Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Man Vladimir Putin Fears Most !

"I am not ready to back away from my views," says the soul & champion of Russia's opposition, Alexei Navalny. The anticorruption blogger and activist has been, in the last 3 months, in the middle of Russia's unexpected political awakening. By the tens of thousands, Russians shed their fear and apathy to protest December's fraud-ridden parliamentary elections and Mr Putin's hold on power. From a crowded stage of opposition figures, Mr Navalny has emerged as the charismatic and fresh face of the movement.

In a repressive regime like that of ex-KBG thug Vladimir Putin, there is a constant struggle between the dictatorship and those who oppose it and try to liberate vital information from a non-transparent apparatus. Alexei is at the vanguard of these "data dissidents." He built a network to reveal the corruption of the Putin regime, relentlessly ferreting and documenting the kleptocracy case by case, with popular outrage as a result.

Apart from his persistence, courage and skill, this 35 year old lawyer possesses the more subtle requirements of leadership in the modern age. His personal charisma is complemented by a sadonic sense of humor that is ideal for puncturing the propoganda of the grey humorless Kremlin. His knack for phasing has branded Putin's United Russia Party as the "Party of Crooks and Thieves" for all time.

He says, "The Kremlin should understand these tens of thousands of people will never leave the streets. We will never consider Putin as a president with legitmacy." Escalation carries risks for the opposition. Confrontation with police and the Kremlin's Nashi Youth shock troops may scare the middle-class Muscovites but many still joined the winter's protests. The Kremlin seems to fear My Navalny most of all the dissident figures because he is so good on digging up dirt on shocky government tendering and purchases. Websites and TV stations friendly to the regime have tried to smear him as a CIA operative or Hitler-like nationalist. He is the sole opposition leader still barred from state-controlled television.

"I'm on the very blackest part of the Black List," says Mr. Navalny. When television host and Putin family friend, Ksenia Sobchak, invited him on her popular MTV show it was yanked off the air---presumably by government orders. "Sometimes it seems to me that there is a small crazy guy in the Kremlin who works for me," Alexei jokes. "Relatively few people watch such shows, but because they banned it, there are millions of Russians now who wonder, 'Who is this guy? Why do they fear him so much?'"

The Way I See It....Alexi's secret weapon is the rapidly rising number of Russians on the Internet. There were an estimated 3 million in 2000 when Putin took power and 35 million in 2008 when his second term ended, and today there are more than 60 million (44% of the population)! His growing audience of Truth seekers is largely but not entirely young, and he has given a voice to millions Russians whose calls for fair elections refute the western critics that often declare the Russians are unsuited for democracy.

I'm sure that idea is at the forefront of Putin's thinking. As his popularity has slid, Mr Putin's rhetoric has hardened. He doesn't see why the past 12 years of  his "sovereign democracy" is not appreciated. "Putin did a lot of good stuff in 1999 until 2003," says Alexei, " but it's obvious now that his system of power is based on corruption and people around him depend only on money and its corrupting influence."

Mr Putin was badly rattled by the Arab uprisings, most of all Gadhafi's fall and murder. Pointing to the dead Libyan leader in a photgraph with Putin, Mr Navalny say, "The historic end of this guy drives Putin crazy. He thinks the only way for him to be alive and healthy and rich is to be president. This latest Czar is 'trapped' by power but we'll be still working hard on keeping the bastard honest!"

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