Alexei Anatolievich Navaln is a Russian lawyer, political and financial activist, and politician. Since 2009, he has gained prominence in Russia, and in the Russian and international media, as a critic of corruption and of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has organized large-scale demonstrations promoting democracy and attacking political corruption, Putin, and Putin’s political allies; he has run for a political office on the same platform. In 2012, The Wall Street Journal described him as “the man Vladimir Putin fears most”.
A self-described nationalist democrat, Navalny is a Russian Opposition Coordination Council member and the leader of the political party Progress Party, formerly People’s Alliance. In September 2013, he ran in the Moscow mayoral election, supported by the RPR-PARNAS party. He came in second, with 27% of the vote, losing to incumbent mayor Sergei Sobyanin, a Putin appointee. His vote total was much higher than political analysts had expected, but Navalny and his allies insisted that the actual number was still higher, and that authorities had committed election fraud in order to prevent a runoff election from taking place.
In 2008, Navalny spent around 300,000 rubles on stocks of five oil and gas companies: Rosneft, Gazprom, Gazprom Neft, Lukoil, and Surgutneftegaz, thus becoming an activist shareholder. As such, he began to aim at making the financial properties of these companies transparent. This is required by law, but there are allegations that some of the top managers of these companies are involved in thefts and are obscuring transparency. Other activities deal with wrongdoings by Russian police, such as Sergei Magnitsky’s case, improper usage of state’s budget funds, quality of state services and so on. In November 2010, Navalny published confidential documents about Transneft’s auditing. According to Navalny’s blog, about four billion dollars were stolen by Transneft’s leaders during the construction of the Eastern Siberia – Pacific Ocean oil pipeline. In December 2010, Navalny announced the launch of the RosPil project, which seeks to bring to light corrupt practices in the government procurement process. 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 verdict was announced on December 30, 2014. Alexei Navalny was given 3.5 years of suspended sentence, whereas Oleg Navalny was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison and was arrested after the verdict was announced; both had to pay a fine of 500,000 rubles and a compensation to the Multiprofile Processing Company of over 4 million rubles. In the evening, several thousands protesters gathered in the center of Moscow. Navalny broke his home arrest to attend the rally; he was immediately arrested by the police and brought back home. 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”. 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