Advanced Low/Mid A Hero of Russian Blogosphere

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Watch an episode of a prominent Russian blogger and corruption fighter Alexei Navalny.

Although fighting corruption in Russia is even more dangerous now than it used to be, Navalny is diligent in his persistent work.

Someone may want to ask if his blogging activity really achieved anything. The answer is “Yes.” Even before he launched his famous website RosPil in 2010, he posted on his blog sensational facts of $ 4 billion embezzlement scheme at a state corporation. Later that same year he and his team took responsibility for the cancelling of $1.2 billion worth of state contracts. The site's name reads 'Russian Saw'. The word “saw” (in Russian “пила”) refers to the slang expression to “saw off” a piece of the contract (Russian slang for “taking a kickback”), which, as generally perceived, is just the price of doing business in Russia. On his blog Navalny was not just saying that corrupt bureaucrats exist, but he explained why an average shareholder should read the tender documents.

His next project, RosYama that means “Russian Pit,” is to induce authorities to improve the condition of Russian roads. Users of the web site are invited to upload pictures of pot holes and bumps of road surfaces in cities of Russia.

Trained as a real estate lawyer, Alexei Navalny also obtained a master’s in finance to be a full-time stock trader. Recently he held a six-month scholarship to study at Yale, where he took classes at the Yale business school, worked with law professors, and learned about the American political system. At Yale, he maintained his blog and published his most startling leak to date.

Educated and competent blogger and political activist, he became a key figure at Moscow’s post-election rallies. Navalny, “Sancho Panza or Don Quixote of our time,” as one of the financial experts dubbed him, has also political ambitions and makes no secret of it. He managed to unite the opposition calling out to “nationalists, liberals, leftists, vegetarians, greens, Martians” to protest.

Yet Navalny's nationalist views are troubling. In 2007 he was expelled from Yabloko after appearing as a speaker alongside neo-Nazis and skinheads. He once starred in a video that compares dark-skinned Caucasus militants to cockroaches. His participation in meetings of nationalist fans with slogans like "It's enough to feed Caucasus" has been dismissed as ‘pure nationalism,’ even though he focused on such issues as the disproportionate amount of budget money sent to Chechnya and other Caucasus republics.

His popularity grows fast, and many see him as the next president of Russia.