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Alexei Navalny: Tech-savvy anti-corruption fighter and thorn in Putin’s side
August 20, 2020
Alexei Navalny is Vladimir Putin’s most prominent opponent and as such, no stranger to threats against his life.
In 2017 Navalny was attacked by a pro-Kremlin supporter who threw a chemical substance in his eye, leaving him partially-blind, and last year he was rushed to hospital from his prison cell, again for suspected poisoning.
Doctors said he suffered a severe allergic reaction caused by toxins.
Through his Anti-Corruption Foundation Navalny has sought to expose fraud and illicit activity by members of Putin’s United Russia party, which he famously called “the party of crooks and thieves”.
In turn Russian authorities have levied money-laundering allegations against him, imprisoned him on spurious charges and raided the homes and offices of his associates in a crackdown on his pro-democracy movement.
Navalny has claimed to be the target of Russian troll farms run by Putin allies and is regularly hassled on the streets of Moscow.
The 44-year-old was raised in a series of towns on the outskirts of Moscow, the son of factory owners.
Holidays were often spent near the Ukranian town of Chernobyl where his father and relatives grew up.
Stories of their mistreatment after the nuclear explosion, and theft by local party members, fuelled Navalny’s opposition to the government.