the movement-run political debates, which soon resonated in the media.[30] Navalny also organised television debates via state-run Moscow channel TV Center; two initial episodes showed high ratings, but the show was suddenly canceled. According to Navalny, the authorities prohibited the appearance of certain people on television.[30]

In late 2006, Navalny appealed to the Moscow City Hall, asking it to grant permission to conduct the nationalist 2006 Russian march. However, he added that Yabloko condemned "any ethnic or racial hatred and any xenophobia" and called on the police to oppose "any fascist, Nazi, xenophobic manifestations".[f]

In 2007, Navalny was expelled from Yabloko for asking to democratically re-elect the leadership of the party including Grigory Yavlinsky.[30]

2011 parliamentary election and protests

Navalny at the courthouse, 6 December 2011

In December 2011, after parliamentary elections and accusations of electoral fraud,[32] approximately 6,000 people gathered in Moscow to protest the contested result, and an estimated 300 people were arrested, including Navalny. Navalny was arrested on 5 December.[33][34] After a period of uncertainty for his supporters, Navalny appeared in court and was sentenced to a maximum of 15 days "for defying a government official". Alexei Venediktov, editor-in-chief of Echo of Moscow radio station, called the arrest "a political mistake: jailing Navalny transforms him from an online leader into an offline one".[34] After his arrest, his blog became available in English.[33] Navalny was kept in the same prison as several other activists, including Ilya Yashin and Sergei Udaltsov, the unofficial leader of the Vanguard of Red Youth, a radical Russian communist youth group. Udaltsov went on a hunger strike to protest against the conditions.[35]

Navalny at Moscow rally, 10 March 2012

Upon his release on 20 December 2011, Navalny called on Russians to unite against Putin, who Navalny said would try to claim victory in the presidential election, which was held on 4 March 2012.[36]

After his release, Navalny informed reporters that it would be senseless for him to run in the presidential elections because the Kremlin would not allow the elections to be fair, but if free elections were held, he would "be ready" to run.[36] On 24 December, he helped lead a demonstration, estimated at 50,000 people, which was much larger than the previous post-election demonstration. Speaking to the crowd, he said, "I see enough people to take the Kremlin right now".[37]

In March 2012, after Putin was elected president, Navalny helped lead an anti-Putin rally in Moscow's Pushkinskaya Square, attended by between 14,000 and 20,000 people. After the rally, Navalny was detained by authorities for several hours, and then released.[38] On 8 May 2012, the day after Putin was inaugurated, Navalny and Udaltsov were arrested after an anti-Putin rally at Clean Ponds, and were each given 15-day jail sentences.[39] Amnesty International designated the two men prisoners of conscience.[40] On 11 June, Moscow prosecutors conducted a 12-hour search of Navalny's home, office, and the apartment of one of his relatives.[41] Soon afterwards, some of Navalny's personal emails were posted online by a pro-government blogger.[42]

New party

On 26 June 2012, it was announced that Navalny's comrades would establish a new political party based on e-democracy; Navalny declared he did not plan to participate in this project at the moment.[43] On 31 July, they filed a document to register an organising committee of a future party named "The People's Alliance".[44] The party identified itself as centrist; one of the then-current leaders of the party, and Navalny's ally Vladimir Ashurkov, explained this was intended to help the party get a large share of voters. Navalny said the concept of political parties was "outdated", and added his participation would make maintaining the party more difficult. However, he "blessed" the party and discussed its maintenance with its leaders. They, in turn, stated they wanted to eventually see Navalny as a member of the party.[45] On 15 December 2012 Navalny expressed his support of the party, saying, "The People's Alliance is my party", but again refused to join it, citing the criminal cases against him.[46]

On 10 April 2013, the party filed documents for the official registration of the party.[47] On 30 April, the registration of the party was suspended.[48] On 5 July 2013 the party was declined registration; according to Izvestia, not all founders of the party were present during the congress, even though the papers contained their signatures.[49] Navalny reacted to that with a tweet saying, "A salvo of all guns."[50] Following the mayoral election, on 15 September 2013, Navalny declared he would join and, possibly, head the party.[51] On 17 November 2013 Navalny was elected as the leader of the party.[52]

On 8 January 2014, Navalny's party filed documents for registration for the second time.[53] On 20 January, registration of the party was suspended;[54] according to Russian laws, no two parties can share a name.[55] On 8 February 2014, Navalny's party changed its name to "Progress Party".[56] On 25 February 2014, the party was registered, and[57] at this point, had six months to register regional branches in at least half of the federal subjects of Russia.[g] On 26 September 2014, the party declared it had registered 43 regional branches.[59] An unnamed source of Izvestia in the ministry said registrations completed after the six-month term would not be taken into consideration, adding, "Yes, trials are taking place in some regions ... they cannot register new branches in other regions during the trials, because the main term is over". Navalny's blog countered, "Our answer is simple. A six-month term for registration has been legally prolonged ad interim prosecution of appeals of denials and registration suspensions".[59]

Navalny's election campaign in 2013

On 1 February 2015, the party held a convention, where Navalny stated the party was preparing for the 2016 elections, declaring the party would maintain its activity across Russia, saying, "We are unabashed to work in remote lands where the opposition does not work. We can even [work] in Crimea". The candidates the party would appoint were to be chosen via primary elections; however, he added, the party's candidates may be removed from elections.[60] On 17 April 2015, the party initiated a coalition of democratic parties.[61] On 28 April 2015, the party was deprived of registration by the Ministry of Justice, which stated the party had not registered the required number of regional branches within six months after the official registration.[62] Krainev claimed that the party could be eliminated only by the Supreme Court, and he added that not all trials of registration of regional branches were over, calling the verdict "illegal twice". He added that the party would appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, and expressed confidence that the party would be restored and admitted to elections.[63] The next day, the party officially challenged the verdict.[64]

2013 Moscow mayoral candidacy

Ratings of Sobyanin and Navalny
among those who said they would vote,
according to Synovate Comcon polls
 
TimeSobyaninNavalnyRef
29 August–2 September60.1%21.9%[65]
22–28 August63.9%19.8%[66]
15–21 August62.5%20.3%[67]
8–14 August63.5%19.9%[68]
1–7 August74.6%15.0%[68]
25–31 July76.2%16.7%[69]
18–24 July76.6%15.7%[70]
11–16 July76.2%14.4%[71]
4–10 July78.5%10.7%[71]
27 June–3 July77.9%10.8%[71]
Percentages of Muscovites who voted for Navalny during the election
Navalny's meeting at Bolotnaya Square in Moscow, 9 September 2013

On 30 May 2013, Sergey Sobyanin, the mayor of Moscow, argued an elected mayor is an advantage for the city compared to an appointed one,[72] and on 4 June, he announced he would meet President Vladimir Putin and ask him for a snap election, mentioning the Muscovites would agree the governor elections should take place in the city of Moscow and the surrounding Moscow Oblast simultaneously.[73] On 6 June, the request was granted,[74] and the next day, the Moscow City Duma appointed the election on 8 September, the national voting day.[75]

