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Russia

Aleksey Navalny: Russian Political Dissident Picked For Aeroflot Board

Navalny's home was ransacked by police barely two weeks ago, and he spent 15 days in jail in May. So why did the government support his appointment to the board of Aeroflot, Russia's largest airline?

Aleksey Navalny at a protest in Moscow (Mitya Aleshkovskiy)
Aleksey Navalny at a protest in Moscow (Mitya Aleshkovskiy)
Aleksandr Panchenko

MOSCOW - Political blogger and activist Aleksey Navalny joined the board of Russia's largest airline, Aeroflot, this week.

Navalny has been one of the driving forces behind the protest marches against Vladimir Putin and his party, and has been arrested several times in the last few months. Early June, his apartment and office were extensively searched by police, in connection with an investigation into the clashes between protesters and police during the May 6 protest. He is well known as a political blogger and anti-corruption activist, but has never held a high-level position at a public company.

Navalny's candidacy was backed by Aleksander Lebedev, the outspoken head of a large Russian bank that owns 15 percent of Aeroflot. He also had the support of 70 percent of the stockholders, including the Russian Federal Property Management Agency. Support from the state agency is only possible with the support of the Russian government.

Navalny became one of 11 members the Aeroflot board. Russia's largest airline had $4 billion in revenue and 312 million profits in 2011. Last year, members of the board of directors received compensation of around $500,000 each.

Lebedev explained that the company needed to improve the efficiency of its corporate procedures. He said that he considers Navalny a very effective worker, and that he would be valuable to the company as a board member: "He will act on behalf of all stockholders, as well as the government stockholders."

On Twitter, Navalny wrote: "Fly Aeroflot." He also said that he would do "as usual, protect the rights of minority shareholders and the company's interests." He stressed that he had been supported by two international consulting groups who provide minority stakeholders with voting recommendations.

Read the original article in Russian

Photo - Mitya Aleshkovskiy

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Geopolitics

Olaf Scholz: Trying To Crack The Code Of Germany's Enigmatic Chancellor

Olaf Scholz took over for Angela Merkel a year ago, but for many he remains a mysterious figure through a series of tumultuous events, including his wavering on the war in Ukraine.

man boarding a plane

Olaf Scholz boading an Air Force Special Air Mission Wing plane, on his way to the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Tirana.

Michael Kappeler / dpa via ZUMA Press
Peter Huth

-Analysis-

BERLIN — When I told my wife that I was planning to write an article about “a year of Scholz,” she said, “Who’s that?” To be fair, she misheard me, and over the last 12 months the German Chancellor has mainly been referred to by his first name, Olaf.

Still, it’s a reasonable question. Who is Olaf Scholz, really? Or perhaps we should ask: how many versions of Olaf Scholz are there? A year after taking over from Angela Merkel, we still don’t know.

Chancellors from Germany’s Social Democrat Party (SPD) have always been easy to characterize. First there was Willy Brandt – he suffered from depression and had an intriguing private life. His affected public speaking style is still the gold standard for anyone who wants to get ahead in the center-left party. Then came Helmut Schmidt. He lived off his reputation for handling any crisis, smoked like a chimney and eventually won over the public.

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