As we leave Alexei Navalny’s office for our lunch, I realise we are to be joined by an uninvited guest. A young man in a baggy white T-shirt yells “Alexei, where do you buy cocaine?”, follows us across the street and begins filming us on his phone.

For Russian President Vladimir Putin’s biggest opponent, these intimidation tactics come with the turf. The man is “one of the worst” of several people Navalny says have harassed him and his family throughout the day for the past six months. “Usually they come in pairs. One tries to drive you nuts and the other films it. If you scream or push them, you’ll make their day and they’ll get it on film,” he says. “It teaches you zen, but it’s still infuriating when they come up close.”

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, Morningstar financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.