Alexei Anatolievich Navalny (Russian: Алексей Анатольевич Навальный, born June 4, 1976) is a Russian political and social activist who in recent years gained great prominence amongst Russian bloggers and mass media due to his social campaigning activity. He uses his popular LiveJournal blog to organize serial large-scale petitionings by Russian citizens addressing issues mainly related to heavy corruption in Russia in accordance with Russian laws which appear to be widely ignored by top Russian officials and state-controlled businesses. He also regularly writes articles on topics he is concerned about in several top Russian mass media such as Forbes Russia.
He was dubbed "Russia's Erin Brockovich" by the Time Magazine. Also, Navalny was named Person of the Year – 2009 by Vedomosti. Navalny was a World Fellow at Yale University's "World Fellows Program" aimed at "creating a global network of emerging leaders and to broaden international understanding" in 2010. He graduated from People's Friendship University of Russia in 2003.
Navalny is a minor stockholder in several major Russian state-related corporations and some of his activities are aimed at making the financial properties of these companies transparent. This is required by law, but there are allegations that some of the top managers of these companies are involved in thefts and are obscuring transparency. Other activities deal with wrongdoings by Russian Militsiya, such as Sergei Magnitsky's case, improper usage of state's budget funds, quality of state services and so on.
In October 2010, Navalny turned out to be an outstanding winner in virtual "Mayor of Moscow elections" held in the Russian Internet by Kommersant and Gazeta.ru. He received about 30,000 votes, or 45%, with the closest rival being "Against all candidates" with some 9,000 votes (14%) followed by Boris Nemtsov with 8,000 votes (12%) out of a total of about 67,000 votes.
In November 2010, Navalny published confidential documents about Transneft's auditing. He claims that the published scan is the one of original document. According to Navalny's blog, about four billion dollars were stolen by Transneft's leaders, and their fraudulent activity was coordinated by Vladimir Putin.
In February 2011, in an interview with the radio station finam.fm, Navalny called the main Russian party, United Russia, a "party of thieves and swindlers". Shortly after, a pro-party lawyer declared that some regular members of United Russia had asked him to proceed against Navalny. In May 2011, the Russian government began criminal investigation into Navalny, widely described in Western media as "revenge", and by Navalny himself as "a fabrication by the security services".