On 3 June, Navalny announced he would run for the post.[76] To become an official candidate, he would need either seventy thousand signatures of Muscovites or to be pegged for the office by a registered party, and then to collect 110 signatures of municipal deputies from 110 different subdivisions (three-quarters of Moscow's 146). Navalny chose to be pegged by a party, RPR–PARNAS.[77]

Among the six candidates who were officially registered as such, only two (Sobyanin and Communist Ivan Melnikov) were able to collect the required number of the signatures themselves, and the other four were given a number of signatures by the Council of Municipal Formations, following a recommendation by Sobyanin,[78] to overcome the requirement (Navalny accepted 49 signatures, and other candidates accepted 70, 70, and 82).[79]

On 17 July, Navalny was registered as one of the six candidates for the Moscow mayoral election.[80] On 18 July, he was sentenced to a five-year prison term for the embezzlement and fraud charges that were declared in 2012. Several hours after his sentencing, he pulled out of the race and called for a boycott of the election.[81] Later that day, the prosecution office requested that Navalny be freed on bail and released from travel restrictions, since the verdict had not yet taken legal effect, saying that he had previously followed the restrictions. Navalny was a mayoral candidate, and imprisonment would thus not comply with the rule for equal access to the electorate.[82] On his return to Moscow after being freed, pending an appeal, he vowed to stay in the race.[83] The Washington Post has speculated that his release was ordered by the Kremlin in order to make the election and Sobyanin appear more legitimate.[84]

Navalny's campaign was successful in fundraising: out of 103.4 million rubles (approximately $3.09 million as of the election day[rates 1]), the total size of his electoral fund, 97.3 million ($2.91 million) were transferred by individuals throughout Russia;[86] such an amount is unprecedented in Russia.[87] It achieved a high profile through an unprecedentedly large campaign organisation that involved around 20,000 volunteers who passed out leaflets and hung banners, in addition to conducting several campaign rallies a day around the city;[88] they were the main driving force for the campaign.[89] The New Yorker described the resulted campaign as "a miracle", along with Navalny's release on 19 July, the fundraising campaign, and the personality of Navalny himself.[90] The campaign received very little television coverage and did not utilise billboards. Thanks to Navalny's strong campaign (and Sobyanin's weak one[88]), his result grew over time, weakening Sobyanin's, and in the end of the campaign, he declared the runoff election (to be conducted if none of the candidates receives at least 50% of votes) was "a hair's breadth away".[91]

The largest sociological research organisations predicted that Sobyanin would win the election, scoring 58% to 64% of the vote; they expected Navalny to receive 15–20% of the vote, and the turnout was to be 45–52%. (Levada Center was the only one not to have made any predictions; the data it had on 28 August was similar to that of other organisations.)[92] The final results of the voting showed Navalny received 27% of the vote, more than candidates appointed by the parties that received second, third, fourth, and fifth highest results during the 2011 parliamentary elections, altogether. Navalny fared better in the center and southwest of Moscow, which have higher income and education levels.[84] Sobyanin received 51% of the vote, winning the election. The turnout was 32%.[93] The organisations explained the differences were because Sobyanin's electorate did not vote, as they felt that their candidate was guaranteed to win. Navalny's campaign office predicted Sobyanin would score 49–51%, and Navalny would get 24–26% of votes.[92]

Many experts said the election had been fair, that the number of irregularities had been much lower than those of other elections held within the country, and that the irregularities had had little effect on the result.[94][95] Dmitri Abyzalov, leading expert of Center of Political Conjuncture, added low turnout figures provide a further sign of fairness of the election, because that shows they were not overestimated.[94] However, according to Andrei Buzin, co-chairman of the GOLOS Association, State Departments of Social Security added people who did not originally want to vote to lists of those who would vote at home, with the number of such voters being 5% of those who voted, and added this did cause questions if Sobyanin would score 50% if this did not take place.[95] Dmitry Oreshkin, leader of the "People's election commission" project (who did a separate counting based on the data from election observers; their result for Sobyanin was 50%), said now that the runoff election was only 2% away, all details would be looked at very closely, and added it was impossible to prove "anything" juridically.[96]

On 9 September, the day following the election, Navalny publicly denounced the tally, saying, "We do not recognise the results. They are fake". Sobyanin's office rejected an offer of a vote recount.[97] On 12 September, Navalny addressed the Moscow City Court to overturn the result of the poll; the court rejected the assertion. Navalny then challenged the decision in the Supreme Court of Russia, but the court ruled that the election results were legitimate.[98]

RPR-PARNAS and democratic coalition

Following the mayoral election, Navalny was offered a position as the fourth co-chairman of RPR-PARNAS.[99] On 14 November 2014, the two remaining RPR-PARNAS co-chairmen, Boris Nemtsov and former Prime Minister of Russia Mikhail Kasyanov, declared it was the right moment to create a wide coalition of political forces, who favour the "European choice"; Navalny's Progress Party was seen as one of the potential participants.[100] However, on 27 February 2015, Nemtsov was shot dead. Prior to his assassination, Nemtsov worked on a project of a coalition, in which Navalny and Khodorkovsky would become co-chairmen of RPR-PARNAS. Navalny declared merging parties would invoke bureaucratic difficulties and question the legitimacy of party's right to participate in federal elections without signatures collecting.[101] However, Nemtsov's murder accelerated the work, and on 17 April, Navalny declared a wide discussion had taken place among Progress Party, RPR-PARNAS, and other closely aligned parties, which resulted in an agreement of formation of a new electoral bloc between the two leaders.[61] Soon thereafter, it was signed by four other parties and supported by Khodorkovsky's Open Russia foundation.[102] Electoral blocs are not present within the current[when?] law system of Russia, so it would be realised via means of a single party, RPR-PARNAS, which is not only eligible for participation in statewide elections, but is also currently[when?] not required to collect citizens' signatures for the right to participate in the State Duma elections scheduled for September 2016, due to the regional parliament mandate previously taken by Nemtsov. The candidates RPR-PARNAS would appoint were to be chosen via primary elections.[103]

On 5 July 2015, Kasyanov was elected as the only leader of RPR-PARNAS, and the party was renamed to just PARNAS. He added he would like to eventually re-establish the institution of co-chairmanship, adding, "Neither Alexei Navalny nor Mikhail Khodorkovsky will enter our party today and be elected as co-chairmen. But in the future, I think, such time will come".[104] On 7 July, in an interview released by TV Rain, he specified Navalny could not leave a party of his, and this would need to be completed by PARNAS adsorbing members of the Progress Party and other parties of the coalition, and Navalny would be to come at some point when he "grows into this and feels this could be done" and join the party as well.[105]

