Russian Blogger Emerging as New Opposition Leader

The recent protests in Russia demonstrate the power of the Internet and new media. Blogger Alexei Navalny has risen to prominence marshaling opposition to Putin’s regime.

In December 2008, his blog had just over 1,500 regular readers. By May 2010, it had over 11,000 and today it has over 60,000. His Twitter account has over 117,000 followers.

The popularity of his blog allowed him to start mobilising internet users to take an active part in his anti-corruption campaigns by means of what he called his “unstoppable mass complaints machine”.

Since February, Mr Navalny has waged a concerted online campaign against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, which he memorably dubbed the “party of crooks and thieves”. He has organised online contests to find the best poster and most popular YouTube song attacking United Russia.

His abilities were on display in the recent protests following the fixed elections in Russia:

The full measure of Mr. Navalny’s charisma became clear after protests on Monday night; an estimated 5,000 people materialized, making it the largest anti-Kremlin demonstration in recent memory, and Mr. Navalny was arrested on charges of resisting the police and sentenced to 15 days in prison

However, there appears to be a darker side to Mr. Navalny:

He espouses Russian nationalist views. He has appeared as a speaker alongside neo-Nazis and skinheads, and once starred in a video that compares dark-skinned Caucasus militants to cockroaches. While cockroaches can be killed with a slipper, he says that in the case of humans, “I recommend a pistol.”

Mr. Navalny, for better or worse, has become the face of the anti-regime elements in Russia. At the very least, Russians are finding a way to voice their discontent with their failing system. Here is some further coverage of Mr. Navalny and the protests in Russia, his blog, and his recent letter written from jail.

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More