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The Daily Vertical: The Kremlin's Freddy Krueger (Transcript)

  • Brian Whitmore

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

So, now we know that Aleksei Navalny has a national network.

This weekend, he demonstrated that he can put people on the streets in the thousands, not just in Moscow and St. Petersburg but in scores of cities across Russia, as well.

He even put people on the streets in Daghestan. Think about that for a minute.

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We also know that Navalny isn't going away anytime soon.

Every time Vladimir Putin's regime tries to suppress him and marginalize him, he seems to come back stronger.

He's become the Kremlin's Freddy Krueger with a Twitter feed and a YouTube channel.

Now we know there is a strong reservoir of discontent with an autocratic regime and a kleptocratic elite that has been in power far too long.

Russians, it appears, are not immune to the antiestablishment wave that has been sweeping the West in recent years.

And now we know that as living standards fall, the issue of corruption has taken on a broad and deep resonance.

In good economic times, Russians are willing to put up with a kleptocratic elite. In bad economic times, not so much.

This weekend's protests, which were larger than anybody expected and the largest Russia has seen since 2012, came on the 17th anniversary of Putin's first election as president.

The Kremlin is seeking to turn Putin's election to a fourth term into the coronation of an emperor.

But Navalny is determined to spoil that script by stirring up a rebellion below the decks.

And he seems to be turning into a greater threat to this regime than anybody realized.

Keep telling me what you think on The Power Vertical's Twitter feed and on our Facebook page.

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