PONARS Eurasia scholars on Alexei Navalny’s return to Russia

01 Feb 2021

(Washington Post) On Jan. 17, Alexei Navalny, perhaps the best-known domestic critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, returned to Russia in dramatic fashion after recovering in Germany from what he claims was deliberate poisoning with the nerve agent Novichok, allegedly by agents of the Kremlin. Navalny was promptly arrested at the airport upon his arrival in Moscow, setting the stage for nationwide protests across Russia that resulted in over 3,000 arrests. The protests look likely to resume on Sunday.

What does Navalny’s return — and the protests against his arrest — mean for Russian politics?

With an eye toward whether, as Alexey Kovalev wrote in the New York Times, “something special just happened in Russia,” I reached out to my colleagues in the PONARS Eurasia network of research scholars. What follows are lightly edited versions of some of the many responses — be sure to check out the first part of the commentary. [...]

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