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Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson

The many faces of Navalny

Collage of Russian Newspapers
June 4 is the birthday of famed anti-corruption campaign Alexei Navalny ­ but what do you get the blogger who has everything, including threats of legal action?

The answer, apparently, is his own fan site, with accessories to raise eyebrows and get the chortle muscles going.

It shows Navalny, his name and a range of adjectives (which rhyme with his name in Russian), ranging from the eccentric to the irreverent.

Your Navalny

Entitled Tvoi Navalny (Your Navalny) the smiling features of the Russian cybersphere's recent hero appears with a choice of options to click on.

Pechalny (sad) Navlany shows the strong man in floods of tears, Brutalny (brutal) Navalny shows him in a Balaklava and brandishing a whip, and Razdevalny (naked) shows him in his birthday suit.

"People from all across Russia now have the chance to show their true feelings for the famous lawyer," a press release emailed to The Moscow News from the untraceable Herzon Group announced.

Political postures

A number of political digs have made their way in among the puns and visual jokes, with Migalny Navlany showing a blue bucket over Navlany's head, a reference to the flashing blue lights and sirens (migalki) beloved of officials' vehicles that many say has created a two tier class system on the roads and sparked public uproar.

Radikalny Navalny shows the man himself in a beard and glasses, strongly reminiscent of Eduard Limonov, opposition activist and serial arrestee at Strategy 31 demos.

Chequered history

Well spoken and good-looking, Navlany has become the darling of anti-government campaigns and has won considerable attention at home and abroad, especially for raising hell on an alleged $4 million Transneft scam last year.

He was dubbed Russia's Erin Brokovich by Times Magazine earlier this year and Vedomosti's person of the year in 2009.

But questions have been raised. He was sacked by liberal party Yabloko in 2007 for supposedly nationalist leanings; he claims he was forced out of the party.

And some fear he is destined to be the next Khodorkovsky. At present charges are being drawn up against him for deceiving a business and for abusing the national flag of Russia, accusations he has dismissed as crude revenge.


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