Who is Alexei Navalny? Poisoned in August 2020 and transported to Germany for treatment, the politician returned to Russia in January 2021 in the full glare of the world media. His immediate detention at passport control set the stage for an explosive showdown with Vladimir Putin.
... engaging and timely ... The book convincingly argues that Navalny is the most interesting and significant figure to emerge from the post-communist period ... The authors write well about the role played by corruption in Russian politics.
... bottles that Navalny spirit and serves it chilled. It slips down a treat ... The authors, all academics, don’t shy away from the difficult stuff ... also gives proper appreciation for Navalny the storyteller ... For the moment, Navalny is the best hope honest Russia has, and this sweetly written book documents that very well.
... provides pithy insights into how Vladimir Putin’s regime survives despite its greed and incompetence ... The book takes a fair-minded approach to Navalny’s weaknesses...His unpleasant statements about migrants many years ago get a thorough assessment: yes, they reflect prejudice, but Navalny is not the racist demagogue that his critics caricature. His supporters range from the woke left to the nationalist right. When Russia has real political competition, they will disagree heartily about tactics and policies. But you must get there first ... The authors tell the story entirely through secondary sources, chiefly news reports. They have not spoken to Navalny, nor gained first-hand quotes from anyone from his team (some of whom live in exile and are easily accessible). The absence of original reporting gives the book a two-dimensional feel; disappointing given the epic subject matter ... An annoying use of the present tense fails to add immediacy to the second-hand descriptions of places and events. Its slender 191 pages would be shorter still if better edited ... The book’s biggest gap is the external dimension. Navalny’s fury is directed not only at the people who loot Russia, but at their accomplices in the West: the bankers, lawyers, estate agents, wheeler-dealers and accountants who make their living by bestowing respectability on people and money that do not deserve it.