Putin versus Navalny: How Should the UK Respond?

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Putin versus Navalny: How Should the UK Respond?

16th February 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Even in prison, Aleksei Navalny has continued his epic battle against Putin’s kleptocracy. On 19th January, Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation released their biggest investigation yet into their most sensitive topic yet: Vladimir Putin’s own wealth. The video detailing Putin’s $1billion palace reached 85 million views in just six days and sparked large-scale protests across more than sixty Russian cities, as people rallied against the pervasive corruption that enriches Russia’s elite at the expense of the 20 million Russians who live below the breadline.

Many in the West, especially the UK, rather conveniently ignore this larger context when expressing their serious concerns over Navalny’s mistreatment. By focussing on Navalny as a political prisoner but ignoring his role as an anti-corruption crusader, it is arguably easier for the UK to dodge its own culpability. After all, London is the favoured haunt of many of these same corrupt officials and politicians that star in the Anti-Corruption Foundation’s investigations.

Russian elites are only able to buy up UK assets or launder their money here because of the bankers, lawyers and accountants who facilitate it and because of the hesitancy in some parts of government to prevent it. Our tacit acceptance, even welcome, of money that is stolen from the Russian people sends the message that our concern is not for Navalny or ordinary Russians but for our own profits.

How can the UK government resolve this dissonance and demonstrate that it stands against corruption and for transparency, democracy, and rule of law?

To answer this question, we are joined by the Executive Director of Anti-Corruption Fund Vladimir Ashurkov. Shortly, after Navalny’s arrest, Mr Ashurkov released a pre-agreed list of eight super-rich Russians to be targeted by Western governments for sanctions. At least three of these individuals have very close ties to the UK. In this one-to-one discussion, Mr Ashurkov will talk over these sanctions and what else the UK government – and the West more broadly – should and can be doing to support Navalny’s cause.



Vladimir Ashurkov is the Executive Director of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, led by Aleksei Navalny. A prominent critic of Vladimir Putin, Mr Ashurkov was granted asylum in the UK in 2015, from where he has continued to battle against corruption, including through ‘kleptocracy tours’ around properties owned by Russian, Ukrainian, and Kazakh elites.



Dr Jade McGlynn is a Research Fellow specialising in Russian political culture and foreign relations at the Henry Jackson Society. She lived in Russia for five years and has worked across the broader post-Soviet space, from Ukraine to Kazakhstan.

Jade holds a DPhil in Russian from the University of Oxford, where she also gained her BA in Russian and Spanish. She also has a Masters by Research from the University of Birmingham. Her DPhil examined how the Russian government have used the politics of memory and national identity to legitimise Russian foreign and domestic policy. She is currently preparing a manuscript based on this research for publication in 2021, entitled Making History Great Again: The Politics of Memory and Belonging in Contemporary Russia. Jade has also published her research as articles, chapters, and reports in leading academic journals, collected volumes, and think tanks.

Prior to joining HJS, Jade worked as a Lecturer and Research Assistant at the University of Oxford, teaching papers in Russian language and literature, as well as courses on History as part of Oxford University’s new access outreach programme (Opportunity Oxford). She has also held fellowships and research positions at the University of Birmingham, University of Voronezh (Russia), and Middlebury Institute of International Relations in Monterrey.



You can RSVP for your tickets HERE.



16th February 2021
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm


United Kingdom


Vladimir Ashurkov. Dr Jade McGlynn


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