Protesters marching along Moscow's Tverskaya Street, 26 March 2017

The coalition claimed to have collected enough citizens' signatures for registration in the four regions it originally aimed for. However, in one region, the coalition would declare some signatures and personal data have been altered by malevolent collectors;[106] signatures in the other regions have been rejected by regional election commissions.[107][108][109] In Novosibirsk Oblast, some election office staff went on a hunger strike, which was abandoned almost two weeks since its inception, when Khodorkovsky, Navalny, and Kasyanov publicly advised to do so.[110] Сomplaints have been issued to the Central Election Commission of Russia, after which the coalition has been registered as a participant in a regional election in one of the three contested regions, Kostroma Oblast. According to a source of Gazeta.ru "close to the Kremlin", the presidential administration saw coalition's chances as very low, yet was wary, but the restoration in one region occurred so PARNAS could "score a consolation goal".[111] According to the official election results, the coalition scored 2% of votes, not enough to overcome the 5% threshold; the party admitted the election was lost.[112]

2018 presidential election

Navalny announced his entry into the presidential race on 13 December 2016,[113][114] however on 8 February 2017, the Leninsky district court of Kirov repeated its sentence of 2013 (after the case has been sent to a new trial with a different judge by the Supreme Court which annulled the initial sentence after the decision of ECHR, which ruled that Russia had violated Navalny's right to a fair trial, in the Kirovles case) and charged him with a five-year suspended sentence.[115] This sentence, if it came into force and remained valid, might prohibit the future official registration of Navalny as a candidate. Navalny announced that he would pursue the annulment of the sentence that clearly contradicts the decision of ECHR. Moreover, Navalny announced that his presidential campaign would proceed independently of court decisions. He referred to the Russian Constitution (Article 32), which deprives only two groups of citizens of the right to be elected: those recognised by the court as legally unfit and those kept in places of confinement by a court sentence. According to Freedom House and The Economist, Navalny was the most viable contender to Vladimir Putin in the 2018 election.[116][117] Navalny organised a series of anti-corruption rallies in different cities across Russia in March. This appeal was responded to by the representatives of 95 Russian cities, and four cities abroad: London, Prague, Basel and Bonn.[118]

Navalny's campaign rally in Yekaterinburg, 16 September 2017

Navalny was attacked by unknown assailants outside his office in the Anti-Corruption Foundation on 27 April 2017. They sprayed brilliant green dye, possibly mixed with other components, into his face in a Zelyonka attack that can damage eyes of the victim. He had been attacked before, earlier in the spring. In the second attack, the green-colored disinfectant had evidently been mixed with a caustic chemical, resulting in a chemical burn to his right eye.[119] He reportedly lost 80 percent of the sight in his right eye.[120][121] Navalny accused the Kremlin of orchestrating the attack.[122][123]

Navalny was released from jail on 27 July 2017 after spending 25 days of imprisonment. Before that, he was arrested in Moscow for participating in protests and was sentenced to 30 days in jail for organising illegal protests.[124]

In September 2017, Human Rights Watch accused Russian police of systematic interference with Navalny's presidential campaign. "The pattern of harassment and intimidation against Navalny's campaign is undeniable," said Hugh Williamson, Europe, and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "Russian authorities should let Navalny's campaigners work without undue interference and properly investigate attacks against them by ultra-nationalists and pro-government groups."[125] On 21 September, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe invited Russian authorities, in connection with the Kirovles case, "to use urgently further avenues to erase the prohibition on Mr. Navalny's standing for election".[126]

Navalny was sentenced to 20 days in jail on 2 October 2017 for calls to participate in protests without approval from state authorities.[127]

Roman Rubanov, Navalny and Ivan Zhdanov at a meeting of the Central Election Commission in December 2017

In December 2017, Russia's Central Electoral Commission barred Navalny from running for president in 2018, citing Navalny's corruption conviction. The European Union said Navalny's removal cast "serious doubt" on the election. Navalny called for a boycott of the 2018 presidential election, stating his removal meant that millions of Russians were being denied their vote.[128] Navalny filed an appeal against the Russian Supreme Court's ruling on 3 January,[129] however a few days later on 6 January, the Supreme Court of Russia rejected his appeal.[130]

Navalny led protests on 28 January 2018 to urge a boycott of Russia's 2018 presidential election. Navalny was arrested on the day of the protest and then released the same day, pending trial. OVD-Info reported that 257 people were arrested throughout the country. According to Russian news reports, police stated Navalny was likely to be charged with calling for unauthorised demonstrations.[131] Two of Navalny's associates were given brief jail terms for urging people to attend unsanctioned opposition rallies. Navalny stated on 5 February 2018 the government was accusing Navalny of assaulting an officer during the protests.[132] Navalny was among 1600 people detained during 5 May protests prior to Putin's inauguration; Navalny was charged with disobeying police.[133] On 15 May, he was sentenced to 30 days in jail.[134] Immediately after his release on 25 September 2018, he was arrested and convicted for organising illegal demonstrations and sentenced to another 20 days in jail.[135]

2019 Moscow City Duma elections

Rally for right to vote in Moscow (10 August 2019)

During the 2019 Moscow City Duma election Navalny supported independent candidates, most of whom were not allowed to participate in the elections, which led to mass street protests. In July 2019, Navalny was arrested, first for ten days, and then, almost immediately, for 30 days. On the evening of 28 July, he was hospitalised with severe damage to his eyes and skin. At the hospital, he was diagnosed with an "allergy," although this diagnosis was disputed by Anastasia Vasilieva, an ophthalmologist who previously treated Navalny after a chemical attack by an alleged protester in 2017.[136] Vasilieva questioned the diagnosis and suggested the possibility that Navalny's condition was the result of "the damaging effects of undetermined chemicals".[137] On 29 July 2019, Navalny was discharged from hospital and taken back to prison, despite the objections of his personal physician who questioned the hospital's motives.[136][138] Supporters of Navalny and journalists near the hospital were attacked by the police and many were detained.[137] In response, he initiated the Smart Voting project.[139]

2020 constitutional referendum

Navalny campaigned against the vote on constitutional amendments that took place on 1 July, calling it a "coup" and a "violation of the constitution".[140] He also said that the changes would allow President Putin to become "president for life".[141][142] After the results were announced, he called them a "big lie" that did not reflect public opinion.[143] The reforms include an amendment allowing Putin to serve another two terms in office (until 2036), after his fourth presidential term ends.[140]

Anti-corruption investigations

In 2008, Navalny invested 300,000 rubles in stocks of five oil and gas companies: RosneftGazpromGazprom NeftLukoil, and Surgutneftegas, thus becoming an activist shareholder.[28] As such, he began to aim at making the financial assets of these companies transparent. This is required by law, but there are allegations that high-level managers of these companies are involved in theft and resisting transparency.[144]

