Navalny: The man who resisted Putin [RECENZJA]

  • Alexei Navalny is the leader of the Russian opposition since 2013. He criticized the authoritarian rule of Putin, exposing his corrupt actions.
  • The director accompanies Nawalani and his family after they leave the German Hospital in November 2020. Together they begin an investigation and find out who carried out the failed attack on the Russian dissident
  • “Navalny” had its world premiere at the Sundance Festival where it received the Audience Award. Polish audiences can watch it at the premiere during the 19th edition of Millennium Docs Against Gravity
  • You can find more of these stories on the Onet homepage

When you look at the story of the main opponent of Putin, it is difficult to understand that he escaped from the hands of FSB agents and survived an attempted murder with combat material from a group of novices. Navalny is said to be a man determined to fight for a free Russia, and a politician aware of his own power and the weapon of the Internet. In “Navalny” we also see him as an eloquent and funny husband and father feeding carrots to ponies.

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Navalny has been the leader of the Russian opposition since 2013. He criticized Putin’s authoritarian rule, exposing his corrupt actions. At the beginning of the film, we see one of Navalny’s gatherings, where the crowd yells: “The people in power are corrupt thieves. Who is Vladimir Putin?” People chanting “thief!” People love Navalny, he’s a social media expert – his YouTube and TikTok shows have hundreds of thousands of followers, and some videos have 50 million views. On the other hand, Putin did not mention the name of his opponent.

In April 2017, Navalny was attacked outside his office at the Anti-Corruption Foundation by unknown assailants who sprayed his face with a toxic liquid. Navalny recalls the incident, saying, “My first thought was: ‘Oh Jesus, I’ll be a monster until the end of my days.’ It didn’t happen, but he lost 80 percent. Right eye vision. The office was ransacked and banned from appearing in the media. Exhibitions didn’t give up. And he decided that when he became famous he would be safer, because Putin’s regime would be afraid to kill him.After a while, he admitted to the cameras: “I was very wrong.”

This is the episode of Navalny’s life that the film talks about. The events take place in Siberia in the summer of 2020, when Navalny is poisoned and a plane bound for Moscow has to make an emergency landing. Although it was clear that he was poisoned, doctors in the emergency hospital in Omsk said that he suffers from a “metabolic disorder”. State media accused Navalny of taking hallucinogens and “American antidepressants, which are illegal in Russia.” Eventually, thanks to his wife’s help, he was evacuated to Germany, where more doctors revealed that the activist had been infected with a deadly nerve agent that disappears from his body within hours and is virtually untraceable. Ironically, it was named after Putin.

“Navalny” frame from the movie – press materials

The rest of the film takes place in Germany, where Navalny lives and recovers from poisoning. There, cooperation began with the Bulgarian journalist, pirate Christo Grosev, who is able to guess the identity of the men from the FSB after Navalny. Surprisingly, one of them – Konstantin Kudryavtsev, the chemist who helped arrange the operation – was deceived by Navalny’s trick and confessed everything over the phone. This is one of the document’s most exciting moments.

The second is Navalny’s return to Moscow on January 17, 2021, knowing that he will be arrested at the airport. Before returning to Russia, Navalny photographed a letter to his followers in case they met such a fate. “You must not give up,” he says in the film. “If they decide to kill me, that means we are incredibly strong.” At the end of the film, we see an honest phone recording of Navalny in a penal colony where he barely survived the hunger strike.

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The opposition activist had been given a suspended prison sentence a few years ago for financial embezzlement. The court ordered Navalny to be imprisoned for 2.5 years in a criminal colony in Pokrov. On the day of the film’s world premiere in January 2022, Russian authorities recognized the dissident and many of his accomplices as terrorists and extremists, and on March 22 – nearly a month after Russia’s attack on Ukraine – a Russian court found Navalny guilty of corruption and crime. He was sentenced to nine years in prison.

There were many interesting topics in “Navalny”, and the author got into a lot of trouble – he collected a lot of material, talked with many people, traveled a lot to places related to Navalny. Based on this, it can be concluded that the film structure is quite solid. But as a result, we lack a comprehensive picture of Navalny, we do not know his past opposition activities, there is no information about his past and what formed him, as well as what his motives are, except for exposing the hypocrisy of the party. Russian authorities. The political background of present-day Russia and their view of Navalny are also missing. Although we got acquainted with the family of the activist – his wife Julia, as well as his son Zakar and daughter Dasa, their statements are very conservative.

In fact, Navalny is an interesting document for two reasons. On the one hand, the film features suspenseful and suspenseful thrillers about an assassination attempt and investigation, and on the other hand, it presents a charming and intelligent man who knows how to flog Putin.

“Navalny” premiered at Millennium Docs Against Gravity 2022.

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