The Wall Street Journal reported that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin started his presidential campaign on an anti-corruption note. Putin specifically criticised the power industry and its connection to corrupt officials and offshore companies. The Kremlin will face an uphill battle in improving Russia’s business image. Russia has consistently received very low ratings for corruption, financial development and attractiveness for business.The government’s own Audit Chamber said in a report that Russians feel corruption is now more of a problem than ever, especially in law enforcement agencies.
Alexei Navalny, 35, star blogger and anti-corruption lawyer, has inspired and mobilised many young Russians through his blogs. Navalny describes Putin’s political party as the “party of crooks and thieves”. He reaches tens of thousands through his blog, consistently among the top three on Live Journal, and has more than 167,000 followers on Twitter.
The charismatic and ambitious Navalny poses a threat to Putin’s Government. The Kremlin efforts to fight the threat posed by the charismatic and ambitious Navalny, have only added to his stature.