Why Retaliation Is More Likely Than Accommodation
This time, however, corruption investigations have sparked something more: the largest response to an anticorruption campaign since President Vladimir Putin came to power almost two decades ago. The story begins on March 2, when the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), which is linked to the Russian opposition, released an exposé about Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev. The FBK revealed that Medvedev had amassed a fortune of 70 billion rubles ($1.2 billion)—a trifle more than what he could have saved from his official salary. FBK’s video has since been seen over 15 million times and counting. Surely, there are many red faces in the Kremlin.
That stands in stark contrast to the visage of Alexei Navalny, Russia’s main opposition figure, who was leading the investigation. Shortly after the exposé was released, he was splattered with green paint by a provocateur at a rally meant to kick off his 2018 presidential campaign in Russia’s east. Realizing that the paint was not acidic or poison, Navalny soon turned the smear into an iconic moment on Instagram. Green faces went viral. One man wearing green face paint was arrested in Red Square for disturbing the peace.