In November 2010, Navalny published[145] confidential documents about Transneft's auditing. According to Navalny's blog, about US$4 billion were stolen by Transneft's leaders during the construction of the Eastern Siberia–Pacific Ocean oil pipeline.[146][147] In December, Navalny announced the launch of the RosPil [ru] project, which seeks to bring to light corrupt practices in the government procurement process.[148] 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 "распил" (literally "sawing"),[149] implying the embezzlement of state funds.[150]

In May 2011, Navalny launched RosYama (literally "Russian Hole"), a project that allowed individuals to report potholes and track government responses to complaints.[151] In August, Navalny published papers related to a scandalous real estate deal[152] between the Hungarian and Russian governments.[153][154] According to the papers, Hungary sold a former embassy building in Moscow for US$21 million to an offshore company of Viktor Vekselberg, who immediately resold it to the Russian government for US$116 million. The property's real value was estimated at US$52 million. Irregularities in the paper trail implied collusion. Three Hungarian officials responsible for the deal were detained in February 2011.[155]

Navalny was founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK).[156]

In February 2012, Navalny concluded that Russian federal money going to Ramzan Kadyrov's Chechen Interior Ministry was being spent "in a totally shadowy and fraudulent way."[157] In May, Navalny accused Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov of corruption, stating that companies owned by Roman Abramovich and Alisher Usmanov had transferred tens of millions of dollars to Shuvalov's company, allowing Shuvalov to share in the profit from Usmanov's purchase of the British steel company Corus. Navalny posted scans of documents to his blog showing the money transfers.[158] Usmanov and Shuvalov stated the documents Navalny had posted were legitimate, but that the transaction had not violated Russian law. "I unswervingly followed the rules and principles of conflict of interest," said Shuvalov. "For a lawyer, this is sacred".[159] In July, Navalny posted documents on his blog allegedly showing that Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Investigative Committee of Russia, owned an undeclared business in the Czech Republic. The posting was described by the Financial Times as Navalny's "answering shot" for having had his emails leaked during his arrest in the previous month.[42]

The Levada Center survey showed that 58% of surveyed Russians supported the 2017 Russian protests against government corruption.[160]

In August 2018, Navalny alleged that Viktor Zolotov stole at least US$29 million from procurement contracts for the National Guard of Russia. Shortly after his allegations against Zolotov, Navalny was imprisoned for staging protests in January 2018. Subsequently, Viktor Zolotov published a video message on 11 September challenging Navalny to a duel and promising to make "good, juicy mincemeat" of him.[161][162]

Medvedev

In March 2017, Navalny published the investigation He Is Not Dimon to You, accusing Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of corruption. The authorities either ignored the accusation or argued that it was made by a "convicted criminal" and not worth comment. On 26 March, Navalny organised a series of anti-corruption rallies in cities across Russia. In some cities, the rallies were sanctioned by authorities, but in others, including Moscow and Saint Petersburg, they were not allowed. The Moscow police said that 500 people had been detained, but according to the human-rights group OVD-Info, 1,030 people were detained in Moscow alone, including Navalny himself.[163][164] On 27 March, he was fined 20,000 rubles minimum for organising an illegal protest, and jailed for 15 days for resisting arrest.[165]

Putin

Navalny and his team organised around 90 "He's Not Our Tsar" protests across Russia in May 2018.[166]

On 19 January 2021, two days after he was detained by Russian authorities upon his return to Russia, an investigation by Navalny and the FBK was published accusing President Vladimir Putin of using fraudulently obtained funds to build a massive estate for himself near the town of Gelendzhik in Krasnodar Krai, in what he called "the world's biggest bribe". The estate was first reported on in 2010 after the businessman Sergei Kolesnikov, who was involved in the project, gave details about it. According to Navalny, the estate is 39 times the size of Monaco, with the Federal Security Service (FSB) owning 70 square kilometers of land around the palace, and the estate cost over 100 billion rubles ($1.35 billion) to construct.[167] It also showed aerial footage of the estate via a drone, and a detailed floorplan of the palace that Navalny and the FBK said was given by a contractor, which was compared to photographs from inside the palace that were leaked onto the Internet in 2011. Using the floorplan, computer-generated visualisations of the palace interior were also shown.[6]

There are impregnable fences, its own port, its own security, a church, its own permit system, a no-fly zone, and even its own border checkpoint. It is absolutely a separate state within Russia.[6]

— Alexei Anatolievich Navalny

This investigation also detailed an elaborate corruption scheme allegedly involving Putin's inner circle that allowed Putin to hide billions of dollars to build the estate. Navalny's team also said that it managed to confirm reporting about Putin's alleged lovers Svetlana Krivonogikh and Alina Kabaeva.[6][168][169][170] Navalny's video on YouTube garnered over 20 million views in less than a day, and over 92 million after a week. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in a press conference called the investigation a "scam" and said that citizens should "think before transferring money to such crooks".[171]

Putin denied ownership of the palace and the oligarch Arkady Rotenberg, Putin's childhood friend and judo partner, claimed ownership.[172][173]

Criminal cases

Kirovles case

Case

Navalny in court as part of the Kirovles trial, 2013

On 30 July 2012, the Investigative Committee charged Navalny with embezzlement. The committee stated that he had conspired to steal timber from Kirovles, a state-owned company in Kirov Oblast, in 2009, while acting as an adviser to Kirov's governor Nikita Belykh.[159][174] Investigators had closed a previous probe into the claims for lack of evidence.[175] Navalny was released on his own recognisance but instructed not to leave Moscow.[176]

Navalny described the charges as "weird" and unfounded.[177] He stated that authorities "are doing it to watch the reaction of the protest movement and of Western public opinion ... So far they consider both of these things acceptable and so they are continuing along this line".[159] His supporters protested before the Investigative Committee offices.[174]

In April 2013, Loeb & Loeb LLP[h] issued "An Analysis of the Russian Federation's prosecutions of Alexei Navalny", a paper detailing Investigative Committee accusations. The paper concludes that "the Kremlin has reverted to misuse of the Russian legal system to harass, isolate and attempt to silence political opponents".[178][179]

Conviction and release

The Kirovles trial commenced in the city of Kirov on 17 April 2013.[180] On 18 July, Navalny was sentenced to five years in jail for embezzlement.[181] He was found guilty of misappropriating about 16 million rubles'[182] ($500,000) worth of lumber from a state-owned company.[183] The sentence read by the judge Sergey Blinov was textually the same as the request of the prosecutor, with the only exception that Navalny was given five years, and the prosecution requested six years.[184]

"Enough of fake cases". The protest against the verdict in Moscow, 18 July 2013

Later that evening, the Prosecutor's Office appealed Navalny and Ofitserov jail sentences, arguing that until the higher court affirmed the sentence, the sentence was invalid. The next morning, the appeal was granted. Navalny and Ofitserov were released on 19 July, awaiting the hearings of the higher court.[185] The prosecutor's requested decision was described as "unprecedented" by experts.[who?][186]

