Moscow, August 21: Alexei Navalny, considered as the only major opposition leader in Russia where President Vladimir Putin is mandated to rule till 2036, is battling for his life. The 44-year-old lawyer-cum-political activist was rushed to the Siberian hospital in Omsk after he was allegedly poisoned. His condition continues to remain critical. Here's a brief profile of Navalny.
Who is Alexei Navalny?
A Russian of Ukrainian descent, Navalny rose to prominence in 2011 after he emerged as the face of protests called against the Vladimir Putin regime. He was, in that year, elected as head of the Russian Opposition Coordination Council. In 2012, The Wall Street Journal described him as the man whom Putin "fears the most". List of Outspoken Russians Who Fell Victim to Suspected Poisonings.
In 2013, Navalny of Progress Party posed the first major electoral challenge to Putin as he contested the Moscow Mayoral elections. The polls were won by the candidate backed by Putin's party, but had led to further dissent in the nation due to alleged electoral frauds.
Navalny's contant demonstrations against Putin are centred around the alleged widespread corruption in the incumbent Russian ruling regime. In 2017, he was jailed thrice for organising protests against the government.
In July 2019, he was jailed again for 30 days after Navalny called a protest at the Moscow Hall. During his jail stay, he suffered an allergic reaction which led to his hospitalisation. Navalny later alleged that the allergy was a result of an attempt to poison him.
In October 2019, Navalny's organisation - Anti Corruption Foundation (FBK) - was declared a "foreign agent" by Moscow. The Putin regime claimed to have gathered incrementing evidence which suggested that the outfit was being supported by external forces.
In July 2020, Navalny drew headlines across the world after he called the elections to allow Putin exceed his tenure till 2036 a "facade". His offices were subsequently raided and he was barred from leaving Russia.
Navalny was allegedly poisoned on August 20. His condition deteriorated when he was on a domestic flight, which forced the plane to make an emergency landing in the Siberian city of Omsk. Germany sent a flight earlier today to airlift Navalny to Berlin for treatment. The Russian authorities, however, declined to facilitate the movement citing Navalny's "unstable" condition.