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Is the Russian opposition finished?

On Wednesday, September 2 at 19:30 GMT:

Russia’s main opposition figure Alexei Navalny fell gravely ill this month after what his supporters say was a poisoning carried out by the Kremlin.

Navalny was flown to Germany, where doctors agreed he was likely poisoned, for further treatment and is in a medically-induced coma in Berlin. The Russian government has said the German findings are inconclusive.

While the story has shocked Russia’s opposition movement – and much of the world – it is not an uncommon fate for outspoken critics of the Kremlin. From the 2006 killing of Alexander Litvinenko in London to the 2018 poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, several dissidents have been targeted. Russia strongly denies any involvement despite UK officials pointing the finger at its intelligence agencies in both cases.

Navalny, who rose to prominence in 2008 when he began to publicly accuse the Kremlin of widespread corruption, has called President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party one of “crooks and thieves.”

Though he has gained huge popularity and is widely seen as the biggest political threat to Putin, he was banned from running in the 2018 presidential election over accusations of embezzlement – a claim rights groups called cooked up and which Navalny denied.

In this episode of The Stream we ask, how viable is a Russian opposition? What motivation is there for Russians to join an opposition movement? And, in a self-declared democracy, can more challengers to Putin emerge?

On this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Alexis Lerner @PostSovietGraf
Scholar of authoritarianism, protest, and Russia

Bryan MacDonald, @27khv
Journalist, RT

Read more:
‘Some improvement’ in Navalny’s condition: Berlin hospital – Al Jazeera
Who is poisoning Russian dissidents and why? – Al Jazeera

Source: Al Jazeera

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