Probation

The prison sentence was suspended by a court in Kirov on 16 October 2013, still being a burden for his political future.[187]

Review of the sentence

On 23 February 2016, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russia had violated Navalny's right to a fair trial, and ordered the government to pay him 56,000 euros in legal costs and damages.[188]

On 16 November 2016, Russia's Supreme Court overturned the 2013 sentence, sending the verdict back to the Leninsky District Court in Kirov for review.[189]

On 8 February 2017, the Leninsky district court of Kirov repeated its sentence of 2013 and charged Navalny with a five-year suspended sentence.[115] Navalny announced that he will pursue the annulment of the sentence that clearly contradicts the decision of ECHR.[190][191]

Yves Rocher case and house arrest

Case

In 2008, Oleg Navalny made an offer to Yves Rocher Vostok, the Eastern European subsidiary of Yves Rocher between 2008 and 2012, to accredit Glavpodpiska, which was created by Navalny, with delivering duties. On 5 August, the parties signed a contract. To fulfill the obligations under the agreement, Glavpodpiska outsourced the task to sub-suppliers, AvtoSAGA and Multiprofile Processing Company (MPC). In November and December 2012, the Investigating Committee interrogated and questioned Yves Rocher Vostok. On 10 December, Bruno Leproux, general director of Yves Rocher Vostok, filed to the Investigative Committee, asking to investigate if the Glavpodpiska subscription company had damaged Yves Rocher Vostok, and the Investigative Committee initiated a case.[192]

The prosecution claimed Glavpodpiska embezzled money by taking duties and then redistributing them to other companies for lesser amounts of money, and collecting the surplus: 26.7 million rubles ($540,000) from Yves Rocher Vostok, and 4.4 million rubles from the MPC. The funds were claimed to be subsequently legalised by transferring them on fictitious grounds from a fly-by-night company to Kobyakovskaya Fabrika Po Lozopleteniyu, a willow weaving company founded by Navalny and operated by his parents.[193][194][195] The Navalnys denied the charges. The Navalny brothers' lawyers claimed the investigators "added phrases like 'bearing criminal intentions' to a description of regular entrepreneurial activity". According to Oleg Navalny's lawyer, Glavpodpiska did not just collect money, it controlled provision of means of transport, execution of orders, collected and expedited production to the carriers, and was responsible before clients for terms and quality of executing orders.[192]

None of the witnesses confirmed that there were any losses, except MPC CEO Sergei Shustov who said he had learned about his losses from an investigator and believed him without making audits. Both brothers and their lawyers claimed Alexei Navalny did not participate in the Glavpodpiska operations, and witnesses all stated they had never encountered Alexei Navalny in person before the trial.[192]

House arrest and limitations

Following the imputed violation of travel restrictions, Navalny was placed under house arrest and prohibited from communicating with anyone other than his family, lawyers, and investigators on 28 February 2014.[196][197] Navalny claimed the arrest was politically motivated, and he filed a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights. On 7 July, he declared the complaint had been accepted and given priority; the court compelled the Government of Russia to provide answers to a questionnaire.[198]

The house arrest, in particular, prohibited usage of the internet; however, new posts were released under his social media accounts after the arrest was announced. A 5 March post claimed the accounts were controlled by his Anti-Corruption Foundation teammates and his wife Yulia. On 13 March, his LiveJournal blog was blocked in Russia, because, according to the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor), "functioning of the given web page breaks the regulation of the juridical decision of the bail hearing of a citizen against whom a criminal case has been initiated".[199]

The house arrest was eased a number of times: On 21 August, Navalny was allowed to communicate with his co-defendants;[200] a journalist present in the courthouse at the moment confirmed Navalny was allowed to communicate with "anyone but the Yves Rocher case witnesses".[201] On 10 October, his right to communicate with the press was confirmed by another court, and he was allowed to make comments on the case in media (Navalny's plea not to prolong the arrest was, however, rejected).[202] On 19 December, he was allowed to mail correspondence to authorities and international courts. Navalny again pleaded not to prolong the arrest, but the plea was rejected again.[203]

Conviction

The verdict was announced on 30 December 2014. Both brothers were found guilty of fraud against Multiprofile Processing Company (MPC) and Yves Rocher Vostok and money laundering, and were convicted under Articles 159.4 §§ 2 and 3 and 174.1 § 2 (a) and (b) of the Criminal Code.[204] Alexei Navalny was given 312 years of suspended sentence, and Oleg Navalny was sentenced to 312 years in prison and was arrested after the verdict was announced;[205] both had to pay a fine of 500,000 rubles and a compensation to the MPC of over 4 million rubles.[206] In the evening, several thousand protesters gathered in the center of Moscow. Navalny broke his house arrest to attend the rally and was immediately apprehended by the police and brought back home.[207]

Both brothers filed complaints to the European Court of Human Rights: Oleg's was communicated and given priority; Alexei's was reviewed in the context of the previous complaint related to this case and the Government of Russia had been "invited to submit further observations".[208] The second instance within the country confirmed the verdict, only releasing Alexei from the responsibility to pay his fine. Both prosecutors and defendants were not satisfied with this decision.[206]

ECHR

On 17 October 2017, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Navalny's conviction for fraud and money laundering "was based on an unforeseeable application of criminal law and that the proceedings were arbitrary and unfair." The Court found that the domestic court's decisions had been arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable. ECHR found the Russian courts' decisions violated articles 6 and 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights.[209][210] On 15 November 2018, the Grand Chamber upheld the decision.[211]

Indemnification

After the Yves Rocher case, Navalny had to pay a compensation of 4.4 million rubles. He declared the case was "a frame up", but he added he would pay the sum as this could affect granting his brother's parole.[212] On 7 October 2015, Alexei's lawyer announced the defendant willingly paid 2.9 million and requested an installment plan for the rest of the sum.[213] The request was granted, except the term was contracted from the requested five months to two,[214] and a part of the sum declared paid (900,000 rubles; arrested from Navalny's banking account) was not yet received by the police; the prosecutors declared that may happen because of inter-process delays.[215]

Later that month, Kirovles sued Navalny for the 16.1 million rubles' declared pecuniary injury; Navalny declared he had not expected the suit, as Kirovles did not initiate it during the 2012–2013 trial. On 23 October, a court resolved the said sum should be paid by the three defendants.[216] The court denied the defendants' motion 14.7 million had already been paid by that point; the verdict and the payment sum were justified by a ruling by a Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation.[217] Navalny declared he could not cover the requested sum; he called the suit a "drain-dry strategy" by authorities.[216]

