Russia: Controversial figurehead | European Journal | DW | 28.08.2013
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European Journal

Russia: Controversial figurehead

Putin critic and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny hopes to become mayor of Moscow, but his chances of beating the incumbent, Sergey Sobyanin, are slim.

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"Change Russia, Start with Moscow" - that's the campaign slogan of the ambitious activist Alexei Navalny. For years, he has exposed corrupt Russian leaders on his internet blog, and he's become the face of the Russian opposition. But now the country's judicial system is pursuing him with all its force. In June, he was sentenced to five years in prison for embezzlement. In a surprise move, he was released in time for the forthcoming election. There is already speculation in Moscow that Navalny is a "Kremlin project," an undercover agent of Putin who is actually working to bring down the opposition.