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The Daily Vertical: An Exposé For No One (Transcript)

  • Brian Whitmore

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

So Aleksei Navalny has struck again.

He's exposed the luxury estate used by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

He showed us the cascading swimming pool, the ski slopes, the helipads, the marina, and of course the impressive residence that adorn the massive 80-hectare property.

It was shot with a drone and posted on YouTube just days before elections to the State Duma.

Navalny also published a report on his blog showing the opaque transactions that allowed Medvedev to gain access to the property, which he does not formally own.

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Navalny calls it a clear case of corruption, which it surely is.

But will it matter? Probably not.

Russians know their rulers are corrupt.

But most either don't seem to care, or feel powerless to do anything about it.

Five years ago, Navalny successfully branded the ruling United Russia party, which Medvedev now leads, as the "party of swindlers and thieves."

The relentless campaign contributed to United Russia's poor performance in the 2011 elections, forcing the Kremlin to resort to crude and obvious falsification and setting the stage for the largest anti-Kremlin protests since the fall of the Soviet Union.

But Vladimir Putin's regime has learned a lot from that experience.

It has decimated civil society. It has suppressed dissent. And it's emasculated the opposition.

It's created an environment where even things like yesterday's expose of Medvedev's luxury estate just won't matter.

What a difference five years make.

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