Other cases

In late December 2012, the Investigative Committee of Russia asserted that Allekt, an advertising company headed by Navalny, defrauded the Union of Right Forces (SPS) political party in 2007 by taking 100 million rubles ($3.2 million) payment for advertising and failing to honor its contract. If charged and convicted, Navalny could be jailed for up to 10 years. Leonid Gozman, a former SPS official, was quoted as saying: "Nothing of the sort happened—he committed no robbery". Earlier in December, as reported by the BBC, "the Investigative Committee charged ... Navalny and his brother Oleg with embezzling 55 million rubles ($1.76 million) in 2008–2011 while working in a postal business." Navalny, who denied the allegations in the two previous cases, sought to laugh off news of the third inquiry with a tweet stating "Fiddlesticks".[218] In April 2020, Yandex search engine started artificially placing negative commentary about Navalny on the top positions in its search results for his name.[219] Yandex declared this was part of an "experiment" and returned to presenting organic search results.[220][221][222]

Navalny alleged that Russian billionaire and businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin was linked to a company called Moskovsky Shkolnik (Moscow schoolboy) that had supplied poor quality food to schools which had caused a dysentery outbreak.[223][224] In April 2019, Moskovsky Shkolnik filed a lawsuit against Navalny. In October 2019, the Moscow Arbitration Court ordered Navalny to pay 29.2 million rubles. Navalny said that "Cases of dysentery were proven using documents. But it's us that has to pay."[225] By April 2019, Navalny had won six complaints against Russian authorities in the ECHR for a total of €225,000.[226] Prigozhin was quoted by the press service of his catering company Concord Management and Consulting on 25 August 2020 as saying that he intended to enforce a court decision that required Navalny, his associate Lyubov Sobol and his Anti-Corruption Foundation to pay 88 million rubles in damages to the Moskovsky Shkolnik company over a video investigation.[227]

Poisoning and recovery

On 20 August 2020, Navalny fell ill during a flight from Tomsk to Moscow and was hospitalised in the Emergency City Clinical Hospital No. 1 in Omsk (Городская клиническая больница скорой медицинской помощи №1), where the plane had made an emergency landing. The change in his condition on the plane was sudden and violent, and video footage showed crewmembers on the flight scurrying towards him as he screamed loudly.[228] Later, he said that he was not screaming from pain, but from the knowledge that he was dying.[229]

Navalny's spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, later said that he was in a coma and on a ventilator in the Omsk hospital. She also said that since he arose that morning, Navalny had consumed nothing but a cup of tea, acquired at the airport. It was initially suspected that something was mixed into his drink, and physicians stated that a "toxin mixed into a hot drink would be rapidly absorbed". The hospital said that he was in a stable but serious condition. Although staff initially acknowledged that Navalny had probably been poisoned, after numerous police personnel appeared outside Navalny's room, the medical staff was less forthcoming. The Omsk hospital's deputy chief physician later told reporters that poisoning was "one scenario among many" being considered.[228]

A plane was sent from Germany to evacuate Navalny from Russia for treatment at the Charité Hospital in Berlin. Although the doctors treating him in Omsk initially declared he was too sick to be transported,[230] they later released him.[231][232] On 24 August, the doctors in Germany made an announcement, confirming that Navalny had been poisoned with a cholinesterase inhibitor.[233]

Ivan Zhdanov, chief of Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation, said that Navalny could have been poisoned because of one of the foundation's investigations.[223] On 2 September, the German government announced that Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent, from the same family of nerve agents that was used to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter. International officials said that they had obtained "unequivocal proof" from toxicology tests, and have called on the Russian government for an explanation.[234][235][236] On 7 September, German doctors announced that he was out of the coma.[237] On 15 September, Navalny's spokeswoman said that Navalny would return to Russia.[238]

On 17 September, Navalny's team said that traces of the nerve agent used to poison Navalny was detected on an empty water bottle from his hotel room in Tomsk, suggesting that he was possibly poisoned before leaving the hotel.[239] On 23 September, Navalny was discharged from hospital after his condition had sufficiently improved.[240] On 6 October, OPCW confirmed presence of cholinesterase inhibitor from the Novichok group in Navalny's blood and urine samples.[241][242][243]

On 14 December, a joint investigation by The Insider and Bellingcat in co-operation with CNN and Der Spiegel was published, which implicated agents from Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) in Navalny's poisoning.[244][245][246] The investigation detailed a special unit of the FSB, which specialises in chemical substances, and the investigators then tracked members of the unit, using telecom and travel data. According to the investigation, Navalny was under surveillance by a group of operatives from the unit for 3 years and there may have been earlier attempts to poison Navalny.[247][248][249][250] In an interview with Spanish newspaper El País, Navalny said that "It is difficult for me to understand exactly what is going on in [Putin's] mind. ... 20 years of power would spoil anyone and make them crazy. He thinks he can do whatever he wants."[251]

On 21 December 2020, Navalny released a video showing him impersonating a Russian security official and speaking over the phone with a man identified by some investigative news media as a chemical weapons expert named Konstantin Kudryavtsev. During the call, he revealed that the poison had been placed on Navalny's clothing, particularly in his underwear, and that Navalny would have died if not for the plane's emergency landing and quick response from an ambulance crew on the runway.[252]

In January 2021, BellingcatThe Insider and Der Spiegel linked the unit that tracked Navalny to other deaths, including activists Timur Kuashev in 2014 and Ruslan Magomedragimov in 2015, and politician Nikita Isayev in 2019.[253] In February, another joint investigation found that Russian opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza was followed by the same unit before his suspected poisonings.[254]

The European Union, United Kingdom and United States responded to the poisoning by imposing sanctions on senior Russian officials.[255][256][257][258]

Imprisonment

Yves Rocher case

Map










Approximate aircraft route of flight DP936 taken by Alexei Navalny, on 17 January 2021, showing its deviation

On 17 January 2021, Navalny returned to Russia by plane from Germany, arriving at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow after the flight was diverted from Vnukovo Airport. At passport control, he was detained. The Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) confirmed his detention and said that he would remain in custody until the court hearing.[259] Prior to his return, the FSIN had said that Navalny might face jail time upon his arrival in Moscow for violating the terms of his probation by leaving Russia, saying it would be "obliged" to detain him once he returned;[260] in 2014, Navalny received a suspended sentence in the Yves Rocher case, which he called politically motivated and in 2017, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Navalny was unfairly convicted.[261][262] Amnesty International declared Navalny to be a prisoner of conscience and called on the Russian authorities to release him.[263]

A court decision on 18 January 2021 ordered the detention of Navalny until 15 February for violating his parole.[264][265][260] A makeshift court was set up in the police station where Navalny was being held. Another hearing would later be held to determine whether his suspended sentence should be replaced with a jail term.[266] Navalny described the procedure as "ultimate lawlessness" and called on his supporters to take to the streets.[267] The next day, while in jail, an investigation by Navalny and the FBK was published accusing President Vladimir Putin of corruption.[268] The investigation and his arrest led to mass protests across Russia beginning on 23 January 2021.[269][270]

