Putin's Nemesis, Russia's Future?

August 2021 9781787385757 280pp, 8pp b&w illus


Who is Alexei Navalny? Poisoned in August 2020 and evacuated to Germany, the 44-year-old returned to Russia in January 2021 in the full glare of the world media. His immediate detention at passport control set the stage for an explosive showdown with Vladimir Putin.

But Navalny means very different things to different people. To some, he is a democratic hero. To others, he is betraying the Motherland. To others still, he is a nationalist and a racist. This political biography, the first to be published in English, makes sense of this divisive character, revealing the contradictions of a man who is now the second most important political figure in Russia–even when behind bars.

Why did Navalny return to Russia? Is Putin genuinely afraid of Navalny, or simply intolerant of real opposition? Who supports Navalny? What does Navalny’s story tell us about the nature of Russian politics, and the future of the opposition?

This book explores the many dimensions of Navalny’s political life, from his pioneering anti-corruption investigations to his ideas and leadership of a political movement. It also analyses how his activities and the Kremlin have shaped one another. In order to understand modern Russia, you need to understand Alexei Nalvany.


Jan Matti Dollbaum is a postdoctoral researcher at Bremen University, specialising in activism and civil society in Russia.

Morvan Lallouet is a PhD candidate at the University of Kent, researching Navalny and the Russian opposition.

Ben Noble is Lecturer in Russian Politics at University College London and an Associate Fellow at Chatham House.

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