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Yale World Fellow Alexei Navalny:
sawing through doors in Russia

Alexei Navalny is expected to get trounced in his campaign for mayor of Moscow next month. After that, the Russian blogger and dissident could lose his appeal of an embezzlement conviction and head back to prison.

Yale couln't be prouder.

"The Yale World Fellows Program is extremely proud" to count Navalny among its fellows, program director Michael Cappello tells the German website Deutsche Welle.

Navalny, a lawyer and anti-corruption activist, came to New Haven three years ago for the semester-long World Fellows program, which aspires to "cultivate and empower a network of globally engaged leaders committed to positive change through dialogue and action."

Cappello was immediately impressed by his "capacity for analytical thinking," he tells Deutsche Welle, but also by Navalny's lack of experience outside Russia. At Yale, "he was able to see the world with a lot more clarity than from home."

Navalny, whom the Wall Street Journal once called "the man Vladimir Putin fears the most," downplays his Yale connection "to avoid being branded as a pro-Western candidate," DW notes. It's not necessarily working: during a previous jail stint, fellow World Fellows rallied on his behalf. And just this week, Russian prosecutors accused Navalny's campaign of illegally receiving foreign contributions.

In a sardonic blog post today, Navalny describes how an opposing candidate "filed a claim with police that there is Navalny’s illegal campaign material in a certain apartment":

The police arrived there and started sawing through the door with an angle-grinder and without a search warrant (!!!).

At that, they were sawing through the door for five hours, thus demonstrating their high degree of professionalism.

After they cut out the door of the apartment where three of my supporters were staying, the police started an illegal search. It was made by police officers and politicians from the Just Russia Party.

Filed under Alexei Navalny, World Fellows, Russia
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