Friday, January 20, 2012

EUROPE : RUSSIA : BLOGGER NAVALNY BEGS FOR FAIR ELECTIONS

ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Nina Achmatova
The famous blogger prefers to meet with the spokesperson for the Moscow Patriarchate and the deserts opposition talks with the new U.S. ambassador. The network attacks him: "clever". He responds: "I have never hidden my faith."

Moscow (AsiaNews) - From hero-figure to the opposition’s chief suspect. The spiralling popularity of the famous blogger Alexei Navalny, detained for 15 days in December for taking part in anti-government protests in Moscow, is beginning to crack. Activist and lawyer by profession, Navalny has become the object of harsh criticism from the Russian blogosphere, after last week he distanced himself from some of the initiatives of the protest movement, which in December took to the streets to beg for "fair elections" and a "Russia without Putin".

His absence at the meeting between the new U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, and the extra-parliamentary opposition surprised both public and media. Instead of following his 'colleagues protest' he met with the Moscow Patriarchate spokesman, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, and attended a dinner on the eve of Epiphany in his parish (which in Russia is celebrated on January 19 according to the Julian calendar). According to Chaplin, the two discussed "the latest events and how to facilitate dialogue between the authorities and society." On the Internet bloggers went on the rampage calling Navalny of "politician" and "sly". The support of the Orthodox Church was one of the pillars of the first president and then prime minister Vladimir Putin. Recently, the Patriarch has distanced himself from positions of power, for the first time by inviting those in power to enter into dialogue with society while expressing his displeasure with the protests.

Navalny has defined himself as a "typical post-Soviet believer." "I respect fasts and make the sign of the cross in the church, but do not often practice my faith," he said recently in an interview. "I do not think that my faith can be transformed into political capital - he added - it would be pretty ridiculous. I've never emphasized it, nor hidden it and that's it. "

Finally, his offer as a consultant to the team of defenders of one of the defendants in the Yukos trial, Pavel Ivlev has bee read as a publicity move. Ivlev is a former office of the oil company Khodorkovsky wizard and now a political refugee in the United States.

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Navalny,-anti-Putin-protest-leader-meets-with-the-Church-and-creates-discontent-23748.html

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