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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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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Putinism Without Putin? USSR 2.0? Clean Slate? How Kremlin Succession Will Play Out

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, political commentators have consistently returned to the question of Putin's successor. Russia expert Andreas Umland foreshadows a potentially tumultuous transition, resulting in a new power regime. Whether this is more or less democratic than the current Putinist system, is difficult to predict.

A kid holds up a sign with Putin's photograph over the Russian flag

Gathering in Moscow to congratulate Russia's President Vladimir Putin on his birthday.

Andreas Umland


STOCKHOLM — The Kremlin recently hinted that Vladimir Putin may remain as Russia's president until 2030. After the Constitution of the Russian Federation was amended in 2020, he may even extend his rule until 2036.

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However, it seems unlikely that Putin will remain in power for another decade. Too many risks have accumulated recently to count on a long gerontocratic rule for him and his entourage.

The most obvious and immediate risk factor for Putin's rule is the Russian-Ukrainian war. If Russia loses, the legitimacy of Putin and his regime will be threatened and they will likely collapse.

The rapid annexation of Crimea without hostilities in 2014 will ultimately be seen as the apex of his rule. Conversely, a protracted and bloody loss of the peninsula would be its nadir and probable demise.

Additional risk factors for the current Russian regime are related to further external challenges, for example, in the Caucasus. Other potentially dangerous factors for Putin are economic problems and their social consequences, environmental and industrial disasters, and domestic political instability.

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