An engaging academic study of Alexei Navalny paints a vivid picture of a Russian politician who is a necessarily courageous product of the internet age

In January, Alexei Navalny boarded a flight to Moscow. Russia’s most famous dissident had spent five months in Germany recovering from the effects of novichok poisoning. Surrounded by journalists who travelled with him, he was under no illusions as to what would happen once he swapped Berlin for home.

The Russian authorities would arrest him, for sure. He would spend months, years, in prison. Probably he would never emerge. On the plane, Navalny shrugged off these concerns with his usual dark humour. “I am not afraid,” he said. He spent the flight watching his favourite show, the US cartoon sitcom Rick and Morty.

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