Protest in support of Navalny in St. Petersburg, 23 January 2021

A Moscow court on 2 February 2021 replaced Navalny's three and a half-year suspended sentence with a prison sentence, minus the amount of time he spent under house arrest, meaning he would spend over 2+12 years in a corrective labour colony.[271][272][273][274][275][excessive citations] The verdict was condemned by the governments of the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and others as well as the EU.[273][276][277][278][279][280][excessive citations] Immediately after the verdict was announced, protests in a number of Russian cities were held and met with a harsh police crackdown.[281] Navalny later returned to court for a trial on slander charges, where he was accused of defaming a World War II veteran who took part in a promotional video backing the constitutional amendments last year. The case was launched in June 2020 after Navalny called those who took part in the video "corrupt lackeys" and "traitors". Navalny called the case politically motivated and accused authorities of using the case to smear his reputation. Although the charge is punishable by up to two years in prison if proven, his lawyer said that Navalny cannot face a custodial sentence because the law was changed to make it a jailable offence after the alleged crime had taken place.[282][283]

The European Court of Human Rights ruled on 16 February 2021 that the Russian government should release Navalny immediately, with the court saying that the resolution was made in "regard to the nature and extent of risk to the applicant's life". Navalny's lawyers had applied to the court for an "interim measure" for his release on 20 January 2021 after his detention. However Russian officials indicated that they would not comply with the decision. Justice Minister Konstantin Chuychenko called the measure a "flagrant intervention in the operation of a judicial system of a sovereign state" as well as "unreasonable and unlawful", claiming that it did not "contain any reference to any fact or any norm of the law, which would have allowed the court to take this decision". In December 2020, a series of laws were also passed and signed that gave the constitution precedence over rulings made by international bodies as well international treaties.[284][285][286][287] A few days later, a Moscow court rejected Navalny's appeal and upheld his prison sentence, however it reduced his sentence by six weeks after deciding to count his time under house arrest as part of his time served. Another court convicted Navalny on slander charges against the World War II veteran, fining him 850,000 rubles ($11,500).[288]

Protest in support of Navalny in Moscow, 21 April 2021

A resolution by the ECHR called for his release.[289]

Navalny was reported on 28 February 2021 to have recently arrived at the Pokrov correctional colony in Vladimir Oblast, a prison where Dmitry Demushkin and Konstantin Kotov were also jailed.[290][291][292] In early March 2021, the European Union and United States imposed sanctions on senior Russian officials in response to Navalny's poisoning and imprisonment.[258]

In March 2021, Navalny in a formal complaint accused authorities of torture by depriving him of sleep, where authorities consider him a flight risk. Navalny told lawyers that guards wake him up eight times a night announcing to a camera that he was in his prison cell. A lawyer of Navalny said that he was suffering from health problems, including a loss of sensation in his spine and legs, and that prison authorities denied Navalny's requests for a civilian physician, claiming his health was "satisfactory".[293][294] On 31 March 2021, Navalny announced a hunger strike to demand proper medical treatment.[295] On 6 April 2021, six doctors, including Navalny's personal physician, Anastasia Vasilyeva, and two CNN correspondents, were arrested outside the prison when they attempted to visit Navalny whose health significantly deteriorated.[296][297] On 7 April 2021, Navalny's attorneys claimed he had suffered two spinal disc herniations and had lost feeling in his hands, prompting criticism from the U.S. government.[298][299] Agnès Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International accused Vladimir Putin of slowly killing Alexei Navalny through torture and inhumane treatment in prison.[300][301] He also complained that he was not allowed to read newspapers or have any books including a copy of the Quran that he planned to study.[302]

On 17 April 2021, it was reported that Navalny was in immediate need of medical attention. Navalny's personal doctor Anastasia Vasilyeva and three other doctors, including cardiologist Yaroslav Ashikhmin, asked prison officials to grant them immediate access, stating on social media that "our patient can die any minute", due to an increased risk of a fatal cardiac arrest or kidney failure "at any moment".[303][304] Test results obtained by Navalny's lawyers showed heightened levels of potassium in the blood, which can bring on cardiac arrest, and sharply elevated creatinine levels, indicating impaired kidneys. Navalny's results showed blood potassium levels of 7.1 mmol (millimoles) per liter; blood potassium levels higher than 6.0 mmol per liter usually require immediate treatment.[305][306] Later that night, an open letter, addressed to Putin and open for Russian citizens to sign, was signed and published by 11 politicians representing several regional parliaments, demanding an independent doctor be allowed to visit Navalny, and for a review and cancellation of all of his criminal cases. "We regard what is happening in relation to Navalny as an attempt on the life of a politician, committed out of personal and political hatred," said the letter, "You, the President of the Russian Federation, personally bear responsibility for the life of Alexey Navalny on the territory of the Russian Federation, including in prison facilities – [you bear this responsibility] to Navalny himself, to his relatives, and to the whole world."[307] Among the signatories were chairman of the Pskov Oblast branch of the Yabloko party, the deputy of the regional assembly Lev Schlossberg, the deputy from Karelia, the ex-chairman of Yabloko Emilia Slabunova, and the deputy of the Moscow City Duma Yevgeny Stupin.[308]

The following day, his daughter called on Russian prison authorities to let her father be checked by doctors in a tweet[309] written from Stanford University, where she is a student. Prominent celebrities such as J.K. Rowling and Jude Law also addressed a letter[310] to Russian authorities asking to provide Navalny with proper medical treatment.[311][312] U.S. president Joe Biden called his treatment "totally unfair" and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that the Kremlin had been warned "that there will be consequences if Mr. Navalny dies."[313] The European Union's head diplomat Josep Borrell stated that the organisation held the Russian government accountable for Navalny's health conditions. The president of the European CommissionUrsula von der Leyen, also expressed her concern for his health.[314] However, Russian authorities rebuked such concerns by foreign countries. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that Russian prison officials are monitoring Navalny's health, not the president.[315]

On 19 April 2021, Navalny was moved from prison to a hospital for convicts, according to the Russian prison service,[316][314] for "vitamin therapy".[315] On 23 April 2021, Navalny announced that he was ending his hunger strike on advice of his doctors and as he felt his demands had been partially met.[317][318] As of June 2021, his newspapers were still being censored as articles were cut out.[319]

Designation as extremist

On 16 April 2021, the Moscow prosecutor office requested the Moscow City Court to designate organisations linked to Navalny including the FBK and his headquarters as extremist organisations, claiming: "Under the disguise of liberal slogans, these organisations are engaged in creating conditions for the destabilisation of the social and socio-political situation."[320] In response, Navalny aide Leonid Volkov stated: "Putin has just announced full-scale mass political repression in Russia."[321]

