Senior Political Lecturer Dr Colin Alexander told Express.co.uk that Alexei Navalny could cause grief for the Russian Government due to his ties to the West. Vladimir Putin’s opponent figure, who studied at Yale University in the United States, has received support from Western nations who oppose his imprisonment. Dr Alexander explained that despite Mr Navalny’s controversial views, his connections to the West could prove a problem in Moscow but perhaps not for President Putin in the short-term.
During a discussion about Mr Navalny’s impact on the Putin regime in the long-term, the Nottingham Trent University academic was sceptical that the Russian president would face any immediate problems.
Dr Alexander said: “I don’t know how much influence it will have on Putin’s short-term political stability, I think Putin is pretty secure in the Kremlin.
“The question around his backing and his notoriety is an important one, a lot of this is smoke and mirrors, but certainly it does appear that he has some decent international connections out there.
“I mean, he spent time in the US studying at Yale and he is an English language speaker… so he does have a lot of connections to the ‘West’ and that in itself creates a bit of tension in Moscow.
READ MORE: Joe Biden to send nuclear jets near Russia in fiery warning to Putin – ‘Will not hesitate’
“But whether it actually means that Putin is less stable than he was before, I don’t really think so, he’s really cemented into the foundations.”
Dr Alexander then explained that while Navalny is not the perfect candidate as a “squeaky-clean” opposition figure, it is what he represents as a concept which will be important for Russian politics.
He said: “He’s not a great character if you’re relatively liberal and relatively progressive.
“Even if you’re not, he’s said some pretty contestable and not very nice things, xenophobic things, racist things, so he’s not some great character in what we might call acceptable politics.”
“And he represents a challenge to the way the Kremlin has been run over the last two decades.”
Alexei Navalny was poisoned back in August 2020 with many believing the Russian Government was behind the attack.
After recovering in a Berlin hospital, the politician returned to Russia in January where he was quickly arrested and charged with breaching his suspended sentence.
In response, protests broke out across Russia with the UK and US condemning his arrest and Italy, Poland and Romania calling for sanctions against the country.