Alexei Navalny Returns Home To Fight Vladimir Putin. But Will He Succeed?

Source: The Indian Express

On January 17, Alexei Navalny and his wife stride through Moscow airport's terminal with a pile of journalists surrounding them. "I am not afraid. This is the happiest day for the past five months of my life" said Mr. Navalny pointing at a poster of the Kremlin. However, on his return, he was defied by law enforcement officials inside the terminal, who took him away from his wife, lawyers and media, as shown in a video uploaded on YouTube by Mr. Navalny team.

Next day after his arrest at the airport, Mr. Navalny appeared in a trial. In a brief hearing, he was sentenced to 30 days of imprisonment. Kira Yarmysh, a spokeswoman of Mr. Navalny, said the government authorities' efforts to prevent the politicians from meeting with supporters by diverting the plane are irrelevant. On February 2, a Russian court sentenced Alexei Navalny to two and a half years in prison.

On January 19, on the day of Mr. Navalny trial, his team uploaded a two-hour film about Mr. Putin’s finances and a secret palace on the Black Sea coast. The palace features a port, a vineyard, a Church, a casino, an underground and a hockey rink and a hookah lounge. Covering 17,691 square meters, it is said to be the largest private residential building in Russia. Within 24hrs the video reached over 20 million views, and within a week it had 93 million views, making it one of the most famous videos uploaded by an investigative activist.

In the past, Mr. Navalny has targeted his investigation on Mr. Putin's activities. The latest film released by his team to puncture Kremlin reputation in the eyes of the public. While Mr. Putin's system remains repressive towards protesters, the Russian people are not salient anymore. Last week, thousands of people went to the street to support Alexei Navalny, who survived an assassination attempt last year. "I'm tired of being afraid, I haven't just turned up for myself and Navalny, but also for my son, because there is no future in this country under Putin."

As of now, the Kremlin is faced with deception. Sentencing Alexei Navalny for three years would turn him into Nelson Mandela. And to poison him again, Mr. Putin would lose his legacy as a leader of Russia. Alexei Navalny has taken a courageous step to come back and challenge the Kremlin, which has already tried to kill him. However, will he succeed is something to see?

Mr. Navalny may see himself as a revolutionary politician, but the revolution is still missing. Despite his fall in ratings, Mr. Putin still holds preponderance support from Russians, making it challenging for Mr. Navalny to confront Kremlin legacy. Yet, Mr. Navalny has often quoted that the battle is not against Mr. Putin's propaganda or muscular goons, but the fear that afflicts so many of his allies.

By returning to Russia, he is hoping to assist the Russian public in vanishing that fear. As he told his supporters during the court hearing, “Don't be afraid to take to the streets not for my sake, but for your own sake and your future”

-Kabir Kalia

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