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Russian opposition leader. Anti-corruption campaigner. Survivor attempted assassination. Prisoner.

Alexey Navalny’s crusade against the Kremlin earned him many labels.

And with the world’s eyes now on Russian President Vladimir Putin amid his brutal invasion of Ukraine, Navalny’s message of resistance is taking on new weight inside and outside Russia, even when he was still behind bars.

“The only thing needed to conquer evil is that good people do nothing,” he said, recreating the famous quote of unknown origin, in the new CNN movie “Navalny,” premieres this Sunday, April 24, at 9 p.m. ET on CNN. “So don’t be inactive.”

Here’s what you need to know about Navalny’s political rise, assassination plot, and future in Russia:

Rise Navalny first became known in 2008, when he began blogging about allegations of corruption in Russian state-owned companies. By 2011, he had emerged as one of the leaders of the massive protest that erupted following allegations of rigging in parliamentary elections.

Navalny said at a rally in 2011: “Those who gather here can get these bastards out of the Kremlin tomorrow.

He posted his first video on YouTube, a step-by-step guide on how to build a “trigger block,” a boxy tent structure with his image emblazoned on the side, in September. July 2013. The clip marks the beginning of the Russian dissident. his campaign to be elected mayor of Moscow and the humble beginnings of his YouTube revolution.

But his movement stalled when he was convicted of embezzlement, just as he was preparing to run for mayor. Navalny has denied the allegations and called them politically motivated. Retrial in 2017 ban him from running for public office – this time for president against Putin.

Although Navalny is best known as an activist, his investigations have been the biggest thorn in the side for some of Russia’s powerful people. His videos of the apparently unexplained wealth of top government officials have particularly aroused the fury of the Kremlin.

A video of former Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has garnered more than 35 million views on YouTube.

But with increased outcomes, so does the risk. In March 2017, that video ignited a spark under biggest anti-government protest Russia has witnessed for many years. Thousands of people took part in protests in nearly 100 cities across Russia. Navalny himself was arrested and jailed for 15 days.

The following month, he was splashed with a disinfecting blue dye in his eye, damaging his vision in one eye.

“Listen, I have one very clear thing to tell you. You are not allowed to give up. If they decide to kill me, it means that we are extremely strong,” Navalny told supporters. himself in a CNN movie.

“We need to use this power, don’t give up, remember we are a huge force being oppressed by these bad guys. We don’t realize how strong we really are. “, he continued.

Poisoning and recovery By 2020, there are signs that the ground is changing beneath Navalny’s protest movement.

The Kremlin took a more openly confrontational stance toward its main critic, culminating in an accusation of a poisoning plot in August of that year.

Navalny began feeling unwell on the flight back to Moscow from the Siberian city of Tomsk. Loud groans can be heard in the in-flight video he made. More video was recorded through the plane’s window showing a motionless man being carried on a wheeled stretcher to a waiting ambulance.

Navalny was treated at a hospital in Berlin, and the German government later concluded that he had been poisoned with poison. chemical neurotoxin from the Novichok group.

A joint investigation by CNN and the Bellingcat team has implicated the Russian Security Service (FSB) in Navalny’s poisoning, piecing together how an elite unit at the agency tracked Navalny’s group during the trip. traveled to Siberia, when Navalny fell ill from contact with Novichok.

The investigation also found that the unit, which included chemical weapons specialists, had tracked Navalny on more than 30 trips to and from Moscow since 2017. Russia denied any involvement in the Navalny poisoning. Putin himself said in December that if the Russian security services wanted to kill Navalny, they would “finish” the job.

However, some Western officials and Navalny himself have publicly blamed the Kremlin.

“It’s unbelievable. What a fool the whole idea of ​​poisoning with chemical weapons is, what the hell is that?” Navalny said in the new CNN film. “This is why this is so clever, because even reasonable people they refuse to trust like, what? Come on… poisoned? Seriously?”

The news that Navalny was seriously ill sent a new wave of shocks in Russian society, sparking unsettling similarity with some of the more brazen political murders in Russia’s recent past.

Western governments, independent researchers and Russia watchers have documented a consistent pattern of Russian state involvement in assassinations both at home and abroad.

Click here to read the full story.

Tune in tomorrow at 9pm ET to watch CNN Movies “Navalny” on CNN.



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