Can Crusading Blogger Alexei Navalny Save Russia?

Photograph by Yuri Kozyrev for TIME

Fed up Alexei Navalny in front of the Cathedral of Christ the Redeemer in Moscow

Alexei Navalny has not yet gotten used to people calling him Russia's next President. It's been happening to the blogger a lot lately — at protests, in restaurants, on the street. When he hears it, he forces out a smile that looks more like a wince. Driving through traffic after it happened again in late December, this time at a courthouse, he tried to dissociate himself from what he calls the Navalny cult of personality. "People hate politicians," he says. "And I can understand why." Outside the window, the street was snarled by a convoy of black Mercedes, blaring their sirens...

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