On 26 April 2021, Moscow's prosecutor office ordered Navalny's network of regional offices, including those of the FBK, to cease its activities, pending a court ruling on whether to designate them as extremist organisations. Volkov explained that it will limit many of the group's activities as prosecutors seek to label the Foundation as "extremists".[322][323] The move was condemned by Germany as well as Amnesty International, which, in a statement, said: "The objective is clear: to raze Alexei Navalny's movement to the ground while he languishes in prison."[324] On 29 April 2021, Navalny's team announced that the political network would be dissolved, in advance of a court ruling in May expected to designate it as extremist.[325] According to Volkov, the headquarters would be transformed into independent political organisations "which will deal with investigations and elections, public campaigns and rallies".[326] On the same day, his allies said that a new criminal case had been opened against Navalny, for allegedly setting up a non-profit organisation that infringed on the rights of citizens.[327] The next day, the leader of Team 29Ivan Pavlov, who also represents Navalny's team in the extremism case, was detained in Moscow.[328] On 30 April, the financial monitoring agency added Navalny's regional campaign offices to a list of "terrorists and extremists."[329] On 20 May, the head of the Russian prison system and Navalny's ally Ivan Zhdanov reported that Navalny had "more or less" recovered and that his health was generally satisfactory.[330] On 7 June, Navalny was returned to prison after fully recovering from the effects of the hunger strike.[331]

On 9 June 2021, Navalny's political network, including his headquarters and the FBK, were designated as extremist organisations and liquidated by the Moscow City Court.[332][333] Vyacheslav Polyga, judge of Moscow City Court, upheld the administrative claim of the prosecutor of Moscow city Denis Popov and, rejecting all the petitions of the defense, decided[334] to recognise Anti-Corruption Foundation as extremist organisation, to liquidate it and to confiscate its assets; similar decision had been taken against Citizens' Rights Protection Foundation; the activity of the Alexei Navalny staff was prohibited (case No.3а-1573/2021).[335] Case hearing was held in camera because, as indicated by advocate Ilia Novikov, the case file including the text of the administrative claim was classified as state secret.[336] According to advocate Ivan Pavlov, Navalny was not the party to the proceedings and the judge refused to give him such status; at the hearing, the prosecutor stated that defendants are extremist organisations because they want the change of power in Russia and they promised to help participants of the protest with payment of administrative and criminal fines and with making a complaints to the European Court of Human Rights.[337] On 4 August 2021, First Appellate Ordinary Court in Moscow upheld the decision of the court of first instance (case No.66а-3553/2021) and this decision entered into force that day.[338] On 28 December 2021, it was reported that Anti-Corruption Foundation, Citizens' Rights Protection Foundation and 18 natural persons including Alexei Navalny filed a cassation appeals to the Second Cassation Ordinary Court.[339] On 25 March 2022, the Second Cassation Ordinary Court rejected all cassation appeals and upheld the judgements of lower courts (case No.8а-5101/2022).[340]

In October 2021, Navalny said that the Russian prison commission designated him as a "terrorist" and "extremist", but that he was no longer regarded as a flight risk.[341] In January 2022, Russia added him and his aides to the "terrorists and extremists" list.[342][343] On 28 June 2022, Navalny lost his appeal on being designated as "extremist" and "terrorist".[344]

Interior of the replica solitary confinement cell for Navalny, called shizo. Geneva June 2023

Later charges

In February 2022, Alexei Navalny faced an additional 10 to 15 years in prison in a new trial on fraud and contempt of court charges.[345][346] The charges alleged that he stole $4.7m (£3.5m) of donations given to his political organisations and insulted a judge.[347][346] He was tried in a makeshift courtroom in the corrective colony at which he was imprisoned.[348] Amnesty International independently analysed the trial materials calling the charges "arbitrary" and "politically motivated".[349]

On 21 February 2022, prosecution witness Fyodor Gorozhanko refused to testify against Navalny in the trial, stating that investigators had "pressured" him to testify to the information they wanted and that he did not believe Navalny had committed any crimes.[350] On 24 February, during his trial, Navalny condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine that began that day and asked the court to include his statement to the trial's protocol. He said that it would "lead to a huge number of victims, destroyed futures, and the continuation of this line of impoverishment of the citizens of Russia." He called the war a distraction to the population to "divert their attention from problems that exist inside the country".[351]

On 22 March 2022, Navalny was found guilty of contempt of court and embezzlement and given a 9-year sentence in a maximum-security prison; he was also ordered to pay a fine of 1.2 million rubles (approx. $13,000).[352] Amnesty International described the trial as a "sham".[7]

On 17 May 2022, Navalny opened an appeal process against the sentence; the court said the process would resume on 24 May after Navalny requested to postpone the hearing to have a family meeting before being transferred.[353] On 24 May, the Moscow City Court upheld the judgement of the court of first instance.[354]

On 31 May 2022, Navalny said that he was officially notified about new charges of extremism brought against him, in which he was facing up to an additional 15 years in prison.[355]

In mid-June 2022, Navalny was transferred to the maximum security prison IK-6 in MelekhovoVladimir Oblast.[356][357]

On 11 July 2022, Navalny announced the relaunch of his Anti-Corruption Foundation as an international organisation with an advisory board including his wife Yulia NavalnayaGuy VerhofstadtAnne Applebaum, and Francis Fukuyama; Navalny also stated that the first contribution to Anti-Corruption Foundation International would be the Sakharov Prize ($50,000) that was awarded to him.[358]

On 7 September 2022, Navalny said that he had been placed in solitary confinement for the fourth time in just over a month, after just being released. He linked his recent treatment to his attempts to establish a labour union in his penal colony and his "6000" list of individuals he has called to be sanctioned.[359] The next day, he said that his attorney-client privilege was revoked with prison authorities accusing him of continuing to commit crimes from prison.[360]

FreeNavalny rally in Berlin on Navalny's 47th birthday, 4 June 2023. Some protesters have a White-blue-white flag.

On 4 October 2022, allies of Navalny said they were relaunching his regional political network to fight the mobilization and war.[361]

On 17 November 2022, Navalny stated that he was now in permanent solitary confinement. Infractions besides the attempt to start a labour union among the prisoners were that he did not button his collar, did not clean the prison yard well enough, and that he addressed a prison official by his military rank rather than his patronymic.[362]

On 10 January 2023, over 400 doctors in Russia signed an open letter to president Putin demanding that prison authorities "stop abusing" Navalny, after it became known that he fell ill with flu in solitary confinement and his lawyers were not allowed to give him basic medication.[363] Less than a month later, Navalny was transferred to an isolated punishment cell, a stricter form of imprisonment reserved for those who violate prison rules, for the maximum term of six months.[364][365]

On 4 August 2023, Navalny was sentenced to an additional 19 years in a "special regime" colony on charges including publicly inciting extremist activity, financing extremist activity, and "rehabilitating Nazi ideology"; the Moscow City Court found him guilty on all charges in a closed-doors trial.[366] In a social media post published the previous day, Navalny stated that he had expected to be given a "Stalinist" sentence and called on supporters to fight against corruption.[367] According to his lawyers, following this latest sentencing, Navalny would have been released in December 2038.